Are natural cleaning products as effective as their chemical based cousins? As we all become aware of environmental damage and health issues derived from chemicals and feel we ought to do our bit, it’s a question we all ask. Are natural cleaning products as safe as they say they are and are traditional products as dangerous as some research has shown? It’s true that decades ago, we used simple solutions such as vinegar that were effective but perhaps they were a little more labour intensive than squirting or spraying the strong solutions we know today.
Whether used in our home or in the office, cleaning products are used everywhere. In the 80’s the majority of products were petroleum based with negative implications on health and the environment. Fortunately today, we are overwhelmed by information and choice. How to clean green has become a national obsession and trendy natural cleaning products, often sold in stunning bottles for a high price, have become very popular with the healthy and environmentally conscious section of the population. The evidence is there and it’s up to the individual to make their decision.
Statistics show there are over 17,000 petrochemicals that are available for cleaning use yet only 30% of these have been tested for the effects of their exposure to humans and the environment. That’s a frighteningly low number considering these chemicals could be used in our homes, cars and offices. Its big business and the industrial cleaning industry uses over £5 million worth of chemicals each year, 23 gallons on average per annum are used by professional cleaners such as your office cleaner and 25% of those are known to be harmful.
Statistics like these are driving the benefits of green and natural cleaning products to the forefront. Natural cleaning products are often made from ingredients you have in your food cupboard such as vinegar, lemon or baking soda. Yes some of these products can be pricey, are high end and aimed at health conscious young professionals. However, shopping carefully you can buy one simple multi-purpose product that can be used all over the house and always look at the size of the bottle, often when you work out the cost per 100ml, the price is not as steep as you once thought. Supermarket chains are also taking hold of the green cleaning craze and are producing their own ranges to attract their loyal customers.
Natural cleaning products are not only the realm of the domestic market. Commercial and office cleaning companies are beginning to jump on the band wagon. As businesses uphold their sustainability policies, employing green cleaners has become an essential part of their environmental policy.
The advantages of natural over chemical are enormous. Many household products have labels containing the words ‘hazardous’ or ‘irritant’ along with advice to wear rubber gloves when using them. We are told to use them with the window open and air circulating and advised not to directly inhale the product. Think of how the pungent smell lingers in the air. That is the smell of chemicals, they may be able to do the job but they also are polluting the planet as well as our bodies.
Whether in the office or at home, we want the air to smell clean. We like to know when the office cleaner has been and we all like the satisfaction of the ‘clean’ smell when we have finally finished cleaning our home. However, unless we are using natural cleaning products, that is the smell of chemical fragrances. Natural cleaning products will not smell as ‘nice’ or as strong, however, you do in time start to prefer the subtle fragrance that represents nature and something that will not cause harm to a living thing! Essential oils are often used in these products and if necessary you could get your cleaner to finish up with a sprinkle of an oil of your choice in a few strategic places. Then when your staff arrive and can smell that the cleaner has been, they will appreciate knowing the products used have not only cleaned their office but will do no harm to the planet or their lungs!