This morning, I researched the topic of Green Cleaning Services. I wondered what kinds of products eco-friendly cleaning companies used in people’s homes. In finding one such local company, I learned that their cleaners had been certified in green cleaning. There exists out there a company which offers courses where people can learn the basics of green cleaning at varying levels and come out with the piece of paper to prove it. I may just take such a course. After decades of trying to make conscious, healthy choices, I’m still finding it hard to leap over the marketing claims, third party certifications and greenwashing.
A second maid company, Maid Brigade, developed their own green cleaning certification system. They commissioned green clean advocate Annie B. Bond and launched a web site with videos on how to create a less toxic home. Their logo is tucked up and out of the way, in the upper right corner of the page.
I wondered what products they used to do green cleaning in homes. I mean, how can they call themselves green? How far do they go? Are they as non-toxic as some sensitive people need? What about people who want to use harsh chemicals, too? They’re smart and allow for people to go with bleach and other toxic chemicals but they don’t provide them. But as far as green products? They cite their products are Green Seal approved.
I was curious, eager to find this list of safe, healthy products. Read the Green Seal list for yourself here.
See any products you use? I don’t. I wondered about one of the top green brands that people equate as healthy and having a conscience, Seventh Generation. On their web site, they say they didn’t think Green Seal certification was widely accepted, so they didn’t bother spending the cash to get certified.
So, I went back to the Green Seal list and looked more closely into one of the approved products. It’s called Simple Green Naturals Multi-Surface Care. These are the ingredients found In Simple Green Naturals.
Water, PEG cocomonium chloride & Laureth-6 (coconut & palm), Potassium carbonate (salt), Carboxymethyl inulin (sugar), Potassium hydroxide (mineral), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (palm kernel), Natural scent-blend (lemongrass oil, citrus oils, tonka resin, armoise essence, bois de rose, citral, litsea cubeba, geraniol palmarose, lavender oil, rosemary oil, thyme oil, soybean oil).
Still lots of fragrance in it so it’s out for me and other people who can’t tolerate fragrance, even from essential oils. Dr. Anne Steinemann pointed out how some of the products she’d tested for VOC’s were “natural and organic” and they were the “worst offenders”.
Ok, so Simple Green Naturals made the list. What about Simple Green, their regular “green” cleaner?
Last year, Annie B. Bond, on the Care2 site wrote this about the toxic chemicals in Simple Green and summed up her post with this statement.
Yes, I’d say if you were led to believe that Simple Green was a “green” product then you have been a victim of greenwashing!
Oy veh! I’m getting dizzy.
The bottom line? I am not knocking experts such as Annie Bond, nor the greener companies trying to jump through all that we consumers require them to do. As long as I can muster the grey matter and keep the neurons firing, I’ll stick to looking at ingredients. The marketing is all too confusing and really doesn’t tell me what I need to know. And in its lack of depth or selective focus can be misleading. Third part certification might add some reassurance or be a first step in narrowing products down. However, just because a product doesn’t appear on the Green Seal list doesn’t mean it’s not green or healthy. And my criteria are hard to meet.
What is it about certification? Why is it so compelling? Are we that willing to let others decide for us what’s best for us? On one hand, I wish there were a logo I could find which guaranteed a good choice. On the other, I know we rarely take the time to read the standards and practices for the parties behind the logos/certifications. After one morning of reading about one topic and related certifications, I need to put my brain in a brace.