If even one ingredient of a cleaning product is hazardous to people or the environment, then the whole cleaning product is hazardous.

  Cleaning products are more than just the sum of their parts.  Think of the ingredients in a cake. Individually, flour, salt, baking powder, egg, etc. taste nothing like a cake and in fact, most of those ingredients don’t taste good at all alone.  But, put them together in the right order and right ratios and viola!  Cleaning products work the same way.  Manufacturers combine ingredients not only to create effective cleaners but also to minimize potential hazards.  As an example, some ingredients may be irritating to the skin if used alone so manufacturers blend in other ingredients to reduce irritation (like using lemon juice blended with sugar to give the desired lemon flavor without the undesired sour taste).  Consumer product manufacturers consider not only the potential hazards of the individual ingredients but also the complete product recipe and how it is used.  The product label is the best indication of how hazardous a cleaning product is to you, the user.  Read the product label carefully and follow all directions for safe and effective cleaning.

Household cleaners are a leading cause of indoor asthma and allergy attacks.

Many cleaning products are proven to be beneficial in removing common indoor allergens including dust mite and cockroach excrement, mold spores, tobacco smoke, pollen, and pet dander from surfaces.  Regular cleaning using commercially formulated household cleaning products to help minimize indoor asthma and allergy triggers can help manage the symptoms associated with asthma and allergies.  For more information, please visit http://www.cspa.org/public/media/press/cspa_ace_asthma.pdf and http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=24&cont=344.

-Dye and Preservative-Free Cleaners are safer because dyes and preservatives are unnecessary chemical ingredients in cleaning products.

- Dyes play an important role as visual cues that you are using the proper product and/or that the cleaner is in fact not just water, and should not be ingested. Preservatives are used to prevent growth of microbes in the product itself.  As cleaning products become milder to surfaces they also can become “milder” to microbes and may even become food for them.  A cleaning product contaminated with growing microbes can develop off odors and lose its ability to clean as the microbes eat the surfactants and other active components of the cleaning product.  Preservatives are used to protect the cleaning product and ensure it remains effective.

– if you don’t see foam, you don’t have enough detergent to clean.
- if you see foam you have more than enough detergent to clean and you sometimes may have too much. Foam is created by molecules called surfactants. Those molecules love to be at “interfaces” – places where soil and surfaces meet, water and surfaces meet and water and air meet. Those same molecules can’t be two places at once. If they are cleaning up stains and dirt off your dishes or clothes, then some extra ones are needed to create foam with the air. Foam gives you the sense of security that you have enough detergent. However, too much foam can make it hard to rinse or in the case of automatic dishwashers and front loading washing machines – can interfere with the cleaning process.

– A chemical that’s “natural” means it’s safer

– Earthquakes and Chicken Pox are “natural” but would you recommend them? It is not the source of a chemical that makes it safe or unsafe, but the responsible use of it. With many cleaning molecules, it is possible to create the same chemical structure from a plant or from petroleum. Molecules don’t remember where they came from. It is the structure of a chemical that dictates its behavior and properties, not its source.