I have a bit of a confession to make.
I’ve sort of been doing a lot of cleaning lately, and I’ve been ENJOYING it.
I know – weird right?
(Not to mention, probably a little lame.)
But it’s true, you guys. I’ve actually been enjoying giving my apartment one or two of the old sweep cleans.
And no, I’m not becoming a clean freak (at least, not yet).
It’s actually been the discovery of a few ethical and all-natural cleaning products that has got me stoked about pulling on the marigolds.
I’ll talk about those in a moment, but first, I want to say a few things about household cleaning products.
The Thing About Animal Testing
It would probably shock most people to find that their cupboard of household cleaning products had been tested on animals before they made it to their home.
I mean, animal testing was outlawed years ago, right??
The March 2013 EU ban on animal testing prevented thousands of companies from testing on animals for cosmetic purposes. However, there is no such rule for household products.
So not only is cosmetic animal testing STILL being carried out in certain countries where the ban didn’t apply (like China); it’s actually routine, prevalent and LEGAL to test on animals for household cleaning products.
Think of all the mainstream cleaning brands that many of us pick up during our weekly shop. The vast majority of these products are owned by one of a small few giant parent companies who regularly test on animals.
Brands like Reckitt Benckiser (Dettol, Cillit Bang and Harpic); Unilever (Cif); Procter & Gamble (Flash; Fairy; Febreze); SC Johnson (Mr Muscle; Duck)…all these companies are guilty of testing poisonous chemicals on innocent beings. And, in case you’re not familiar, that testing involves force-feeding, forced inhalation, skin absorption or injection.
Testing happens during development of new household products that are really just duplicating older formulations, as well as retesting currently used ingredients.
As you’re probably thinking, this is a pretty weak-ass reason to be putting innocent lives in danger.
And if that’s not a concern for some, then the harmful toxins that find their way into these products just might be.
Toxins in Household Cleaning Products
If our cleaning products were truly safe, why would their ingredients need to be tested on animals for skin irritation, sensitisation, carcinogenicity, and other ugly things?
The truth is that most of the commercial cleaning products contain a cocktail of chemicals that can be harmful to the human body.
Acute, short-term effects of our exposure to these substances include burns, itchy skin, and irritated eyes, node or lungs if inhaled.
However, there are studies that show some chemicals, whilst having no immediate effects on the body, build up in our homes to cause longer-term conditions like allergies, eczema, asthma, and even cancer and hormone disruption.
As you can imagine, this is pretty scary stuff.
One Norwegian study of 5000 women in 2015 found that occupational cleaners had 17% reduced lung function over a 20 year period. Those who only used cleaning products in their home had a 14% reduced function.
Even cancer charities and organisations mention the potential link of cleaning products to cancerous cells in the body, with Breast Cancer UK advising to “use safer cleaning products”.
And that’s just it. There are alternatives out there, meaning we don’t need to put up with this saturation of chemicals.
The Use of Ethical, Natural Cleaning Products
Back in the day, household cleaning products were much simpler, using natural ingredients like white vinegar, lemon juice, and bicarbonate of soda.
Making your own cleaning products is definitely a real option, and many people do live this way.
However, for most people, something they can chuck into their shopping trolley is more preferred.
And the good news is, there are SO many awesome brands right now that are helping save us from chemical-ridden formulations, not to mention save animals from heinous lab testing.
Many of these brands carry the cruelty-free-bunny logo, AND are completely vegan. They use safe, gentle, plant-based derivatives that are easy on the environment, easy on our bodies and have done NO HARM to animals.
When you use them, not only will you enjoy the fresh, natural scents and the gentle (yet super effective) formulation.
You’ll also get a little buzz of endorphins every time you clean, knowing you’re doing something better for your own health, and the planet.
And I should also mention that thanks to the pretty packaging, your cleaning cupboard will eventually look WAY more appealing.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working to replace my usual cleaning brands with their more ethical counterparts. Of course there are still some toxic ones lurking in my cleaning cupboard, but I won’t replace these until they run out.
In the meantime, here are the five ethical cleaning products I’ve been loving lately.
1. Method Kitchen Anti-Bacterial Spray
This spray comes in a couple of different scents. The one I have is the citrus, and ohhh my word, it smells amazing.
Honestly, once you smell this, you’ll actually WANT to wipe down counters at every opportunity. My boyfriend once thought I’d lit a scented candle, it was that good.
Method pride themselves on using “plant-based Power Green technology” to bust nasty bacteria and microbes. And, well, I just might let them.
Where to buy
I get this stuff from my local organic supermarket, LIV. But if you’re not Liverpool-based, you can order from their online parent store, Healthy Supplies. (They deliver to anywhere in the UK!)
Tesco , Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have also been selling Method products for some time. And if any of those options fail, you can always rely on good old Amazon.
2. Ecover Non-Bio Washing Detergent
I’ve been using eCover washing detergent for a while now, as it’s pretty much the only cruelty-free detergent available at our local Asda.
It’s a little pricier than other detergents (which are often discounted). However, it lasts absolutely ages, is wonderfully gentle on clothes and skin, and I like knowing that I’m hitting the big brands where it hurts.
This new one pictured here is a double-strength detergent, meaning I only need to use one capful and the bottle lasts even longer! Plus, it smells amazing.
Where to buy
Ecover can be found at some major supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. As well as this, it can also be ordered online.
3. BioD Glass & Mirror Cleaner
BioD are another great range of products, that includes a furniture and household polishes, sanitisers, laundry detergents and bathroom cleaners. I have their glass & mirror cleaner, which I use in both the bedroom and bathroom, and I love it.
Their name ‘Bio-D’ means ‘biodegradable’, indicating how their products are gentle and from the earth. They also have a wonderful little pep talk on the front of their bottles, which I thought I would show here (above).
Where to buy
You can order Bio-D products straight from the Bio-D website, or from a range of independent supermarkets around the country (just use their interactive map to find a supplier near you).
You can also buy this glass & mirror cleaner from Amazon.
4. Method Bathroom Cleaning Spray
Nobody likes the thought of cleaning a mucky bathroom. But when you’ve got pungent fumes of toxic bathroom cleaners to deal with, it can make it even less pleasant.
The Method bathroom cleaning spray has, certainly for me, taken a lot of the dread out of bathroom cleaning. It’s pretty powerful still – you won’t want to hang around for long – but once the formula has done its job, you’re left with a fresh, ocean scent.
It’s a great all-rounder and can easily remove grime and build-up from showers, sinks, taps and tiles.
5. Ecover Toilet Cleaner
Most formulas for cleaning toilets can be the most toxic yet – I guess we assume they have to be. But Ecover has a much better solution – their all-natural toilet cleaner that leaves things with a minty scent!
It works pretty much how any other toilet cleaner would work. You can clean with it straight away or leave it for a couple of hours to do its work. Then flush.
Have any of you guys tried ethical, natural cleaning products yet? What others do you recommend? Let me know in the comments!
Also big thanks to Charlotte Evans at Naturewatch.org who provided me with information surrounding the Dirty Dozen household products.