From sprayed countertops to wiped windows, cleanliness has become a priority in the everyday home.
While apartments have cleaning checks, a clean house is a manifestation of wealth.
It is common courtesy to clean up before guests arrive, and there is more pressure to have a clean house if the guests are of higher status – whether this be a work boss or a rich neighbor.
Home magazines have pages filled with pristine rooms portrayed as the ideal.
With cleaning a priority, cleaning products are a necessity, and as cleaning products are now ubiquitous, their impact on people and the environment has become clear.
People are choosing environmentally friendly cleaning products because it is healthful to them, others, and the environment.
Cleaning products can be harmful to the user, which is why people are turning towards more eco-friendly options.
The harms of cleaning products can be as benign as eye or throat irritation, while others can cause cancer (American Lung Association, 2019).
Common household cleaners like Windex have Ammonium Hydroxide and Ethanolamine. According to the GHS, Ammonium Hydroxide is harmful if swallowed, causes severe skin burns and eye damage, and is very toxic to aquatic life.
Stated precautions include washing exposed skin thoroughly after handling, avoiding release into the environment, calling poison control if swallowed, and keeping the chemical locked away (LabChem, 2013). Ethanolamine is arguably worse as it targets the liver, heart, and lungs, has oral, inhalation, and dermal toxicity, and is a skin corrosive (Sigma-Aldrich, 2013).
Both chemicals not only are harmful to humans, but they also have extreme effects on aquatic animals, which makes these chemicals an environmental concern as well. Other, more eco-friendly, general household cleaners use natural ingredients to produce the same…
“Attitude All Purpose Eco Cleaner Cleaner Rating. ” EWG Tap Water Database, Environmental
Working Group, 2019, www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/3429-AttitudeAllPurposeEcoCleaner.
“Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals. ” American Lung Association, American Lung Association, 2019, www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html.
“ETHANOLAMINE | Substance. ” EWG Tap Water Database, Environmental Working Group, 2019, www.ewg.org/guides/substances/2073-ETHANOLAMINE.
LabChem, “Ammonium Hydroxide, 28-30% w/w,” 1. 2, 06/26/2013
Sigma-Aldrich; 4. 10; Sigma-Aldrich: Saint Louis MO, 7/2/2013, http://www.uccaribe.edu/research/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ethanolamine. pdf (2/7/2019)
“Windex Advanced Glass & Multi-Surface Cleaner Cleaner Rating. ” EWG Tap Water Database, Environmental
Working Group, 2019, www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/1418-WindexAdvancedGlassMultiSurfaceCleaner.