There has been a movement recently to remove harsh chemicals from our homes. Some people even make their own cleaning compounds from simple home ingredients. They believe that if these individual components are safe, when they are mixed together the result must also be safe. A common example is white vinegar and baking soda; baking soda, or sodium hydrogen carbonate is essentially a salt that reacts with the acids found in vinegar. Although combinations of household products can be a great alternative to harsh cleaning chemicals, some food items can have a hazardous result if not mixed in exactly the right proportions.

Others think that staying away from compounds, and rather focusing on elements of the periodic table is the answer. For example, it’s generally understood that silver will not allow bacteria to spread, but if you are wiping down a bacteria-filled surface with a cloth laced with silver, this only means the bacteria will not grow on the cloth itself. It does not mean the existing surface bacteria have been eliminated.

Many years ago, a supplier of mine released a full line of green labelled products, but that’s literally all it was— many cases of the products had the standard black ink labelling replaced with green ink labelling. If you want to truly embrace green cleaning, you must look for the EcoLogo label. This logo has become an international standard for green cleaning for more than twenty years.

In basic paper products, it defines how many raw versus recycled materials are in the final product, how much energy is consumed in its production, and how much waste the production results in. In chemical products, it even measures the possibility of an allergic reaction, should someone breathe in the chemical’s overspray.

We all want clean homes, and we want to know that we are not actively destroying the planet we live on to get them. I urge you to investigate thoroughly any product which claims to be green before using it in your homes. Make sure that you are actually getting the “green” clean you are looking for, and not just green lettering on the bottle.