By Kimberley Graham
Cleaning and disinfecting routines (and concerns) may be forever changed during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are wondering how to ensure an effective clean while also disinfecting against (COVID-19) coronavirus.
To help consumers navigate which cleaning and disinfectant products are effective in killing COVID-19, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has compiled a list of over 400 products that have been proven to kill the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Of course, some of the products on the list are chemical-based, which can be more damaging for the environment compared to others. If you prefer to use plant-based and natural cleaning products, you may be interested to know that common household items include baking soda, vinegar, lemons and club soda are not on the list of EPA Approved products as they have not been proven to kill COVID-19. Of course, it is fine to continue to use them as part of your cleaning routine, however they do not provide verified disinfectant capabilities.
Chemical-based cleaning products pollute waterways and can be toxic to people’s health. Whereas, green and plant-based cleaning products offer the possibility of a thorough clean without the harm and risks of chemicals, odors and residue that can be left on surfaces and in the atmosphere. Although, it should be noted, labelling standards are not prescriptive in the United States, in terms of requiring disclosure of all ingredients. Labelling standards only require the active ingredient to be disclosed. This means that a ‘plant-based’, ‘natural’, ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘botanical’ cleaning or disinfectant product may not be made from 100% natural ingredients.
So what are some of the main benefits of using plant-based or more natural cleaning products and disinfectants? Here are a few of the main ones.
Safer for Humans and Animal Health
As already mentioned, natural or plant-based cleaning and disinfectant products are more likely to contain much lower levels of alcohol, ammonia, oxidizers and bleach (chlorine-based), which are toxic for the environment and human health, particularly in high quantities. This is a major reason to choose a cleaning and disinfectant product that is as environmentally friendly as possible. One of the most important reasons for using plant-based cleaning and disinfectant products is the immediate health and well-being of the humans and animals that may enter or inhabit the building or area. Chemical ingredients can cause headaches, allergies or respiratory irritation in some people, especially when used in industrial quantities. Fresh air and surfaces without toxins, residues and chemicals has long been known to be important for overall human and animal health and well-being.
A Fresher and Natural Feeling Environment
Environmentally friendly cleaners and disinfectants often use natural astringents and fresh ingredients, such as lavender and citrus. This has the additional benefit of leaving the entire area smelling fresh and clean. These natural aromas also tap into the natural desire of humans to feel like they are close to nature. One disinfectant on the EPA Approved List of Cleaning Products and Disinfectants is the Benefect Botanical Daily Cleaner Disinfectant Spray which uses the active ingredient Thymol. Thymol is derived from herb Thyme and is also known to kill 99.9% of all germs.
Less Streaking on Delicate Surfaces and Improved Air Quality
Natural ingredients often leave less streaks on surfaces and are not as harsh on delicate surfaces. When the cleaning products are natural, they will be less likely to act as corrosive or delicate and porous surfaces. Less wear and tear ultimately keeps furniture and surfaces in better quality for longer and saves money in the long term. A plant-based cleaning product is less likely to contain toxic or chemical residues that get trapped in the air – that then gets recirculated throughout the indoor environment.
Reduce Contamination of Water supply
Often the cleaning process involves using water to clean surfaces in a mix together with the disinfectant or cleaning products. This means that a lot of the chemicals used in commercial products are washed down the drain and contaminate water supplies. When using natural cleaning products there is less, or no, contamination to water supplies. This also avoids toxic chemical entering the natural world, the contamination of soil and ultimately the food chain.
Important Note: When using a cleaning product, always read the label and follow the directions to ensure safe and effective use. Most importantly, never eat, drink, breathe or inject these products into your body or apply directly to your skin as they can cause serious harm. Do not wipe or bathe pets with these products o