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Spring Cleaning After A Pandemic

Spring Cleaning After A Pandemic

This article is a 2:00-minute read using 7 sources Sprucing up the home anytime soon? The past three years the mainstream awareness of problem chemicals in cleaning products has paradoxically risen with an influx of sanitizing chemicals being used during Covid. I for one used to only associate the smell of “clean” with chemicals like Windex, bleach, and Simple Green. Many still find problems with cleaners that use less chemicals because of decades of marketing that only the toughest chemicals can adequately clean, remove mold, disinfect, and that anything “gentler” or doesn’t emit toxic fumes will not clean, or clean enough. Today, the last chemical formula that I can’t seem to depart from is Drain-O.

I’m sure it’s a carcinogen, but so is everything else and I’m not going to pull my hair out of the shower drain. My personal favorite soaps are Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint and Tea Tree scents, they smell a lot better than Chlorox without burning nose hairs. Recently the New York Times published an article that after Covid, it’s probably safer to get away from over-using carcinogenic chemical cleaning solutions. Bravely, the article also sites it’s Covid-era articles that encouraged readers to use extra chemicals, and leave chemicals on surfaces extra-long. 

Federal law does not require chemicals to be listed on cleaning products. The greenwashing trend hasn’t escaped cleaning manufacturer majors, like SC Johnson, a privately held business that makes Windex and Drain-O. Both products actually label the ingredients. The Windex bottle has a sporty tag on the neck of it reading, “bottle made of 100% ocean bound plastic”. When even the most obviously chemical-based cleaners are trying to greenwash, the landslide of labels in brands purporting to be less toxic is a wide-open field. Here’s what to know: 

Ecologo & Green Seal:These are two independent organizations that test products. Either of these seals on a bottle indicates the product has passed their chemical testing standards. 

Safer Choice:This is a seal created by the EPA. Products with the Safer Choice seal have gone through an auditing process and are held to the standards of the label. 

Non-Toxic:This is the equivalent of the “natural” label on food. There is no legal standard for “non-toxic” so seeing this on a label is completely marketing and means nothing about the ingredients. 

Bio-Degradable:Like “non-toxic” this label has no legal standard definition. It’s appearance on bottles is just marketing with little to do with what’s in the bottle. 

Phosphate-Free:This label is the equivalent to Orange Juice brands advertising, “not from concentrate.” Phosphates used to be common but since being banned in 25 states it’s rare for any product on the shelf to contain phosphate.

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