The time for Spring cleaning is just around the corner, and I encourage you to consider the ingredients in products you use. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), many ingredients found in common household cleaners are detrimental to your health and the environment. The EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy organization, dedicated to improving public health and the environment. They provide a rating system for cleaning products and ingredients. Using their Guide to Healthy Cleaning, one can obtain information on over 2500 products, and enter specific ingredients as a search term. Products and ingredients are rated A – F based on their impact to health and/or the environment. Reasons behind the ratings are also provided.
By law, companies are not required to list any or all ingredients, only those that are considered to cause immediate harm. Yet some ingredients may become hazardous with repeated exposure. EWG obtains information about products from various sources. These include ingredients listed on product labels and company websites, and from documents companies submit to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration such that employees and custodial professionals are aware of chemical exposures in the workplace.
In reviewing the black owned products in the “Laundry and Cleaning” category of Shop with Leslie, I found a pattern of transparency, and the use of ecologically friendly and healthful products. Let’s start with Karmalades which heralds as providing household cleaners with a conscience. Their Scrubbing Souflee is a “mild abrasive emulsion” that can be used on garments, jewelry, bathtubs, and counter-tops. Their eco-friendly dish washing liquid comes in a variety of scents. Products are packaged in glass to reduce the carbon footprint. Karmalades is also on Etsy where you can find a list of product ingredients.
Naturally Me and You developed a line of natural products in response to a family member’s medical condition. They provide a list of ingredients on the packages of their cleaning products. These include among others automatic dishwasher tabs, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, brush and flush toilet tabs, and all-purpose cleaners.
The Hoot offers a variety of all-natural cleaners (scented and unscented). Products are free of “SLS/SLES,” acronyms used for sodium lauryl sulfate, for which the EWG gives a C rating. Ingredients are listed on bottles, and consist of eco-friendly elements such as citric acid, water, and rosemary extract. Similarly, BLK + GRN and PUR Home offer multipurpose cleaners, and sulfate free dish soaps that are plant based.
Both Loo Hoo and Naturally Me and You offer wool dryer balls, which the EWG puts forth as a more eco-friendly option than fabric softener. For other laundry needs, True Products offers laundry detergent free of SLS and other harsh chemicals. BLK + GRN and PUR Home offer SLS free, plant based laundry detergent, packaged in biodegradable containers. In clearing unwanted goods, consider Freedom Paper Company, whose products include recycled paper goods, and black extra heavy trash liners made from recycled materials. Finally, at ScentBagz you will find a variety of non-aerosol room fresheners, and at Sister Shareefah you will find a powdered carpet and car mat cleanser infused with essential oils.
I hope you find Spring cleaning products to suit your needs. I encourage you to use information in the EWG database to guide your decisions.
Happy Spring cleaning!
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- Environmental Working Group. https://www.ewg.org/
- Environmental Working Group. “Guide to healthy cleaning.” https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners#.Wq3_ZJch2Uk
- Environmental Working Group. “Skip the fabric softeners.” https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2016/05/skip-fabric-softeners#.Wq3_npch2Ul
- Fioravanti, Kayla. “The Household Product Labeling Act of 2009.” https://personalcaretruth.com/2010/05/the-household-product-labeling-act-of-2009/ 26 May, 2010
- Govtrack. “S. 1967 (111th): Household Product Labeling Act of 2009.” https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/s1697
- Murphy, Lauren. “Beverage container showdown: Plastic vs. glass vs. aluminum.” https://earth911.com/living-well-being/recycled-beverage-containers/ 11 August, 2017
- Nelega, Paulina. “Vegetable gycerine.” http://www.naturalwellbeing.com/learning-center/Vegetable_Glycerine/ 15 June, 2012
- Peltier, Karen. “Sodium laureth sulfate overview: What it is, how it’s used, and more.” https://www.thespruce.com/sodium-laureth-sulfate-how-its-used-1707030 2 March, 2018