In 2020, the importance of thorough cleaning increased. Individuals took matters into their own hands, minimizing the spread of COVID-19 by disinfecting their goods. While many consumers became concerned when Clorox supplies dwindled, environmentalists experienced less stress.
Eco-conscious individuals stray away from conventional cleaning products because of their adverse environmental and human health effects. When people engage in green disinfectant methods, they use natural components, minimizing toxic emissions and surface-level pollution. Before exploring the various ways to increase the sustainability of your disinfectant practices, we must assess the ecological challenges with conventional cleaning products.
Ecological Challenges with Cleaning Products
Disinfectants pollute the environment through evaporation and inadequate waste management practices. When individuals leave products out for extended periods without proper containment, they can filter out of a home and into the environment. The cleaning solutions release volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.s) into the air creating air quality challenges.
When V.O.C.s combine with vehicle emissions, they produce ground-level ozone. The reaction reduces regional visibility levels and decreases respiratory health. It also creates the urban heat island effect, raising local temperatures and causing ecosystem alterations.
Increased temperatures can cause water displacement, agricultural limitations, habitat destruction and forced migration. The inadequate product disposal methods also create adverse ecological effects. When disinfectants reach the ocean through runoff and illegal dumping, they produce toxic effects in aquatic species.
Some elements in cleaning products act as endocrine disruptors, limiting the reproductive capabilities of various creatures. Similarly, humans’ long-term exposure to cleaning products causes harmful impacts. Many elements within the products act as carcinogens, increasing a consumer’s risk of cancer.
Individuals can reduce their risk of fatal diseases and marine disturbance by using eco-conscious disinfectant methods. There are various elements around the house you may utilize as do-it-yourself (D.I.Y.) cleaners. Additionally, you can minimize municipal solid waste (M.S.W.), eliminating your single-use bottle and rag use.
Vinegar is a highly acidic solution, which degrades bacteria and viruses. Though the pickling solution is less effective at killing viruses than commercial, bleach-based products, it can significantly increase the safety of your space. One study discovered malt-based cleaning solutions were effective at killing the flu virus germs.
Individuals can combine vinegar with water, placing the mixture in a clean spray bottle. You may spray down counters, walls, knobs and other commonly touched surfaces, minimizing the spread of germs. Additionally, you can reduce your risk of illness by disinfecting your space with alcohol.
Isopropyl is a common household item, mainly appearing in first aid kits. When combined with water, alcohol can denature proteins, killing viruses and bacteria. Individuals can spray the mixture on surfaces in their spaces, letting it rest for nearly ten minutes before wiping away the excess.
Hydrogen peroxide is another disinfectant found in first aid kits, which individuals can utilize as a cleaning agent. The solution is effective at degrading viruses and bacteria in its natural state. Researchers found that conventional 3% hydrogen peroxide can kill 99.9% of the COVID-19 virus.
The solution is active and produces foam when interacting with harmful elements. Its unique properties limit its compatibility with spray bottles. Individuals can easily wipe down surfaces with hydrogen peroxide by placing it in a cup and spreading it with reusable rags.
Another low-impact disinfectant is lemon. The highly acidic juice can effectively minimize the number of viruses and bacteria on surfaces and in drinking water. One study found adding lemon juice to drinking water could increase its safety for consumption in rural regions.
Its disinfectant properties are useful in personal spaces. Though, professionals found lemon juice to be ineffective at killing all harmful elements on cooking surfaces. Individuals can turn to electrostatic sprays when household elements are unable to do the job.
As individuals return to the classroom, it is essential to maximize indoor safety. Electrostatic sprayers can effectively disinfect spaces, minimizing the spread of viruses, bacteria and germs. Professionals electrostatically charge the solution, sticking to surfaces for extended periods while enhancing their cleanliness.
Castile soap is another environmentally safe disinfectant product made from vegetables. Individuals can use the soap to clean all surfaces and even their hands and bodies. They may also place a one-to-one soap to water combination in a reusable spray bottle, distributing the solution around their homes and workplaces, minimizing the spread of illnesses.
Consumers may also increase the eco-consciousness of their cleaning routines by minimizing M.S.W. America throws away nearly a billion trees worth of paper annually, degrading the ecosystem and contributing to landfill pollution. Individuals can reduce their pollution production by utilizing reusable towels.
Reusable Spray Bottles
Additionally, consumers can reduce waste production by using reusable spray bottles. Glass bottles are compatible with all cleaning solutions and minimize decomposition over time. Recycling conventional spray bottles is a challenge because of chemical residue left from V.O.C. products.
Eliminating your use of V.O.C. products and single-use spray bottles can significantly improve your cleaning practice’s sustainability levels. Individuals may also enhance the eco-friendliness of their practices by increasing their general environmental awareness.
Expand Your Awareness
Many commercial cleaning product companies are capitalizing on the eco-consumer movement, using greenwashing to enhance their sales. You can minimize your contribution to environmental degradation by increasing your awareness of the unethical marketing tactic. Instead of purchasing cleaners labeled “natural,” you may look for “non-V.O.C.” products or produce your own eco-friendly disinfecting solutions at home.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief of Momish Magazine and believes in science, that climate change is real, and is doing her part to keep Mother Earth healthy for the future of her four kids.