The Environmental Impact of Typical Household Cleaners

Household Cleaners and their Impact: When we think of pollutants, we generally think of plastic waste, smoke from vehicles, synthetic chemicals, and the like. What we don’t often consider is the contribution to environmental decline caused by typical and seemingly-innocuous household products.


By Jacky Xu of Maid Sailors

A Guide To The Environmental Impact of Household Cleaners

What we deem safe might not be helpful at all.

For instance, we use cleaners a couple of times a week. But have you ever stopped and wondered if these solutions have ingredients that may impact the environment?

You may not have done it, but we’re not judging you for it.

Typical household cleaners tend to have elements that can harm the air we breathe inside our homes and the quality of water that we use every day. Some are even toxic to pets if you have one.

We could all learn something every day. And today is one of those days that you’ll realize how great of an impact our household items can have on the environment.

Water Sources

Water sources, including lakes and rivers, are meant to be kept clean to avoid contamination. But inevitably so, human waste can sometimes turn up into these water sources. It compromises the water quality that we use every day.

You’re probably wondering what types of human waste could potentially harm and destroy these sources.

One great contributor is a typical household cleaner. It usually has ammonia and other toxic chemicals. Without proper disposal of waste, it could end up in the waters.

The effect? It could harm and endanger natural habitats for wildlife and the marine ecosystem.

Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality

Bleach is one of the many common ingredients you can find in a regular cleaner. It has a strong smelling agent that could cause dizziness or lightheadedness.

Sure, it can do its job well of cleaning surfaces and spaces inside your house. But is it worth jeopardizing your health and the environment?

These chemicals are classified as volatile organic compounds or VOCs. They can contribute to smog, thus, lowering the air quality around you, whether inside or outside your home.

It’s best to steer away from these harmful compounds and keep an optimal air quality for living things to thrive.

Current Global Waste Problem

If you’ll notice, most cleaning products in the market are made with plastic packaging. We all know that plastics are non-biodegradable. So when you decide to throw away these containers, you contribute to the already mountains of waste that won’t decompose in about a hundred years.

Just imagine what this amount of waste can do for the global landscape. It could potentially harm the air we breathe and contaminate nearby water sources because of the presence of VOCs in the cleaning materials.

When you think about it, plastic waste is a complete danger to the planet. The idea of reuse and recycling can alleviate the problem, but reducing is the more appropriate solution.

Freight Transport

When you regularly use mass-produced cleaning products, it’s apparent that they went through a lot of transportation before they ended up in your cupboard.

The amount of fuels used during the delivery process from the manufacturer to the warehouse up to the groceries where you bought them is unimaginable. Sometimes it may even come from overseas, which adds a sizable amount of carbon footprint under your belt.

When you go with locally sourced and produced products, you don’t contribute to the impact that freight transports can cause on the environment.

Bonus: Key Tips for Choosing Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Now’s the best time to make the shift—from commercial household cleaners to a more eco-conscious alternative.

Always read the label

Reading the label allows you to get to know the products you’re about to use. Always go straight to reading the ingredients list to see whether they carry toxic materials or not.

Beware of greenwashing

Don’t always believe claims that say natural or eco-friendly. Greenwashing is a common trend among products nowadays. You have to check the ingredients and be the judge.

Be knowledgeable about harmful chemicals

Keep in mind the types of chemicals that will do no good for you and the environment. Some of them are ammonia, bleach and triclosan, phthalates, phosphates, and flame retardants.

These toxic agents can bring danger to your health and negatively impact your natural resources.

Use cleaning alternatives

There are always safer alternatives. If you want to be more conscious about how you affect the planet, choose cleaning solutions that are organically made and locally produced. You can also rummage your cupboard and look for natural ingredients that can be used as cleaning materials.

A good mix of baking soda, lemon, and vinegar can answer most of your cleaning problems.

Always remember that when a more eco-friendly option is available, you don’t have to waste your time second-guessing. Go for it and make your positive contribution to the planet.

About the Author:

Jacky Xu is the Chief Operating Officer at Maid Sailors. Maid Sailors takes pride in providing unparalleled cleaning services at affordable prices and will help transform your house into a home.