Do you want to clean green?
After I closed down my full-time eco-friendly cleaning business in London, Ontario, I was surprised (and a little disappointed) to realize that most of my clients were not continuing to use the green cleaning techniques and products I had introduced into their homes.
Curious, I asked one of my former clients (a retired schoolteacher and a very perceptive, well-spoken man - who just happens to love toxic cleaning products) for his insight into this phenomenon. His answer rang true to my experience with my other clients.
He suggested two possible reasons for continuing to use toxic cleaning products:
1) They work.
2) Most people don't think their individual actions have much impact on the environment as a whole.
I would add to this that most people don't recognize the long-term hazards of toxic chemical use on themselves, their families, their homes and their environment.
If you are curious to know what's really wrong with standard commercial cleansers, have a look at the websites I've listed in the sidebar at right, or the ones below:
Toxic Nation - Pollution. It's in you. (a room-by-room description of environmental toxins)
Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia - Guide to Less Toxic Products
VanessasGift.com - Toxic Cleaning Products
Do standard commercial cleansers work? Yes. They work quickly and well to remove dirt and other unwanted residues.
Do the cleaners you use in your home have an impact on the environment? Yes. They affect you and your family and pets, and they affect the larger ecosystem through water runoff, air pollution, garbage disposal and other contamination routes.
Are eco-friendly alternatives just as easy to use? Not always. Sometimes the least-toxic products and methods demand time and elbow-grease. Is the trade-off worth it? You decide.
Will eco-friendly cleansers have a positive impact on your health, and the health of your family? Almost definitely. I lived with my parents for several years as an adult, and over time I gradually transitioned the household's cleaning products to eco-friendlier choices. Both my mother and I (who suffer from migraine headaches) noticed that the heavy scents in commercial cleansers would trigger almost-immediate migraines. When we used unscented or naturally-scented eco-friendly cleansers, our headaches were reduced.
Many people feel overwhelmed at the thought of changing their long-standing habits and routines. Where do you start? How do you prioritize? How do you adjust to the changes?
I hope the information in this blog will help people realize that every action they take - no matter how small - is important. And that green cleaning techniques and products are not as alien or difficult as you might fear.
In many cases, the difference may delight you.