All Purpose Cleaners

by Ms. S on January 20, 2009

From The Green Guide:

What To Look For:

Full ingredient disclosure: Always buy products from companies that list every ingredient by name on the package or their web site. This may be difficult, as cleaning product manufacturers aren’t required to list specific ingredients on their labels. Lacking specific ingredient listings, choose products that tell you what’s not inside, for instance “No ammonia,” “No chlorine,” “No petrochemicals” and “No sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate.”

Dye-free and fragrance-free products: Both are unnecessary additives that are usually derived from petroleum. Fragrances may also contain hormone-disrupting phthalates.

Third-Party certifications: Independent groups such as Green Seal, Cradle To Cradle, the Leaping Bunny and the EPA’s Design for the Environment program analyze product ingredients and certify that those chemicals don’t pose harm to your health or to the environment.

Shopping Tips

Shopping Tips

  1. Avoid unsubstantiated and vague claims, such as “natural,” “organic,” “ecologically friendly” or “non-toxic.” The term “biodegradable” is meaningless on cleaning products, as most substances will eventually break down given enough time and the right environmental conditions.
  2. Look for products packaged in post-consumer recycled plastic or cardboard.
  3. Look for cleaners in large containers or bulk packages, and buy concentrates, which use less water.
Usage Tips

Usage Tips

  1. Although most cleaners don’t list ingredients, you can learn something about a product’s hazards by reading its label. Defined by the CPSC, the warning labels “Danger,” and “Poison” indicate that a product is corrosive, flammable or combustible, irritating or a strong sensitizer, and that they have the potential to cause serious personal injury or illness during, or as a result of, normal use. Products labeled “Danger” or “Poison” are typically most hazardous, while those bearing a “Warning” or “Caution” label are moderately hazardous.
  2. When you get home, leave all products in the original packaging, which should provide instructions for use and any cautionary and first-aid information.

A good list of recommended products can be found on The Green Guide Smart Shopper’s List. I’m still on my search for the best set of cleaning products.  Will keep you posted!

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