6 Harmful Chemicals in Your Commercial All-Purpose Cleaner

All-Purpose Cleaner Chemicals

When we grab for our all-purpose cleaner to clean up a mess, most of us never consider that the chemicals in the spray may be causing more harm than good. Conventional all-purpose cleaners may get rid of the mess, but they leave behind toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health and the environment.

Conventional cleaners fail to get the job done without harm

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) routinely evaluates and rates cleaning products. Its analysis of hundreds of all-purpose cleaners found that more than 60 percent of them earn a D or F rating—yikes!

Cleaning product companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their products because the government considers chemical compounds trade secrets. Some companies disclose a limited list of ingredients, while others make it impossible to find data on their products.

Six of the worst offenders

The EWG’s latest analysis found 75 percent of cleaning products contained chemicals that cause respiratory irritation and distress. All-purpose sprays were the major offenders of this group. Other products contained chemicals linked to cancer.

Here’s a list of the most common harmful chemicals in your conventional cleaning products.

Benzene Exposure to benzene can cause dizziness, irregular heartbeat, eye and skin irritation, and a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia.
Disinfectants Ethanolamine and quaternary ammonium compounds are common disinfectants and can trigger and even cause new cases of asthma.
Formaldehyde A common chemical in cleaners and detergents, formaldehyde is linked to cancer, irritation of the eyes, nose, and skin, asthma, and COPD.
Fragrance Chemically, the word “fragrance” in an ingredient list can mean anything. Studies have linked fragrances to allergies, immune system effects, and respiratory irritation.
Solvents The solvent 2-butoxyethanol is an ingredient found in all-purpose sprays, including some “green” sprays, and can cause damage to red blood cells and eye irritation.
Surfactants Alcohol ethoxylate surfactants are banned in the EU for their poor health effects, but not in the United States.


A better choice for a greener clean

Fortunately, you have better options for an all-purpose cleaner. Environmentally friendly, all-natural sprays powerfully clean up your worst messes without hazardous chemicals. My Earth’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner uses thymol and citric acid, two plant-derived, all-natural ingredients that will wipe out your mess without making you and your employees sick.

To learn more about the hazardous chemicals in your commercial cleaner or to switch to a greener clean, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance


EWG All-Purpose Cleaners

EWG Spring 2016 Update

Organic Authority

4 of Your Favorite Restaurant Cleaners Revealed … and 4 Healthier, Greener Cleaning Alternatives

Restaurant cleanersCleaning products touch every surface of your restaurant, including the plates, glasses, and flatware you serve food on. It’s important that the products you use don’t pose health hazards to you, your guests, and your employees.

We’ve been trained by the cleaning product industry that effective cleaning is only possible with harsh chemicals. It simply isn’t true. Many powerful commercial cleaning products on the market today are derived from natural ingredients. They’re also cost-effective. Here are four of your favorite restaurant cleaners and four healthier, greener alternatives to consider.

  1. All-Purpose Cleaner

Crumbs, spills, grime, dirt: Your all-purpose cleaner handles it all. But if there’s bleach in your cleaner, it could be doing more harm than good. Sodium hypochlorite is a popular form of bleach. It gets an F rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for its effects on human health and the environment. Sodium hypochlorite can trigger asthma in sensitive people and is highly irritating to the skin and eyes. It’s found in many products, including Lysol Professional All-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach.

The active ingredients in natural all-purpose cleaners are derived from plants. Citric acid, for example, is derived from citrus fruits. Thymol, another disinfectant, comes from the thyme plant. Earth’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner’s active ingredients are citric acid and thymol.

  1. Dishwashing Detergent

When you serve food, you get dirty dishes. Lots of them. They’re handled by your chefs, servers, guests, and dishwashers. With dishes passing through so many hands, it’s vitally important that your dishwashing detergent be effective and non-hazardous.

Antibacterial properties and a pleasing odor may be at the top of your list when shopping for dishwashing detergent. The popular antibacterial chemical, triclosan, is a known health and environmental hazard. It’s found in many dishwashing detergents, including Joy Ultra, which gets a D rating from EWG. Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their fragrances, many of which are harmful.

