Natural Cleaning Products vs. Chemical Cleaning Products – What’s the Difference?

If you’re concerned about the excessive use of chemicals in your home, you’re not alone. Consumers worldwide have been shifting toward more eco-friendly, people-friendly products. Whether you have an environmental interest or want to avoid harsh reactions with sensitive skin, you may be looking to change the type of cleaning products you use.

Cleaning products are divided into two main categories—natural cleaners made from plant-based ingredients and conventional cleaners derived from chemicals. What’s the difference? Is one type of cleaner better than the other? Learn more here to help you be a savvy consumer.

What are Natural Cleaning Products?

Natural cleaning products contain no artificially derived ingredients. Instead, they are made from all-natural components, such as polyvinyl alcohol, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, naturally derived surfactants, lemon, and essential oil extracts.

Be aware that not all chemicals are artificial. Many occur naturally, proving that the simple power of nature is all you need to keep your home clean! As a result, it’s important to understand that “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “chemical-free”—it simply means the ingredients come from natural sources.

The term “eco-friendly” is often used interchangeably with “natural,” but the two have subtle differences. Eco-friendly products don’t harm the environment, and while many are all-natural, some contain synthetic chemicals. Such products can still be considered eco-friendly because they are non-toxic.

Natural cleaning products aren’t necessarily organic, either. Organic products aren’t just naturally derived—they also use no synthetic ingredients in the packaging. Be aware that whether a product is organic or not doesn’t impact its cleaning ability, just the production process and overall environmental impact.

Products labelled with the words “natural,” “eco-friendly,” or “organic” should also explain how they qualify for this distinction. If you see no such message on the label, or you run across artificial ingredients, this means you’ve found a phoney manufacturer that doesn’t deserve your business.

What are Chemical Cleaning Products?

Chemical cleaning products are derived from chemical agents designed to clean and disinfect. The goal is to make living and working environments more hygienic. Unfortunately, some of the most common chemical cleaners, disinfectants, and bleaching products are incredibly harmful to your health and the environment. Here’s a breakdown of some common cleaning chemicals and why they’re dangerous:

  • 4 dioxane is a likely human carcinogen, meaning it probably causes cancer. It’s an unwanted byproduct of many detergents, shampoos, and household cleaning products.
  • Phosphates are a common detergent ingredient. They remain in the wastewater and feed algae growing in natural bodies of water, leading to harmful algal blooms.
  • Optical brighteners help make laundry look whiter and brighter, but they aren’t biodegradable. As a result, they pose a risk to aquatic life.
  • Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that commonly off-gases from soaps, shampoos, and cleaning products. The chemical is harmful when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and a high enough exposure rate can cause cancer.
  • Chlorine bleach is a powerful disinfectant, but it releases dangerous VOCs, including chloroform and carbon tetrachloride. It can also produce toxic fumes if mixed with other chemical cleaners.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are found in detergents, stain removers, and disinfectants. They break down into toxic substances that can act as hormone disruptors, threatening the reproductive capacity of birds, fish, and mammals when released into the environment.
  • Benzyl acetate is used in dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener. Unfortunately, it’s also an upper respiratory tract irritant.
  • Ammonium sulphate is commonly used as a cleaning and bleaching agent. It can irritate the nose and throat if inhaled and aggravates the skin and eyes on contact.
  • Dichlorobenzene (DCB) is a VOC off-gassed from slow-dissolving air fresheners and toilet-bowl deodorisers. It also causes lung impairment when inhaled over an extended period.

This is not a comprehensive list. Plenty of other harmful chemicals are used in everyday household cleaners, soaps, and detergents.

Are Natural Cleaning Products Better Than Chemical Cleaning Products?

While not all-natural products are created equal, the best ones offer the same deep, thorough cleaning power you expect from chemically-laden products. But the benefits of using natural cleaners go far beyond the ability to keep your skin, clothing, and surfaces clean. Here are the other reasons to choose natural cleaning products over chemical ones:

  • Fresher indoor air, with a naturally clean scent instead of harsh lingering odours
  • No potentially harmful residue that could irritate your skin and eyes or threaten your health if accidentally inhaled or ingested
  • No environmental impact when you use the product or dispose of the packaging

Natural Cleaning Products from Simple Living Eco

You expect natural cleaning products to be 100% all-natural, but that isn’t always the case. Because there are no regulations around marketing and labelling products as “natural,” some companies deceptively plaster this word—along with “eco-friendly” and “organic”—on their products. They know that natural ingredients appeal to many consumers, and they can get away with using these words on labels, even if the products contain some artificial ingredients.

This practice, known as “greenwashing,” requires you to weed out the real natural cleaning products from the phonies. At Simple Living Eco, you can trust us to deliver on our promises. Our cleaning products are 100% natural, eco-friendly, and organic. Here are the qualities you can expect from every cleaning sheet, stain remover, and sponge we sell:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Biodegradable
  • Free of environmentally harmful chemicals and dyes
  • Zero-waste, recyclable, and plastic-free packaging
  • Low carbon transit footprint
  • No animal testing or animal by-products

If you’re ready to try genuinely all-natural cleaning products for yourself, check out what Simple Living Eco has to offer! Our mission is to use our business as a driving force for change. We aim to make sustainable living accessible to all with products ranging from earth-friendly detergent sheets to natural bleach to compostable sponges. Contact us at 07306209214 with any questions you have, or shop online with us today!