On the afternoon of Sunday May 5, the Great Swamp Watershed Association presented a program on eco-friendly cleaning products. GSWA’s director of education and outreach spoke about the ingredients found in our personal and household cleaning products you may want to avoid, since they can make the products harmful to health and/or environment.
Hazel’s presentation covered a wide category of products including degreasers, surfactants, abrasives, disinfectants and antimicrobials, bleaches, mineral stain and hard water spot removers, polishes, and fragrances.
Main takeaways from the presentation:
- Labels are often not very clear or do not list all ingredients.
- 2 options for consumers are to move toward less harmful products (some safer brands are Lemi Shine, Ecover, Method, Seventh Generation) or make your own.
- Avoid substances with fragrances (and those which say parfum) including aerosols and sprays.
- Fewer the ingredients listed on the product, the safer it is to use.
- Keep the stable or number of cleaning products you use smaller
- Ingredients to avoid include Triclosan and Phthalates.
- Most commonly found ingredients at home that can be used to make DIY cleaning products include baking soda, washing soda, white vinegar, and lemon juice.
In the hands on part of the program, Hazel showed how to make a bottle of general purpose cleaner using 3 parts water, 1 part vinegar, about 8 drops of essential oil (for fragrance) and a drop of natural soap.
The Environmental Working Group is a fantastic resource to find vetted eco friendly cleaning products. You can check out potential cleaning products and your favorite (potentially now least favorite!) cleaning products to see how they “score” against some of the eco-friendly alternatives!
The information can be accessed at https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners
Another great resource is the GSWA’s website; the watershed friendly living section of the website has many additional resources.
They are a member supported organization focused on water quality, and most programs/events are free to members.
-Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services Librarian
Attached is the Power Point presentation, a green cleaning recipes handout and a green resolutions handout.