Not all effective detergents contain triclosan and other harmful chemicals, though. BioKleen Dish Liquid receives an A rating from EWG. Its all-natural ingredients pose a low health risk to humans and are easy on the environment, too.

  1. Floor & Surface Cleaner

Often, restaurants use separate, tough-acting cleaners to disinfect and sanitize floors and surfaces. Tough-acting is often marketing code for hazardous. Clorox Disinfecting Floor & Surface Cleaner’s known ingredients, for example, are both D-rated with EWG, giving the product a D rating overall. Both known ingredients cause respiratory irritation.

Healthy floor and surface cleaners contain natural—often plant-derived—ingredients to powerfully clean your floors and surfaces. Instead of Clorox, try Earth’s Natural All-Clean.

  1. Degreaser

Let’s face it—when you cook, things get greasy. Degreasers clean grill hoods, grease traps, and slimy, greasy areas around the stove and griddle with powerful solvents.

Conventional degreasers contain one or more hazardous chemicals. Despite its name, Simple Green Heavy Duty Cleaner and Degreaser isn’t so green. It gets an F rating from EWG, mostly due to the didecyldimethylammonium chloride, which causes moderate to severe skin irritation.

Fortunately, safe, natural ingredients can also powerfully dissolve grease and grime. Earth’s Natural Sewer Degreaser contains limonene, which naturally occurs in the rinds of citrus fruits.

You don’t need to bring out the haz-mat suits to effectively clean your restaurant. To learn more about your all-natural, healthy, and environmentally friendly options, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Common Workplace Chemical Hazards and How to Prevent Them

warning-icons-variations-set-1164088-639x579The kids are back at school and you’re finally back on a normal work schedule after the stress (and fun!) of the summer. Take a moment every day this week to notice any strange health conditions—a headache that won’t go away, a strange cough that comes out of nowhere, or itchy, red eyes. The chemicals at your workplace could be the culprits.

Toxic chemicals are found all over the American office. They’re in conventional cleaning products, office supplies, the toner in the office printer, and even in the carpet and office furniture. Harmful chemicals can cause skin and eye irritation and burns on the skin. Chemical vapors may cause respiratory irritation, including coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

Preventing Health Effects from Toxins

Don’t be discouraged by the prevalence of toxins in the workplace—instead, take action to prevent your exposure to them. The easiest way to avoid harmful chemicals is avoid bringing them into the office in the first place. This is easy if you are the primary decision-maker at your business. If you’re not, you may need to educate your boss on why getting rid of toxic chemicals is important.

Replace conventional cleaning products with products with plant-based active ingredients such as thymol and citric acid. If you’re unable to find an all-natural alternative to a conventional cleaner, make sure you are reading all the labels on your conventional cleaner and following the instructions to the T.

If you’re replacing old carpet or furniture, work with a designer to find products that are eco-friendly and made with little or no volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Products made with these chemicals give off vapors that can cause respiratory irritation.

Controlling Chemical Hazards in the Office

One of the best ways to ensure a healthier workplace is to take measures to improve air quality. Get your air quality tested so you know what contaminants exist, then take steps to filter the air. Create a system to control access to hazardous chemicals. Educate your employees on healthy habits to improve their overall health and prevent the spread of disease at the workplace.

The easiest way to avoid the harmful effects of toxic chemicals is to reduce or eliminate them from your workplace. For more information on all-natural commercial cleaning products or to order a DIY air quality testing kit, contact me today!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Differentiate Yourself from Your Competition by Going Green

Does your gym use green cleaning products?One of the biggest challenges in a competitive industry is defining what separates you from the rest of the pack. It can be difficult to uncover the unique benefits or features they offer their clients. Often, these differentiators come from unexpected places. They can even be found in the products you keep in your cleaning supply cabinet.

A Not-So-Green Scenario

Take a moment to imagine that you’re working out at your favorite gym. You just finished a circuit on the weight machines and worked up quite a sweat. You need to wipe down the equipment you used. You grab the spray bottle of disinfectant and a paper towel. You’re not sure what’s in the bottle, but you smell bleach, despite the strong floral fragrance that fills the air.

