The list ingredients in cleaning products from laundry detergents to shampoo can seem like a foreign language. Fragrances and other chemical ingredients in our daily cleaning products have been found to cause such symptoms as nausea and difficulty breathing or diagnoses such as asthma or allergies.
The FDA doesn't closely monitor these products, so consumers have to vote with their dollars by requesting and purchasing nontoxic, natural cleaners without the extras. For more ideas on voting with your dollars, visit Big Green Purse.
Label Watch. Avoid cleaners with the following ingredients: petroleum distillates, pthlalates, nenzene, nonylphenol ethoxylates, surfactants, other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), glycol ethers, phosphates, alkyl polyglucocide.
Schedule Smarts. Do not clean just before students, faculty or staff are scheduled to utilize rooms. Give the room time to "breathe" or air out before letting students and staff in the door.
Cap It. Minimize the amount of cleaner used by instructing following manufacturer's recommendations on the packaging.
Air It Out. Make sure there is proper ventilation at cleaning time. Open all windows and doors during and following cleaning to ensure chemical compounds are removed as much as possible. Also, turn off the HVAC system as this can recirculate contaminated air to other indoor spaces.
Natural Options. Find cleaning products that do not contain synthetic ingredients that usually result in adverse effects on the consumer. EcoLogo, Green Seal and Design for the Environment are all environmentally conscious certifying organizations that approve "green" cleaners.