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Natural Cleaning Products: Here's What to Buy (and Why)

Mainstream cleaning products can contain chemicals that are toxic to women and children. And as women still do most cleaning (both in the household and as professional cleaners), we're more affected by these chemicals than men are. Some of these chemicals can be especially problematic for pregnant women and children. But trying to choose safer cleaning products while you're at the supermarket can be confusing, to say the least.

While I was researching this article, I jumped on to Coles Online. There are over 500 cleaning products there. No wonder consumers feel overwhelmed and confused when they're choosing products in the supermarket! I don't shop at supermarkets, but I went into one recently when I was away for the weekend and needed enough food to tide me over. I ended up walking out again. There was so much choice in the cereal aisle alone that I was completely overwhelmed.

Studies have shown that consumers spend mere seconds choosing products in the supermarket, so manufacturers use tactics to catch your eye and help you make an instant decision. Names like 'BAM' in bright colours jump out at you. And if you're thinking of eco, you'll see names like 'Earth Choice' which make you think that they're eco friendly. No wonder we feel confused and overwhelmed in the supermarket: manufacturers are deliberately trying to do that to you!

So what's the alternative if you're looking to switch to greener cleaning products in the kitchen? You may not want to go DIY. That's understandable. I don't want to spend my weekends mixing up citrus peel cleaning solutions. Packaged products are convenient, but I want to support companies who really are eco and ethical. So we're making it easy for you to swap cleaning products! This week we're starting in the kitchen, with some eco swaps for mainstream cleaning products.

Swap Jif Cream Cleanser for OurEco Clean BiCarb Cleaning Paste

Jif is owned by Unilever, and I'd prefer to buy from an independent brand with good ethics. OurEco Clean's bicarb cleaning paste (cream cleanser) does a great job, without the perfumes, colours and environmental toxins. 

Jif cream cleanser vs OurEco Clean bicarb cleaning paste

Swap Earth Choice Dishwash Liquid for Abode Dishwash Liquid

You thought Earth Choice was a better environmental choice? I'm afraid you've been greenwashed. Check the ingredients list for Earth Choice, then swap the synthetic fragrance, colours, SLES, and environmental toxins like methylisothiazolinone. Methylisothiazolinone is a skin irritant, so if you're washing dishes by hand, I hope you're wearing gloves. Choose Abode's dishwash liquids instead, which are made from plant and mineral based ingredients. And of course, Ecostore has a range of plant and mineral based dishwash liquids, too. I can personally vouch for all of these - I've used them all and they're all incredibly effective.

Earth Choice for Abode Dishwashing Liquid

Swap Ajax Spray & Wipe Kitchen Cleaner for Koala Eco Natural Kitchen Cleaner

Ajax Spray and Wipe Kitchen contains ingredients like methylisothiazolinone (MIT), methylchloroisothiazol (MCI),  and octylisothiazolinone. MIT is a strong allergen. Although you're not using it directly on your skin, you are spraying it and then leaving it on kitchen surfaces. MCI is also a strong allergen, and so is octylisothiazolinone. Octylisothiazolinone is also an environmental hazard and is highly toxic to aquatic life. There's evidence that MIT is toxic to marine life, too. Skip it.

Choose Koala Eco Natural Kitchen Cleaner instead. It's made from plant based ingredients like 100% pure Australian lemon myrtle and mandarin essential oils. Much safer and just as effective. Or try Ethique Kitchen Spray ConcentrateAbode's plant and mineral based surface sprays, or Ecostore's multi purpose spray cleaners.

Ajax spray & wipe for Koala Eco natural kitchen cleaner

Swap Dettol Antibacterial Surface Cleansing Wipes for a kitchen cloth and spray cleaner

I didn't even look at the ingredients for this. Seriously, people, have we got so lazy that we can't spray surface cleaner and wipe it off with a cloth? The wipes in this are not biodegradable, so they're going to end up in landfill. Use a reusable cloth in the kitchen, wash it regularly and hang it in the sun to bleach. If you absolutely MUST have a single use item, go with a paper towel and some surface spray. At least the paper towel will biodegrade.

Dettol surface cleaning wipes for White Magic Eco Basics Bamboo Cloth

Swap Mr Muscle for Ecover Oven & Hob

I'm a little scared of Mr Muscle Non Caustic Oven Cleaner. The instructions shout: Wear thick rubber gloves and eye protection at all times. Always make sure that no part of your body/hair/clothes comes into contact with sprayed areas. Avoid breathing fumes, mist, vapours or spray. That's okay, Mr Muscle. I'm going to leave you on the shelf, and go with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, left on overnight, then wiped out in the morning. I've done this, and it definitely works.

Mr Muscle for baking soda and vinegar

Have you swapped mainstream product for eco friendly? For more natural cleaning options, Hello Charlie's got you covered!

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