Are Spring Cleaning Products Hurting The Environment?

First Posted: May 24, 2019 11:43 AM EDT

Springtime is here, which means that millions of people everywhere are busying themselves by embracing the season with some spring cleaning. Despite the importance of doing spring cleaning to make sure that your house and business look great and are hygienic, however, it's imperative that you don't accidentally harm yourself, your family, your workers, or the environment with the wrong spring cleaning products. Using a harmful product unknowingly is easier than you'd think, so it's worthwhile to review a list of products to avoid while freshening up with some eco-friendly spring cleaning tips.

Are your spring cleaning products hurting the environment? Here's what we know about popular products, their environmental and health impacts, and what you can do to clean in a green fashion.

Chemicals find their way everywhere

You may think that thorough spring cleaning with plenty of hot water and soap is enough to wash away the harmful effects of some of the harsher chemicals you've employed to clean your house or business, but you'd be wrong. As a matter of fact, chemicals find their way everywhere and can seep into both your household furniture and your local environment if they're employed too liberally during the spring cleaning process. As Science Focus recently made clear, cleaning products can release harmful chemicals that endure despite being washed away by water, put through the laundry, or blown great distances by wind or air condition units.

Whether you're harming yourself and the local environment when spring cleaning isn't always a given, though, as it largely depends on your methods of cleaning and what specific products you're using. Some brands are eco-friendlier than others, for instance, yet being environmentally-conscious is often expensive and time consuming in a way that being wasteful simply isn't. Thus, many people either knowingly or ignorantly harm themselves or their local environment when cleaning for want of better, more eco-friendly products in their nearby area.

A list of cleaning products that can cause harm is worthy of your review before your next shopping trip. Active ingredients like Triclosan can be disastrous for algae in your local waterways, for instance, so those living in moist areas should take particular care before buying antibacterial spray or wipes. Similarly, phosphates can be incredibly hard to filter out of water, with even professional water recycling plants failing to totally eliminate the presence of phosphate from water. Knowing about these products ahead of time can help you avoid buying them and wasting your money or hurting the environment.

You should rely on natural products

When it comes to spring cleaning, you should be relying on natural products, such as ecobags, that don't pose a risk to you or your local environment. While some lament that being environmentally-conscious can be unduly expensive and time-consuming, scrounging up your own eco-friendly cleaning products is actually quite easy and frequently doesn't cost much money. Following some DIY recipes for spring cleaning products can even be a fun way to spend an afternoon in preparation of cleaning your entire home.

Besides focusing on natural cleaning products that won't tarnish the environment, you should also be conscious about living a green lifestyle in general and avoiding habits that can harm your local environment. Millions of tons of waste are dumped into landfills each year, for instance, so be sure that you're not throwing out things which you could be reusing or recycling in a more efficient manner. As the CDC has pointed out, living a green lifestyle is particularly important around the holidays and change of seasons, as this is when many old things are thrown out instead of being recycled or reused.

Not all spring cleaning products are hurting the environment, and some have little impact whereas others have big ones, but it's important to always be environmentally-conscious when trying to spruce up your home or workspace. Cleanliness isn't always sufficient for health when the products you're using to eliminate germs and filth also have a negative impact on your overall health and hygiene, for instance. With millions of people being involved in the cleaning industry, too, business owners have a responsibility not to expose their workers to harmful cleaning chemicals. As long as you keep eco-friendliness and health and wellbeing at the forefront of your priorities, you'll soon be spring cleaning in style.

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