One of the main reasons we started elmkind is because we never really knew what was actually in the cleaning products we were previously using in our home, although they were labelled 'eco-friendly' there is no way of checking how 'eco-friendly' something is when they don't list out the exact ingredients, and we found this super frustrating. The regulations aren't currently strict enough when it comes to labelling ingredients in cleaning products, as they don't currently require companies to list out all of the ingredients in their products, so it is quite terrifying to think that we do not know what potentially harmful and toxic chemicals we are spraying around our homes, our families, and consequently breathing in on a daily basis.
What is listed on cleaning products?
Under the 'Ingredients' section of a cleaning product you will commonly find words such as 'Fragrance', 'Preservative' and 'Surfactant' stated on them, and as you can tell those words alone are not single ingredients, but more of a bracket to which many ingredients can be hidden under to avoid having to reveal exactly what is in the product.
For example if we look at the word 'Fragrance', what does this mean exactly? When the simple word 'fragrance' is listed on a product this could actually be made up from thousands of different ingredients, including synthetic fragrances and toxic chemicals, so long as the ingredient has been used towards creating that fragrance, it can be categorised under the fragrance umbrella. This means toxic and potentially harmful ingredients don't have to be labelled, so you wouldn't even know if they are present. The same goes for any of the other 'umbrella' like brackets stated above.
What do toxic ingredients do to me exactly?
Some commonly used ingredients such as 'phthalates', 'ammonia' and the confirmed carcinogen 'formaldehyde', to name just a few, have been linked to causing breathing issues such as chronic bronchitis and asthma, as well as many other health issues and diseases including liver and kidney damage, and even cancer.
Let's look at 'phthalates', ingredients that have been classed as 'likely to be carcinogens' but not enough tests have been done yet to prove this. Phthalates are commonly found in air fresheners, dish soap and even toilet paper! (yes this is just as baffling to us too!), phthalates are a family of industrial chemicals often used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and are also commonly used as solvents in cosmetics, cleaning products and other consumer products. Phthalates are potent hormone disruptors linked to reproductive system birth defects in baby boys and have also been linked to damaging the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system at any age.
How do I know if the products I'm using are harmful?
Now we're not saying all cleaning products apart from ours contain harmful chemicals, but if the products you are using aren't stating what ingredients they contain, then this is a bit of a red flag and means there is no way of knowing what is in them.
We would encourage you to check the ingredients of the products you have at home and if their ingredients aren't stated clearly, then question the companies who make them. We need to bring more awareness to the harmful ingredients that are being used, hold companies accountable that aren't using safe ingredients and hopefully regulations will over time follow suit and become stricter, to create a safer environment for us as well as our planet and the animals on it.
With any homecare or selfcare products we personally use, we always think that if the company who makes them are hiding their ingredients, there is likely a reason behind that and what else are they potentially hiding. So we opt for transparency when choosing anything, so you can make the most informed decision of what is right for you.
Thankfully more companies are starting to label their ingredients more clearly and we salute those who do. We are proud to be 100% transparent with all of our ingredients, which can easily be found written in plain English on our products and on our online shop, so you can see for yourself in advance what you are buying and can make an informed choice as to whether they are the type of natural products you want in your home.
Greenwashing - What does 'Eco' mean?
Greenwashing is a serious problem, and for those of you who aren't aware of what this means; it is when companies use buzz words such as 'eco-friendly' or 'natural' to make their products appear to be more ethically sound than they might actually be.
These words aren't regulated and therefore companies can use these types of words without having to provide the evidence to back them up. Which is why we would encourage you to question these claims, find out exactly why they are being stated as 'eco-friendly'. It can help to ask yourself; What ingredients do they use? What packaging are the products being housed in? What exactly makes them an environmentally sound option? This will help you to make better decisions and so you can be sure you aren't using products that are potentially causing harm to you and your family.
We are a big ecosystem at the end of the day and what we use to clean our clothes, sinks, toilets and bathrooms at home is not only affecting the air we breathe within our household but everything around us. The products we use are also being passed on through our water systems, into our rivers and seas, and consequently into the lives of our animals and back around.
“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” - Sir David Attenborough.
Thank you for reading we hope you have enjoyed our latest blog post. If you want to see more and keep up to date with all things elmkind as they land, do subscribe to our mailing list which you can do at the bottom of this page for exclusive deals, latest updates and all things beautiful. - Stay Kind ✌️