How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners

November 16, 2018 by  
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Have you ever aimed cleaning spray at your kitchen countertops and wondered what is actually inside the bottle? With all of the confusing chemicals and terms listed on product labels, it can be hard to know what is inside the cleaning products we bring into our homes. It might be impossible to recognize every ingredient in your cleaners, but if you read the label carefully, there are ways to determine the safer options on the market. If you are confused by your cleaning product labels , here is a guide to help you decode some of the common label terms you’ll find. “People are surprised to find that dozens of toxic chemicals are in the [conventional] household products we use every day and go almost totally unmonitored and unregulated by our government,” said Dr. Alan Greene, clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University and author of Raising Baby Green . Related: 5 tips for a cleaner, greener kitchen In fact, it can be nearly impossible to research all of the ingredients listed on cleaning products. The Consumer Products Safety Commission regulates labeling for household products that are hazardous and requires companies to list the main hazardous ingredients along with first aid information. However, it does not require companies to list any other ingredients. Because there isn’t a thorough health and safety review of these products, there is no way of knowing what you are spraying in your home. Below are some of the most common cleaning labels decoded to help you understand what exactly you are using to clean. Non-toxic This is a common marketing term that is typically seen on most product labels. The term implies the ingredients are not harmful to the environment or your health. However, there is no standard definition for “non-toxic,” so this term alone will not help you find the safest cleaners. Biodegradable When you see the term biodegradable , the manufacturer is saying that the ingredients in the product will break down once they enter a landfill, wastewater treatment plant, river or stream. Unfortunately, there is no regulation for the use of this term, and products labeled “biodegradable” are no better than those that aren’t labeled. Safer Choice The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a voluntary program that works with manufacturers to make products safer for people and the environment. If a product has a Safer Choice seal, that means they use ingredients that meet the program’s standards. EPA scientists develop standards after looking at scientific data to make sure product ingredients are safer than what you would find in common products. The Safer Choice program also encourages companies to disclose all of their ingredients, and the program also has an audit program to make sure the Safer Choice products are meeting the criteria. Organic This term is a bit trickier as it can simultaneously mean anything or nothing at all. There are no rules when it comes to calling a product organic , even though the implication is that the ingredients come from plants grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. However, if you do see a product that has the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Certified Organic” logo, then those products are legally required to have ingredients that back up the claim. Related: Don’t mix these green cleaning ingredients Enzymes Enzymes are proteins added to cleaners that will break down and remove stains. There is no evidence that using these cleaners will put you at risk, but don’t assume they are safe. And be aware of manufacturers that often use boric acid (a toxic chemical ) to stabilize the enzymes. Corrosive/caustic Any product with these words on the label can cause major chemical burns to the skin, eyes or lungs. Some of the cleaning products that have corrosive or caustic on the label are bleach, drain openers and oven cleaners. You want to be extremely careful if you bring these products into your home, and you always want to keep them away from children. Active ingredient As a rule, active ingredients are antimicrobial pesticides that manufacturers add to products to kill bacteria, viruses or molds. You want to avoid any product that has an “active ingredient” because they are hazardous chemicals, and you don’t need them to clean your house. Fragrance or scent Many cleaning products like to advertise their fragrance or scent, or the lack thereof. Added fragrances are not necessary and are known to cause allergic reactions. Basically, the term “fragrance” means the product has a chemical cocktail of unknown substances. Avoiding products with the term fragrance, scent or dye is the right choice. Instead, try something labeled “free and clear.” + EWG Images via PublicDomainPictures , Pascalhelmer , Stevepb , Jarmoluk , Rawpixel

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How to decode confusing labels on common household cleaners

How To Safely Dispose of Cleaning Products

November 1, 2018 by  
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Sometimes cleaning products must be cleaned out, too. What’s the … The post How To Safely Dispose of Cleaning Products appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How To Safely Dispose of Cleaning Products

Green Laundry Choices: From Personal Dry Cleaning to Company Uniform and Laundering Services

October 16, 2018 by  
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Sponsored Article: Brought to You by Prudential Overall Supply Commercial … The post Green Laundry Choices: From Personal Dry Cleaning to Company Uniform and Laundering Services appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Green Laundry Choices: From Personal Dry Cleaning to Company Uniform and Laundering Services

4 Tips for Cleaning Your House Safely and Effectively

June 5, 2018 by  
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Homeowners struggle to find time to clean the house. But … The post 4 Tips for Cleaning Your House Safely and Effectively appeared first on Earth911.com.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Why you should ditch the cleaning chemicals for safe, natural vinegar

March 31, 2016 by  
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Though many people would love to eliminate chemical cleaners from their home, some still question whether safer options like vinegar pack enough punch. The infographic provides important data, like how vinegar is 99% effective at killing the bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses, and how it can improve the air quality in your home by 500%. It also sheds light on the true hazards of chemical cleaners, such as how nearly 70% of the 17k chemicals in conventional cleaners haven’t been tested for their effects on human health. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Why you should ditch the cleaning chemicals for safe, natural vinegar

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INFOGRAPHIC: Why you should ditch the cleaning chemicals for safe, natural vinegar

Why green cleaning is so important for your health

March 11, 2016 by  
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The debate over whether natural cleaning products clean as well as or better than chemically based products is something people have struggled with for years. How do traditional cleaning products and methods compare to commercial cleaning alternatives? Decades ago there was no ‘Mr Clean’ – people found successful ways to make natural solutions work. Yet even though this is known as fact, some are skeptical – can natural products and ingredients really clean as efficiently as chemical based products? Read the rest of Why green cleaning is so important for your health

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Method’s Saskia van Gendt on honing operations

January 8, 2016 by  
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The head of “greenskeeping” at Method talks about her job of integrating best sustainability practices into all the operations of the cleaning products company.

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Method’s Saskia van Gendt on honing operations

Green Your Cleaning Routine With These Awesome Tips

August 18, 2015 by  
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The cleaning supplies aisle at your local grocery store is likely an intimidating sight, whether you are a clean freak or not. It seems that cleaning products are everywhere – from our home to workplace environment. While it is of course important…

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Magic Cleaner: Vinegar, Lemon & Baking Soda

July 30, 2015 by  
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Have you ever looked at the ingredients list in your favorite household cleaner? While some ingredients are nothing to be concerned with, some are, and I’m not sure you’d want it in your house… or around your kids. For example, lauramine oxide is…

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Magic Cleaner: Vinegar, Lemon & Baking Soda

INFOGRAPHIC: A Guide to Natural, DIY Cleaning Products

May 21, 2014 by  
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We all appreciate a clean living environment, but so many cleaning products out there are full of really nasty chemicals that can wreak havoc on our health. Sure, they’ll get the job done, but they can cause incredible damage to our respiratory systems , not to mention those of our family members and pets as well. Making your own cleaning products is simple and easy , and these natural products (made with ingredients most of us already have around the house) are just as effective as store-bought chemicals, if not moreso! They’re also better for your budget, especially since many of the ingredients can pull double duty around the house. Check out the infographic below for some great tips on how you can make your own laundry detergent, kitchen/bathroom cleaners, and more! The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: A Guide to Natural, DIY Cleaning Products Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bathroom , cleaner , cleaners , cleaning , cleaning products , detergent , DIY , essential oil , essential oils , green kitchen , how-to , laundry , laundry detergent , vinegar

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