When choosing organic cleaning products, words like organic on the label are not government regulated in many countries and may not mean that all of the ingredients are organic. Most countries have certifying agencies that allow products meeting their standards to bear their logo. Many companies choose to manufacture products that contain only organic ingredients, so looking for particular brands can make choosing organic cleaning products easier. Finally, it’s possible to quickly and easily make organic cleaning products instead of buying them.
Stores contain many products with words like “natural,” “green,” or “organic” on the labels. Unfortunately, none of these terms is regulated in the United States or in many other countries. Any product can claim to be organic while still containing small amounts of pesticides. Just because a cleaning product contains natural ingredients does not mean those ingredients are not harmful. Many natural ingredients can irritate the skin or lungs.
One way to choose organic cleaning products is to look for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE) logo. This seal is only given to products that meet certain criteria. DfE products have had each ingredient examined to make certain it is the safest ingredient available for use in its class.
There are also a number of independent non-profit agencies that certify products that meet specific standards. Each may have different standards, so it is best to check for agencies on the Internet to become familiar with their standards. If a cleaning product does not bear a certifying label, warning labels can help determine if the product is organic. Any product labeled “poison,” “flammable,” or “corrosive” is not organic.
If local stores do not carry organic cleaning products, ordering online is an option. Many online websites carry a greater variety of organic cleaning products than are available in physical stores for comparable prices. Organic cleaning product manufacturer websites are a good source of information about the background of a company and frequently offer coupons.
Perhaps the best way to be certain of the ingredients in cleaning products is to make organic cleaning products at home. There are many common household substances that are pesticide-free, non-toxic, and safe for use around children and pets. Baking soda, vinegar, mineral oil, lemon juice, and borax, or sodium borate, are all effective cleaners that were used for generations before commercial chemical cleaners became popular. Many of these work just as well, if not better, than their chemical counterparts, and without the risks of chemical residues.