Why I'm Not Giving Up My Conventional Cleaning Products

Monday, February 16, 2015

In my ongoing quest to have a lighter impact on the earth, I have mostly given up my conventional household cleaning product in favor of eco-friendly alternatives. In almost every case, I don't notice a reduction in cleaning power between the environmentally-sound product and its conventional counterpart. I also believe that many cleaning product are much more powerful than they need to be. However, I haven't give up my conventional cleansers completely because in some instances I believe they are actually a more sustainable choice.

How can a product like chlorine bleach be an earth-friendly choice? Bleach is admittedly bad for the health of our waterways and aquatic life. However, a little bit of bleach can go a long way, and if using a small amount of bleach helps me to preserve an item and keep it out of the landfill, then I consider that a significant argument for using it.

For example, I have had the same plastic shower curtain liner for 5+ years. I believe most people replace theirs far more often, but I've been able to keep mine looking new by occasionally spritzing it with a solution of one part chlorine bleach and five parts water, which immediately eliminates any mildew. Likewise, I occasionally bleach my cutting boards to combat hard-to-remove stains. Using this small amount of bleach to reduce my consumption of plastic is worthwhile.

I also keep a stash of specialty cleaners and home care products that I use a few times a year, and will continue to use. Metal polish, wood polish/conditioner and leather conditioner are not always gentle, chemical-free formulations, but when I use them, they are helping to preserve the life of objects I hope to own for decades to come. So, from now on, I won't feel guilty about the jug of bleach lurking amongst all my more virtuous cleansers; it has its place in my sustainable lifestyle.

What about you? Are there a few non-eco products you won't give up? I'd love to hear what products you have decided are worth their negative environmental impact.


Lulu said...

I stopped buying bleach years ago for the same reason. But you are right, the plus outweighs the negative. I will go to the store to buy bleach now instead of a new shower curtain.


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