Greenwashed? How to read through toxic messaging.
We all want a safe home for our families, yet many of us seem unbothered that the very products we use to clean our homes are hazardous to our health. The warning labels alone on chemical cleaning products should be enough to scare us away but through advertising we are trained to believe that chemicals equate to cleanliness. In other words, the more chemicals in a product, the more effective the product is and the cleaner our homes will be.
When I made the switch to natural cleaning products with Miss’es Clean, I wanted to create a safe environment for families by eliminating the use of chemical cleaners in their home. Through careful research, I narrowed it down to a small handful of products that were acceptable. Then came “greenwash” marketing, attempts to promote organizations as environmentally conscious with their products and services. Everywhere I looked, businesses started labelling themselves “green”, which really meant consumers would either be choosing toxic cleaners or natural cleaners that were actually toxic in disguise.
If you are thinking of making the switch to natural cleaning products, I would like to share 4 of my biggest tips to help you get started:
What is the shelf life? Natural cleaning products can be shelved for approximately 2 years. By law, cleaning products are required to have an expiry date but they don’t’ actually go bad. Products in plastic bottles, or stored in direct sunlight, can affect the shelf life. If you are not sure about how old a product is, observe the colour or do a sniff test to determine if it’s old.
Read the ingredients. Ingredients on cleaning labels should not be difficult to read. Ingredients contained in natural products should be in their purest form. The most natural cleaning products should mostly contain ingredients you are likely to already have in the home.
Is there an MSDS label? When there is an MSDS label attached to a product, it indicates the substances contained in the product are hazardous and dangerous. MSDS labels on natural cleaning products, if available, should not show any hazardous substances. You should actually be able to clean with your bare hands with most natural cleaning products.
Where are you shopping? Most big box stores are filled with profit-based, chemically disguised products. Natural products are more likely to be available in natural food stores and vendor markets around town.
In a world with too many conflicting messages, we can become confused as to what is best for our family. My advice is to keep learning, educate yourself and learn how to read through the message.
Rachel has created her own line of natural cleaning products to fill the gap for natural cleaning products in the market. Using natural ingredients such as coconut oil, distilled vinegar and therapeutic grade essential oils, Rachel hopes to remove all toxic chemicals in each and every home. For more information on the “bare.” product line, you can contact Miss’es Clean.
What’s under your sink? To see how toxic your cleaning products are, check out EWG’s Cleaners Database.