Hey it's Spring! Let the cleaning begin...
If the "new me" from New Year didn't quite pan out, do not fear, Spring is a great time to have a big clear out and start a fresh. Although some of us may not necessarily enjoy cleaning, one thing that can't be disputed is the sense of satisfaction sitting in a ship-shaped home after a few hours tidying.
But whilst we feel we are making progress, being productive and taking control of our surroundings, do we really appreciate the impacts of the harsh chemicals we use? The plastic? The water?
"Spring fresh, rose petal infusions, lilac lavender"...
...what do these three names all have in common?
Firstly they're made up fabric softener names, but if they were real, wouldn't they make freshly washed towels and bed sheets smell great?
They probably would, and not just to humans stepping out of the shower or tucking into clean, crisp bedsheets at night. Insects love the sweet scents too. But this can be confusing for insects that are trying to breed. In the words of Ecover on their packaging: "The last thing a loved-up butterfly needs is the smell of your laundry".
Not to even mention the hazards of certain cleaning products to humans from skin irritation to respiratory problems. The nasties in your cleaning products showing various hazardous warning signs are likely to stick around in your home and the air you breathe.
Cleaning up the mess on phosphates
What about the environment? While phosphorus is a naturally occurring mineral, combined with oxygen it creates phosphates. Phosphates are used in a majority of cleaning products from dish washer soap to the detergent we use to wash our clothes.
They're also great for cutting through dirt and grease to get our plates and clothes clean. However as good as they may be at their job, these cleaning products pose risks to marine life.
Pretty much everything when being cleaned requires water, and this water then finds itself back into the water supply but with some nasty extras. It is now full of chemicals and those pesky phosphates which spur on the growth of algae in streams and lakes (causing eutrophication) ...great right!?
No. With the unbalanced and unnatural growth of algae there is far less oxygen for fish and other aquatic inhabitants, including plants, vital to their ecosystems and survival...
...and on the topic of survival, animal testing may not be the first ethical issue that springs to mind when selecting cleaning products, but the reality is that many household cleaners are tested on animals using processes including injecting, gassing and force-feeding.
While there are EU regulations prohibiting the testing of animals for cosmetics, there is nothing preventing the testing of harsh household cleaners on innocent animals.
To ensure you don't support this abuse, you can 'vote with your wallet' by choosing cleaning products that display the Leaping Bunny Certification ensuring no animals were harmed during development.
Avoiding the dirt of traditional products
With Spring blossoming, now is the time of year we enjoy a good clear out and clean up... so let's start with the basics.
For all of our DIY-er readers, we love these great non-toxic DIY home cleaning tips utilising everyday ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and olive oil.
If you're more comfortable purchasing ready-to-go cleaning products, companies such as Ecover, Delphis Eco, method and Bio-D offer a refreshing change by creating products that get the job done without any of the harshness of toxic chemicals on skin or the pollution of our water - see below for just some of the reasons we love them!