Hazardous chemicals in cleaning products can cause cancer, birth defects, asthma and other grave health problems. Equally they can have disastrous effects on animals and the environment. To ensure that one is following the safe, protective route, only green cleaning products that offer total transparency in terms of product labelling should be trusted and utilised. In South Africa, residential and industrial cleaning products are not required to list ingredients, and it is the unlisted ingredients that are the problematic ones.
To avoid the products that contain carcinogens, suspected reproductive toxins and endocrine disrupters that give off destructive fumes and are harmful to human health, and just as damaging to the environment when flushed down drains, it is vital to check that cleaning materials do not contain the following ingredients:
- Ammonia – this ingredient can have fatal effects, causing lung damage and heart attacks, and many minor health problems like skin burns, pulmonary edema and irritation to eyes and mucous membranes, yet it can be found in many all-in-one or cream cleaners.
- Sodium hypochlorite, known more commonly as bleach – in combination with ammonia, this creates dangerously toxic chloramine gas, yet is used and suggested frequently as easy solution for removing tough stains.
- Dichlorobenzene – this can cause serious breathing problems, yet most room fresheners, toilet bowl deodorizers and urinal cakes contain it.
To conserve and minimize our impact on the environment, many companies in South Africa now use microbe and enzyme technology to manufacture biodegradable or bioremediation cleaning products. When hiring a cleaning company for home, office or other residential establishments, ensure that they use green certified products only. For your own home cleaning, there are many surprisingly simple alternatives to employ to safeguard yourself and others.
Non-hazardous home cleaning remedies
Because its natural gritty texture does not scratch surfaces, baking soda can be mixed into a useful paste with vinegar, water or liquid soap and used with steel wool to remove stubborn dirt. It can also be used to deodorize carpets, toilets, rooms and the inside of refrigerators.
Vinegar cuts through grease, mineral deposits and soap scum. Because the strong smell disappears once it is dry, it also provides deodorizing qualities. It can be mixed with baking soda or salt for added cleaning power. It is also one of the most effective, streak-free glass cleaners. Be aware that it can damage grouting and must never be used on marble surfaces. Used simply with water, it serves as a natural and totally harmless disinfectant, too. As it is an effective fabric softener, this disinfectant property is especially useful in preventing allergies when used in the rinse cycle of laundry.
These soaps biodegrade easily and do not contaminate groundwater. Castile soap, for example, is made of olive oil, and is convenient because it comes in liquid form which is easy to mix with baking soda or vinegar for more versatile cleaning applications.
Lemon juice is as good for all the surfaces of a home as it is for the health of the organs in our body and the welfare of the skin. It can be used to break up oils and soap scum, to shine brass and copper, to polish furniture when mixed with olive oil, to clean stubborn dishes when combined with baking soda, and to remove stains. An added bonus is that it can prevent odours in drains and toilet bowls, and when mixed with water in a spray bottle, can double as an air freshener with one of the most appealing, healthy and clean scents conceivable.
Known so widely for its effectiveness with the staining potential of red wine, simple salt should not be overlooked as a cleaning product that can work wonders with boiling water and fibre cloths. It can serve as a very useful scrub and can easily be mixed with baking soda for extra cleaning power, while the use of micro-fibre cloths immediately minimises the use of chemical compounds in your environment.
Borax is a useful grease strain remover and fabric softener, but caution should be employed against excessive amounts of it. Although it does not contain man-made chemicals, it should be used in moderation, as seizures and kidney failure can result from chronic exposure, even though it is considered a natural cleaning agent.
Damage to our environment
Damage to our environment becomes an ever more pressing problem to be addressed. Looking for quick solutions to cleaning, no matter the possible negative consequences, might offer short-term satisfaction at the expense of long-term wellbeing and is no longer an intelligent or acceptable route to follow. Equally, cleaning methods and products should not pose any danger to our fellow human beings if they are to be considered viable for a safe and sustainable future for everyone.
CS Cleaning Solutions
CS Cleaning Solutions takes pride in offering our customers an accredited, professional and client-centric service that involves revolutionary new technology, green certified (US Standard) products, and meticulous attention to hygiene detail. Our approach to cleaning strives to uphold high quality standards that are affordable, environment-friendly, quick and long-lasting. Added to our considerable experience in the cleaning industry, including both offices and hospitality establishments, we bring an awareness that the wellness of employees and guests is essential to healthy morale, a trustworthy reputation and the efficient level of productivity that creates and maintains a successful company.
Find out more by visiting us at: www.cscleaningsolutions.co.za