When Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Wednesday 10th June 2015
Maintaining a clean workplace is essential. Not only does it ward off germs and keep illness and disease at bay, it also inspires confidence in your company’s professionalism. These days, there seems to be a different cleaning product for every surface you can think of. They all promise powerful cleaning without the elbow grease, but before you stock up, consider this:
How are these powerful ingredients affecting the health of you, your colleagues and the environment?
If you want your office to be clean, green and healthy, this blog is for you…
The journey of dirt and the cleaning paradox
Have you ever wondered what happens to all that dirt you attack with sprays, bleaches and detergents? It never really disappears, it just moves from one place to another. What makes one area clean makes another dirty. This is what those in the industry call the ‘cleaning paradox’.
Think about those sparkling dishes and the dirty sink water left behind. When you pull the plug, all that dirt goes down the drain, ending up in a sewer or septic tank system before finding its way into streams and oceans.
In itself, this isn’t so bad. It’s the cleaning products that we add to the dirty water that have the most harm.
Cleaning ingredients under the microscope
For all the harmful, toxic chemicals you find inside the average cleaning product, health and safety regulations are surprisingly lax. It is thought that more than 80,000 chemicals are in common use in modern cleaners, of which some still have unknown and potentially toxic effects.
The worrying truth is that disinfectants could do more harm than good.
Most conventional cleaning products contain nitrates. When these leech into streams and other bodies of water they cause eutrophication – a process that depletes oxygen, leads to poor water quality and damages or kills aquatic life.
Chlorine, a key ingredient in bleach, has been shown to impair neurological functions and is a dangerous carcinogen. Ironically, if ingested, chlorine could prove to be more harmful than the bacteria it first removed.
Here’s another common culprit: foaming agents. Though they have no effect on cleaning power, they are still widely used in a vast array of cleaners. Unfortunately, they do not biodegrade in sewers and harm aquatic life when they reach the ocean.
Then there are ‘optical brighteners’, the ingredients behind that ‘whiter than white’ laundry. Rather than actively cleaning, they leave trace chemicals that reflect light. The effect is simply an optical illusion and like foam, optical brighteners are persistent chemicals that harm the environment.
So what’s the alternative?
Clean, green and healthy
There are a number of brands that offer environmentally friendly cleaning products. Of the biggest brands out there, Ecover are an industry leader. Unlike conventional cleaning products, their key ingredients break down and biodegrade, so the local environment is not effected with harmful toxins. That’s one of the reasons why they are supported by B-Corporation, the cleaning industry’s equivalent to Fair Trade.
Taking inspiration from the environment, Ecover use natural ingredients in their cleaning formulas. They also look at the whole product journey, from sourcing ingredients to being absorbed back into the environment and everything in between. As part of their commitment to the environment, they run schemes like the Ecover Ocean Plastic Project, fishing plastic waste from the ocean and recycling it to create eco-friendly bottles for their products. And with 46,000 pieces of plastic waste for every square mile of ocean (World Wildlife Fund), we think that’s an important and innovative step to take.
Check out this short video, on the link below.
So next time you source cleaning products for your office or home, spare a second to think about what effects they will have on the world around you. Don’t just settle for a clean workplace, give yourself a clean conscience, too!
If you’re interested in green cleaning, take a look at our latest product range and see how cleanliness really is next to godliness.