Eco-friendly cleaning products: what to look for

It can be difficult to know what labels really mean these days. Here we explain exactly what you should look for when choosing eco-friendly cleaning products.


eco-friendly cleaning products

Key steps

  1. Eco-friendly products are always non-toxic, making them great for use in the home.
  2. Look for eco-packs that aim at reducing their impact on the environment through less packaging.
  3. Look for high concentrate cleaning products which are likely to last you for longer and be more effective. 
Eco-friendly products are both non-toxic and produced in a sustainable way, from the ingredients sourced to the packaging.

What are eco friendly products?

Eco is short for ecological. Ecological and environment are synonymous, so that makes the meaning of ‘eco-friendly’ pretty straightforward: environmentally friendly! You probably already knew that, but the purpose of this article is to explain the difference between eco-friendly and non-toxic products. Products that are non-toxic are not necessarily eco-friendly, but eco-friendly products are always non-toxic, among other things.

Eco-friendly cleaning products are friendly to planet earth in terms of use and impact: they have a low impact on the environment. In general, they also have characteristics that encourage eco-friendly habits like using fewer resources, sustainable ingredients, or recycled ingredients in the packaging. Fortunately, sustainable brands are constantly working toward safety for both the people who use their products, and the environment.

Examples of eco friendly products

Eco friendly cleaning products are safe for the consumer, the environment, and use fewer resources by definition. Here are four elements we look for, and some great examples of brands you may already use:

  1. Greenhouse Gases: Many companies are looking to decrease their ‘footprint’ by improving their production from the ground up. This may include building new factories with modern equipment, reducing employee travel, or reformulating laundry formulas to reduce CO2 emissions.
  2. Water: To decrease the amount of water used in conjunction with using eco friendly cleaning products, brands are working toward more effective laundry products. For example, OMO boasts a formula with easy-rinsing properties so each load of laundry requires less water.
  3. Waste: Even when we dispose of cleaning products safely, we are adding to the amount of waste going into the environment. To minimise this impact as much as possible, look for products packaged in recyclable or reusable parts. Comfort is available in an eco-pack, the smart design of which is based in ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’.
  4. Sustainable Sourcing: In the mass production of eco friendly cleaning products, it’s easy to forget all of the natural ingredients required along the way. Fuel for the trucks, machines, and employees alike adds up quickly. Keep an eye out for a circular symbol of a frog on your products: this signifies the company meets the high standards of the Rainforest Alliance and is positively contributing to the fundamental changes we look for in the eco-friendly cleaning industry.

For a more eco-friendly cleaning alternative, check out this video on how to clean with vinegar:

Eco friendly cleaning

If you already have eco friendly cleaning products at your disposal, you may want to follow these guidelines to ensure you’re having a thoroughly harmless impact on the environment:

  • Purchase high concentration products to help reduce the amount of packaging used – like Comfort Intense.
  • Follow guidelines for use; double the product does not mean double the clean!
  • Read up on to disposal of empty containers, either on the label or an environmentally conscious source you trust.

Once you have the information you need to understand what eco friendly products are and how they impact (or lessen the impact on) the environment, the choice is yours! If you do decide to introduce eco friendly cleaning products to your home, simply check for the right characteristics and follow the instructions on the label for a safe, effective, and eco friendly clean.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here. If you'd like some more tips on how you can clean your home in an eco friendly way, have a look here.

Originally published