The disinfectant leaves a slight film on the vinyl, but you figure it must be better than leaving your sweat behind. You toss the paper towel in the trashcan on your way to the locker room. In a few minutes, another gym goer takes your spot on the weight machine circuit. In shorts and a yoga top, her skin comes into contact with the vinyl you just wiped down. The cloud of fragrance still lingers as she huffs through her workout. Later, she wonders why her eyes are watering and where her headache came from. Must be pollen in the air, she thinks. She doesn’t realize these are common side effects of the chemicals in conventional cleaning products.

A Green Scenario

Now, imagine you’re at your favorite gym and just finished your weight machine circuit. But instead of grabbing a spray bottle full of bleach and other harmful chemicals, you grab a bottle of an all-natural disinfecting product. Its fresh citrus scent isn’t just for show. It comes from citrus fruit and thyme, both powerful disinfectants and deodorizers. You wipe down the vinyl with a paper towel, which you then toss into a bin marked “compost only.” When the next gym goer takes a seat at the machine, she barely notices the citrus smell. Her head and eyes stay clear.

If Your Company’s Gone Green, Promote It

Most people don’t think about the products their fitness centers, boarding kennels, or even their own workplaces use to clean equipment. But with a little education, companies that use green products can turn this choice into a competitive advantage. More than half of surveyed consumers say they would pay more—sometimes significantly more—for a product that is environmentally friendly.

So how do you get the word out about your sustainable choices? Add verbiage to your print and online advertising that alerts readers and users to your use of green products. Include a page on your website explaining your commitment to sustainability. Add special signage at your business to show customers you’re concerned about their safety and the environment. Hold sustainability events to educate your customers about how to find and use natural cleaning products.

The products you stock your supply cabinet with can set you apart from your competition. For more information on switching your conventional cleaning products to natural ones, contact me today!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Workplace Indoor Air Quality: Is It Time to Get Fresh at Work?

Are cleaning chemicals polluting the air at your workplace?With the high pollen count we Minnesotans are experiencing, outdoor air quality is likely at the top of your mind. Itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose are signs the air contains irritants. Many seasonal allergy sufferers find relief once they get inside.

But for many people, allergy symptoms arise once they walk through their workplace doors. The quality of indoor air can have similar and even more severe health effects than outdoor air.

An Urgent Environmental Risk

If you’re like most business owners, you spend at least 40 hours a week inside your office, studio, showroom, gym, and other workspace. That adds up to 2,000 hours a year—if you’re lucky enough to get two weeks of vacation.

With so many hours spent indoors at work, you want the air you breathe there to be healthy. But the EPA considers indoor air quality one of the “most urgent” risks to your health. Many factors contribute to the quality of the air inside a commercial building, including:

  • the general design and maintenance of the building
  • the maintenance of the HVAC system
  • poor quality of re-circulated air
  • the variety of activities that occur within the building
  • overcrowding
  • moisture
  • radon
  • outside air pollutants making their way inside
  • chemicals in conventional cleaning and disinfecting supplies, including aerosols

When just one of these factors reduces the quality of the air in your workplace, you can start to experience health effects. Symptoms of poor indoor air quality mimic those of the common cold, stress, flu, and allergies. The difference, however, is that the symptoms go away once you leave work.

Maintaining Good Indoor Air Quality

Unless you own your commercial building, improving some of these factors may be out of your hands. However, there are things you and your employees can do to ensure the air you all breathe is healthy. The first step is to test the air quality with a DIY testing kit. It will identify the pollutants in your air so you can make a plan to improve it.

If you’re using conventional commercial cleaning supplies, your air likely contains all the toxins and chemicals found in those cleaners. Simply replacing these cleaners with non-toxic, natural choices will eliminate these pollutants from your air.

If you feel sick every time you’re at the office, you’re not allergic to work. The quality of the air is affecting your health. To learn more about how to improve the quality of the air at your workplace, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance