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  • Graeme Warnell

5 Reasons To Switch To Eco Friendly Cleaning Products Today

Having attended a number of international cleaning shows I was surprised to see how they are still dominated by toxic, harmful chemical cleaning products. It seems the world has got a little bit stuck in moving from chemical to eco-friendly cleaning despite the environmental crisis our planet is facing.

When it comes to nature-based cleaning products many of us remain under the false impression that: “Maybe it’s good for the planet, but it will not clean as effectively as my well-known chemical brand.” Or: “Yes, it's “green” but it’s bound to be more expensive.”

With the tightening of the REACH chemical directive and the EU seeking to ban a large number of toxic chemicals there is no better time to simplify your cleaning regimes, health and safety procedures and protect the planet at the same time.

So here is a brief summary of why it's better for you and the planet to ditch those toxic chemical cleaning products that you use every day.

1.Your Health – always read the back of the label. If it's caustic, flammable or harmful to aquatic life, then it's not good for you either. Mixing different cleaning chemicals can release harmful toxic compounds which can be very dangerous in a confined space such as a toilet or bathroom.

Even when used properly, a lot of cleaning products give off chemical compounds that should not be inhaled. Manufacturers state that” exposure is minimal during the cleaning process”. But what if you clean for a living and use these chemical products every day? What is the true accumulative effect on your body?

You may wear gloves and even eye protection when cleaning, especially if it is your job but do not underestimate the amount of chemicals you will inhale through your mouth and nose. Just because these products are sold in a range of beautiful, designer fragrances it does not mean they are not dangerous.

2.The Environment - if you decide to make a switch from chemical to non-chemical cleaning products or even just reduce the amount of chemical cleaning products you use, you are protecting not only yourself but also the environment.

Ideally, eco-friendly cleaning products are made using sustainable manufacturing practices, naturally derived, safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients that don't negatively impact the environment.

In the UK we have seen all the rivers and lakes fail water quality tests based on their chemical content. PFA, or “forever” chemicals are now permanently in our Oceans. A recent test showed that people of Greenland who live on a high fish content diet have increased levels of PFA’s present in their blood.

To put it bluntly, if you put toxic cleaning chemicals down your sink, they will come back in the food you eat and the water you drink.

3.Money - in the past being “green” was sometimes perceived as being “niche”. The terms eco, bio and organic were often associated with companies making them incrementally more expensive. Well, times have changed and the producers of many eco products can now successfully compete with the massive chemical corporations of the world on many levels, including the prices.

Many of the eco-friendly cleaning product manufacturers do not operate on the same scale as the corporate giants but that also means they have fewer overheads, expenses and shareholders to serve.

To give you an example, we looked at some 99p special offers for 750ml of a chemical cleaning product from the discount store and found that it is actually not such great value.

Why? Because you use it neat and undiluted. We found some amazing multi-purpose eco-friendly cleaning products that, when diluted, were as cheap at 32p per litre. That’s over 60% cheaper than the 99p special offer!

4.Simplification – if you opened up an average household’s cleaning cupboard you might find up to 20 different products! Why do we need so many of them? Because the corporations managed to convince us that we needed them!

There are 2 fundamental issues with this overabundance. The first is that most of these products have the same, common ingredients so, in essence, they do the same thing despite the marketing jargon trying to convince you otherwise. Secondly, if they are actually significantly different from each other mixing them can be dangerous. I have read news feeds on how aircraft have undertaken emergency landings and sleeper trains have been evacuated when either the wrong products were used or mixed.

As an exercise in simplification, we teamed up with a local passenger ferry company and we proved that 60% of their cleaning products (17 different products), could be replaced with just 2 eco-friendly alternatives.

Simplification means easier ordering, easier use, less packaging and less chance of using the wrong product.

5.Helping Others – companies making eco-friendly products have a true understanding of the climate crisis we all face. They understand the importance of helping others to help the planet. Many of them have active schemes to plant trees or educate the local community.

They do not engage in these activities to cover up their bad practices or claim to be offsetting the damage they continue to wreak on the environment. They do it because it underpins their core values. Companies like “Play It Green '' not only help to plant trees but also offset some of their profits to help a number of local charities directly.

Summary – we realise that not all problems have their eco-friendly solution yet. However, there are certainly enough products available for us to make a difference in reducing how many toxins we pour into our drains, sewers, rivers and ultimately oceans.

Change does not have to be radical. If enough of us simply replace a few of the most toxic chemicals with eco-friendly products, it will make a massive positive difference to our health, the environment and the quality of water we drink and swim in.

If you want help identifying what chemical cleaning products you could replace with an equally effective and possibly cheaper eco-friendly alternative, then please contact me at

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