Some frequently asked questions regarding the use of organic cleaning products were featured in this interesting blog piece:
Article from https://www.cleaningservicenewyorkcity.com/blog/positive-environment-impacts-organic-cleaning-products/
Organic cleaning products are natural products that offer much of the same cleaning power as those purchased commercially. Unlike most store-bought cleaners, however, they are made using ingredients found in nature and are safe for both the environment and for human health. When buying an organic cleaning product that has the “Organic” seal, it is made using materials from plants that have not been treated with artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Ingredients that may be found or used in organic cleaners include lemon, salt, vinegar, borax, witch hazel, waxes, and oils. Organic cleaning products should not contain chemicals or synthetic ingredients and can often be made at home. These cleaners are suitable for use in kitchens, bathrooms, or anywhere where cleansing is required. Products purchased commercially may come in refillable bottles, which also cuts back on waste.
What chemicals are in store-bought cleaning products?
There is a wide range of chemicals that can be found in the store-bought products that are used for cleaning. These chemicals and the products that they are in can be problematic for both human health and for the environment. Common ingredients include Phthalates, which are often found in scented dish soaps and detergents. Because it is a scent, it may not appear on the label. This chemical is used to bind chemicals and scents and is harmful to animals. Antibacterial soaps may include triclosan which can enable drug-resistant bacterial growth. Chemicals that can negatively affect life in the water include phosphates and ammonia, the latter of which is a chemical that most people are aware of that can be found in glass cleaners and polishing agent. Another common chemical found in most homes is chlorine. Toilet bowl cleaners, laundry whiteners, and scouring powders are some of the cleaning products that include this ingredient. Other chemicals that can be detrimental include sodium hydroxide, or lye, which is found in drain openers and oven cleaners and is toxic to fish.
How do these chemicals make their way into the environment?
Toxic chemicals in cleaning products inevitably make their way into the environment. During the process of cleaning, the chemicals found in store-bought products go down the drain and into the sewage system. Cleaners in sprays can release their fumes and particles into the air and are carried outdoors by ventilation systems in buildings, homes, and apartments. When people use up their cleaners, the packaging is often thrown in the garbage where they end up in landfills and take up valuable space. Because there’s often remnants of cleaner still in the packaging, toxic chemicals can ooze from containers, drip onto the soil and seep into the earth and groundwater.
What do these chemicals do to the environment?
When household cleansers make their way into the water supply, their chemicals contaminate and pollute them. These chemicals are generally removed at treatment facilities, however, not all can be removed so easily. Certain chemicals, such as ammonia, nitrogen, and phosphorus can remain. This can further impact the environment and affect fish by causing accelerated growth in aquatic plants and algae that can result in overcrowding. Other chemicals that may remain in the water can affect the reproduction of underwater life. When chemicals enter the air they can contribute to smog and global warming.
Why organic cleaning products are safe for the environment
As organic cleaning products are made of materials that are naturally derived they tend to have little negative impact on the environment. Organic cleaners degrade without leaving any harmful chemical residue or fumes and are less likely to harm animals or plant life. Because they do not contain toxic chemicals, they generally do not pose a threat to the soil or water and won’t contribute to global warming. Additionally, people often DIY their green cleaning supplies, which means less waste into landfills.