Fact: You have no idea what chemicals are in your home cleaners.
How do I know? Over 10,500 of you took our home cleaners survey. You entered information on labels for over 15,000 products!
But only 42 per cent of those cleaning products displayed a full list of ingredients. And many of those lists were confusing.
It's not your fault.
Currently, there are no requirements in Canada for manufacturers to disclose all ingredients or warn consumers about chronic health and environmental hazards associated with their products. Yet, 82 per cent of you said ingredients and environmental or health concerns, including fragrance sensitivities, were the most important factors when choosing cleaning products.
So how do you know which dish soap, laundry soap or toilet cleaner is the safest for your family and the fishes?
In a non-toxic world, I believe a home cleaner label should include:
- A third-party certified eco-label, e.g. EcoLogo, Leaping Bunny, Green Seal and/or EcoCert
- Official biodegradability designation, e.g., biodegradable test OECD 301 D or E
- A complete and specific ingredient list with full disclosure of chemical names, including what's in "parfum" or "fragrance"
- Company contact information
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I was relieved that 61 per cent of you said your dish soap had an ingredient list because this is the one home cleaner I've been unable to concoct successfully. (Aside from a handful of soap nuts thrown in a pickle jar and topped up with water, which works surprisingly well!)
In addition to the above criteria, the eco-friendliest store-bought dish soap will also come in a refillable, recyclable container (or, better yet, a recyclable container made from recycled contents) and be more viscous, because too watery means you'll waste more.
See our full list of recommendations to protect your health and the environment from unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals in household cleaners. And, see how your home cleaners rank with EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
Have you found an eco-friendly dish soap that meets these requirements?
Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green