Photo credit: Véronique Debord-Lazaro
In the past, we’ve shared some of our Frequently Asked Questions (you can find the whole list here!), but today we wanted to share a few Should Ask Questions. These are questions that you should consider prior to making any cleaning product purchase. Hopefully these questions will help you make more informed decisions that will keep you, your family, and your home safer and healthier.
- What are the active and inactive ingredients in this cleaner/detergent? If the ingredients aren’t clearly listed on the bottle, check the manufacturer’s website. If the ingredients still aren’t readily accessible, there’s probably a good reason why. What you don't know could hurt you.
- Are the ingredients in this cleaner non-toxic? When you use this product in and around your home, do you need to be concerned about proper ventilation in order to preserve the health of your respiratory system? Are gloves required? If this product comes in contact with your skin, will you need to take safety precautions? How do these warnings make you feel as a consumer?
- Are the ingredients in this cleaner safe for air and water quality? Many cleaners emit harmful VOCs when used and some can contaminate ground water with harmful chemicals. Again, how does that make you feel about using this product in your home?
- Are the ingredients in this cleaner “natural” or “organic?” Remember, the term “organic” is federally regulated by the USDA. For a manufacturer to use that claim, they must meet very stringent expectations about their ingredient sources and manufacturing processes. “Natural” lacks the government oversight and has no real definition or meaning. In fact, many “natural” cleaners contain some not-so-natural ingredients that can be quite harmful to our bodies and our environment.
- Is the container that holds this cleaner recycled or recyclable? Some companies haven’t boarded the recycled materials bandwagon, but many have made the switch to using recycled plastics for their cleaners. And some companies have taken environmental stewardship a step further and are sourcing their bottling materials from sustainable and renewable, non-petroleum based resources (like our sugar-cane sourced bottles!).
- Is the company that makes this cleaner socially and/or environmentally responsible? Many companies are making significant strides in environmental preservation and many others are working to help out their fellow humans. Does the company that makes your chosen cleaner hold the same values as you and your family?
- Is this cleaner effective? Perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself before making a purchase, especially if you are trying a new product. You’ll want to know how this cleaner has matched up against similar products, so do your research and read the reviews. Be informed.
The answers you find after asking each of these questions will help guide you to the cleaning product that best suites your personal needs. Don't accept manufacturer claims at face value. Ask questions. Only you can decide what products you introduce into your home, and it’s important to make the most informed and healthy decision possible.