How to choose the best eco or green cleaning products; Check the ingredients! (Part 3)

The obvious thing to check when you’re buying cleaning products (and anything else) is the ingredients list. So what are those ingredients anyway? You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘Ignorance is no excuse’, it means that no one else is looking out for you, you have to be informed. The law doesn’t offer you much help if you chose to be ignorant. This step takes a little more effort, but as they say, “you’re worth it!”

Obvious signs of hazardous ingredients need to be understood!

It’s best to avoid products labelled ‘Poison’ ! Image source DeviantArt by HauntingVisionsStock

3.  Does it contain any hazardous chemicals? A Poison sign, or a caution symbol, or a flammable substance symbol, or a ‘keep out of reach’ notice; these need to be considered and understood.

Take extreme care with flamable products.

Take extreme care with flamable products, they are generally toxic. Image source DeviantArt by lilith187

If it is designed to kill insects or mould it may not be very healthy for other living things, like people, especially cute little people, or pets.

Keep in mind that people or animals with a lower body weight can tolerate a much smaller amount of chemicals before they are affected. Someone a quarter your size gets a dose of chemicals 4 times what you get (proportionately).

Checking the ingredients is really important. If you need help (and who doesn’t?), get a copy of The Chemical Maze, in Book form or The Chemical Maze App (iPhone).

The Chemical Maze App

The Chemical Maze App is easy to have on hand.

Chemical Maze - Complete Edition -The ultimate shopping guide to decode the Food Additives and Cosmetic Ingredients Maze - Gridstone Pty Ltd The Chemical Maze is an indispensable and quick and easy reference for looking up the ingredients in food and cosmetics. The cosmetics section covers most cleaning ingredients. Yes, we put the same sorts of chemicals on our faces as we use to clean our floors! (All for the sake of beauty or fashion.) The internet is of course a great way to research ingredients too. Make sure you go to reputable sites, preferably university research papers or one of the not-for-profit groups’ chemical indexes.

If the ingredients appear acceptable, consider the confidence you have in the manufacturer. Cleaning products only need to have 80% of their ingredients listed. So if there’s anything a bit ‘iffy’ in that 80%, you can be sure the undeclared 20% is not going to be better! To find out about the other 20%, you need to approach the manufacturer and ask for a full ingredients declaration, or ask for a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). The MSDS will give details of possible hazards, which will indicate how safe it is.

Heed the warnings on packaging!

This warning label was on a box of wire. Not all manufacturers are as socially responsible in declaring the hazards of using their products.  Image source DeviantArt by JennyAnyStock

When you’ve followed the three steps outlined so far, you’ll have culled most of the greenwash products. Your shortlist of products will be modern, locally made and have healthy ingredients. But there’s more to consider, see part 4 of this series.

Natural Mould Removal

Mould thrives in damp, humid conditions, the sort of conditions frequently felt in Sydney! Mould spores can present a health hazard, especially for people with respiratory issues such as asthma, and it is best to deal with the problem quickly. Fortunately, there are several natural mould removal options for you to chose from. Avoid using strong and unnecessary chemicals, they have a whole different range of health issues!

There are 3 natural products that perform really well.

Lencia Bathroom mould and mildew cleaner

Lencia removes mould and mildew from bathrooms.

First, I can recommend Lencia, made in NSW by Citrus

Lencia dilution bottle with foaming trigger

Lencia spray bottle with foaming trigger.

Resources Lencia is specifically designed to address bathroom mould. Lencia contains a natural mildecide and fungicide, and is extremely economical. It is available in a 1 Litre or 5 Litre concentrate, and is used in a 1 in 10 dilution. This means that you use just 50ml in a 500ml spray bottle! I recommend the specially marked spray bottle, it is calibrated, which means it has markings showing 50ml, 100ml, 150ml etc on the side of the bottle, and it has a foaming trigger, so the froth stays put on the wall when you spray it. It also has the full instructions printed on the bottle. It can be used in other areas of the house, such as on paths that have become slippery and black, or on exterior paintwork that has developed a green hue!

Fungiver Mould and Mildew Remover

Fungiver Mould and Mildew Remover

The second is a more expensive but very effective spray called Fungiver. Fungiver will also lighten any staining that has resulted from mould.

The third is Clove Oil – in 25ml or 5ml bottle. Clove Oil is particularly

Clove Oil

Use Clove Oil to kill mould on leather and wood.

useful if you have leather shoes, bags or jackets that have developed mould. You can use a few drops of clove oil on a damp cloth, the mould will wipe off the leather, and get killed in the process. There is an added bonus of a very yummy fresh smell! You can also put a few drops of clove oil in some water, and rinse your wash cloth in that, then clean the mould away.  Clove oil is also good for removing mould from timber furniture or decorative items, a common problem with furniture and artifacts which have come from the tropics.

There are ‘common’ remedies for mould, which also work and are part of the natural bicarb soda and vinegar cleaning routine. The basic premise is that acid kills mould. Vinegar is an acid commonly found in most homes (get some cheap vinegar, dont waste the balsamic!). Do a test patch on leathers and wood to make sure you don’t damage the surface.