Go Green This Spring

Go Green This SpringA clean, fresh-smelling home can add a little slice of comfort to the chaos of a busy life. It can also bring a bunch of health benefits if you choose to go green with your cache of cleaning products.

Eco-friendly, nontoxic, chemical-free and going green are just some of the phrases used to describe the trend toward cleaner living. One of the easiest ways to get started is by swapping out your cleaning products.

Clean Living

Natural cleaning products can:

  • Decrease allergic reactions and relieve the symptoms of sensitive skin
  • Improve the air quality in your home
  • Reduce the level of toxic chemicals sitting on various surfaces
  • Reduce air and water pollution in general

What’s the best way to go green? As the saying goes, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” By making your own cleaning products, you know what’s in them and can ensure they are 100% nontoxic. All you really need is baking soda, vinegar and water. But, it’s fun to play chemist and get a little fancy with essential oils and other safe ingredients.

Buyer Beware

While making your own cleaning products is safe and fun, it’s also time consuming. Many of us need an off-the-shelf solution. And, there are plenty to choose from.

But, here’s the catch: The federal government doesn’t regulate the term “green” in marketing, meaning a manufacturer can say its product is healthier and safer, even though it is made with toxic chemicals.

That’s not to say there aren’t any trustworthy brands. Many big manufacturers are making great strides toward producing safer cleaning products. Some companies are replacing toxic ingredients with ones that are more biodegradable. Others are reducing the level of phthalates. Phthalates make cleaning products smell good, but they have been linked to reproductive problems in lab studies.

Manufacturers can voluntarily apply to have their products certified by one of three independent certifying organizations: Green Seal, DfE and EcoLogo, which set criteria for ingredients and performance. Look for the seal so you can buy with confidence.

If helping the environment isn’t reason enough to get you thinking about different cleaning options, think about this: Your kids can help!