What is Green Cleaning and Why is it Important?

Let’s face it, COVID-19 has had disastrous effects on humans and the death rate is an upsetting figure. Professional and personal lives aren’t the same at the moment and even if we haven’t been directly impacted by the virus, we are still being affected.

If there is one positive to be taken away from all of this, our planet is having a well-needed break from the negative impacts we put on it. Nature is relishing in the empty streets and pollution levels are diminishing. The Himalayas can now be seen in areas of Northern India that haven’t witnessed this view in 30 years!

Reduced numbers of cars on the road and the majority of planes now grounded are doing wonders for our planet. But let’s face it, it probably won’t last long once the pandemic has blown over.

We have witnessed how quickly the world can begin to heal itself so now is the ideal time to start making some changes. No matter how small you think this makes me, it can lead to a positive impact on the world and your attitude can quickly rub off on others.

Now, you probably already know the importance of not leaving appliances on standby, reusing shopping bags and walking or using public transport where possible, but did you know that cleaning products can have a huge significance on the damage we cause to our environment?

GCC Facilities Management recently saw a rise in the demand for cleaning services for London offices, due to the pandemic, but how many of these cleaning companies are using green cleaning? 

Why Are Cleaning Chemicals Bad?

Think about the number of chemicals in a conventional cleaning product, now think if you’d ever want to consume this? The answer is no! There are enough warning labels on bottles to make sure we stay well clear of that error, not to mention nasty toxic smells that come with them.

Whenever we clean our homes or offices, those cleaning products need to end up somewhere and in most cases, this is down your drain. These chemicals end up in water waste plants, while they do make every attempt to remove these, it is an incredibly tricky process and only a small percentage is discarded.

These chemicals are then released into water supplies, many of these contain marine wildlife that spends their time surrounded in this contaminated water. You may want to think again next time you’re enjoying a battered cod or prawn sandwich, you could unknowingly consume toxic chemicals.

Monoethanolamine is a popular ingredient in many conventional cleaners, it is a colourless chemical with a similar smell to ammonia. However, it can have dire consequences to those with asthma or other breathing-related ailments.  

Monoethanolamine can cause inflammation in the lungs and bring on asthma attacks, even if only the smallest amount is present. This is why many schools have banned this substance.

Unfortunately, many commercial cleaners use this in workplaces and those who do suffer an attack often aren’t sure why this has been brought on.

On a larger-scale, we are all aware of the hole in our ozone layer and its contribution to climate change. Climate change affects everybody on the planet and it is becoming increasingly apparent with each decade. 

Your typical household aerosol contains hydrocarbons and compressed gases that have been directly linked to this damage.

How Can You Make The Change?

The simple answer is to be more conscious when shopping for household cleaning products or seeking an environmentally-conscious cleaning company for your workplace.

However, it isn’t always practical for everybody to purchase natural cleaning products. It’s true, they are more expensive, the average cost of a green kitchen cleaner is £2.70 while it’s chemical alternative averages at £1.72.

While the cost may not initially break the bank, this can add up over time and, as you start to replace common household cleaners with environmentally friendly ones, you may start to feel the sting on your bank balance.

Not only is there this worry, but many high-street retailers have been slow on the uptake to stock these products, meaning you often have to order online. Not very practical if you need to clean something immediately!

But not to worry, you’ll be pleased to know you can make household cleaners yourself out of everyday cupboard ingredients. By making your own, you are reducing chemical usage, saving yourself cash and by filling up reusable containers, you are reducing plastic waste. 

Most of the chemical cleaners we purchase are unable to have their packaging recycled due to the strength of the plastic needed to prevent corrosion. 

Vinegar will swiftly become your new best friend, not only does it leave streak-free finishes but it even kills cold and flu viruses! 

If you want a quick and easy all-purpose cleaner, mix equal parts water with white wine vinegar, you can also add roughly ten drops of your favourite essential oil so your home smells fresh instead of vinegar.

White wine vinegar can even get rid of mould and mildew, something even chemical cleaners can struggle with. Mix it with a few drops of tea tree oil and spray on the offending area, rinse after 30 minutes and voila!

The web is full of even more homemade remedies to reduce our impact on the environment and keep ourselves safe and healthy. It may take a bit of getting used to when making this change but will soon become second nature. Hopefully, your new green-thinking will rub off on others and we can convince many more people to make this great change.