The benefits of using green cleaning products
In a world that is becoming increasingly aware of the effects of climate change, there has been an upsurge in the use of green products. From electric cars to organic food, people are looking for eco-friendly solutions to everyday problems.
One area that has also seen a shift towards green solutions is the realm of cleaning products. Using green cleaning products comes with a variety of benefits and this article will explore how they can make your working environment healthier and more sustainable.
However, in certain situations, green cleaning products are not suitable. In this article, we will explore the advantages of using green cleaning products and how they can benefit both our health and the environment, and identify the circumstances when a stronger product may be best.
To begin with, let’s talk about the motivation behind the creation of these more sustainable products. Why have they come onto the market?
The reason for green cleaning products: VOCs
A lot of green cleaning products are designed to reduce or eliminate the number and quantity of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) released into the atmosphere when the products are used. Chemicals labelled VOCs are defined as those that turn to vapour at room temperature or below. They can cause health problems in humans and animals, and seriously damage the environment.
The use of VOCs is regulated in the UK under The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), but information about how concentrated levels are in the UK is difficult to come by. This in part is because they are often not studied as a distinct group, separate from heavy industry emissions.
What is clear is that these chemicals are used in cleaning products and very much cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. Who hasn’t gagged at the smell of cleaning products when cleaning their oven? I know that I get a bit of a cough if I use too much bleach in my bathroom. These effects are caused by VOCs.
In fact, recent research discovered that the use of cleaning products can raise the levels of VOCs in the house by 25,623%, from 64 ppb to an extremely toxic 16,565 ppb. They are pretty powerful chemicals!
So, if they can cause these symptoms, why are they used?
Why are VOCs used?
You may think, well, if these chemicals cause problems, why are we using them? The answer is: that some messes just can’t be cleaned without them. There is no doubt that a lot of these VOCs are effective at stripping grease, muck and germs from surfaces.
As people become more conscious of how chemicals are affecting our health and planet, there has been a backlash against VOCs and a surge in new green cleaning products.
What are green cleaning products?
You have probably seen plenty of them in your local supermarket – promising a great shine, but with no harsh chemicals. Green cleaning products are those that are made from natural or renewable sources, such as plant-based materials. They don’t contain any harsh toxins, and they’re often biodegradable, so they won’t damage the environment.
Plenty of people are returning to homemade natural cleaning products as well – recipes that use household essentials like vinegar and lemon juice are easily found online.
They are fantastic for certain circumstances, but like all things, do have their limitations. Let’s unpack the pros and cons of green cleaning products.
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Why use green cleaning products?
1. Environmentally friendly
For starters, they are environmentally friendly as they don’t contain (or contain very few) hazardous chemicals or artificial fragrances that could harm people or the environment. They do not contain known VOCs, and as such do not harm the environment.
The packaging is invariably recyclable, making the products more sustainable.
2. Better for your health
The lack of VOCs means that these products do not cause irritation or health conditions when used in a confined space. They are a great product if you suffer from asthma, eczema and other complaints.
When should you not use green cleaning products?
When it comes to green cleaning products, they are a great choice for many situations. But there are times when these products may not be the best option. It’s important to know when to use green cleaning products and when you should look for other alternatives.
1. Heavy-duty mess
The main time that you don’t want to use green cleaning products is when dealing with heavy-duty messes. If you have grease or other types of tough stains, the natural ingredients in green cleaners might not be strong enough to do the job. In these cases, you’ll want to use a harsher cleaner that contains more powerful chemicals.
2. Health reasons
At the same time, if you’re dealing with a situation where health risks are involved, such as mould or mildew, it’s best to avoid using green cleaning products. These natural cleaners won’t be as effective at eliminating potential hazards as their chemical-based counterparts. The last thing you want is an unsafe environment due to ineffective cleaning products.
Natural cleaners are not anti-viral, and so very contagious germs will not be killed by natural products. These include the coronavirus responsible for causing Covid-19. Green cleaning products are probably not best used when cleaning touchpoints, such as handles, lift buttons and handrails. These are areas of high transmission, and it’s always best to ensure you use antiviral cleaning products here to keep your staff safe.
Want help knowing when it’s safe to use green cleaning products? Talk to a professional cleaning company like us.
Green cleaning products: good in certain circumstances
It’s clear that green cleaning products are the way to go for much of every day and even some commercial cleaning situations. They provide many benefits and are just as effective as traditional cleaning products. Not only are they better for the environment, but they’re also better for your health. General use rooms – such as conference rooms or open plan offices – may benefit from using them.
That said, while green cleaning products offer many benefits, there are some instances where they may not be the best choice. Places where bacteria and viruses can easily be transmitted, or surfaces that need to be kept safe from cross-contamination, such as kitchens, are best resorting to non-green cleaning products. Knowing when to use them and when to opt for something else can help ensure your business premises are safe and clean.