It’s no secret that off-the-shelf green cleaning products are often more expensive than their conventional counterparts. Sometimes, many times more expensive. Some think it’s all a big conspiracy – that there’s no reason these products have to cost so much and that companies are just profiting off naïve shoppers.
I agree that there’s a conspiracy, but it’s not by green brands.
Well-made, truly healthy cleaners (or any product for that matter) cost more for good reason. For starters, healthier, more natural ingredients cost more upfront than synthetic chemicals. The problem is, we don’t actually know what’s in many cleaning products because labelling laws in Canada and the US don’t require ingredients be disclosed.
Manufacturers recognize that consumers are wanting better ingredients so they make products sound great – “natural”, “organic”, “safe”, “non-toxic”… the problem is these terms don’t have any legal definition. They could mean nothing, or everything.
Because of this lack of clarity, many of us end up getting suckered into spending money on products because we think we’re doing the right thing but really we aren’t. And it’s not our fault that we keep getting greenwashed. Companies want to sell, and they know what gets us to buy.
So, what’s a conscious consumer to do? Here are 2 ways to start you off:
1. Grab my Cheatsheet
If you’ve been buying products you think are healthy or green, but aren’t so sure, be sure to download my “How Healthy Are Your Cleaners” list. I’ve included 12 brands of popular “green” cleaners and let you know whether they’re actually green, or just greenwashing.
2. Try Homemade
If you’re sick of staying on top of which products are good vs not, and want to save some money, then homemade cleaners may be for you… if you’re sceptical just hear me out. I’m a mom of two kids, I run two businesses, and try to make time for fun. I know what busy schedules look like. And I don’t tend to DIY much. But I do make my own cleaners. Here’s why:
I know what goes into them. Baking soda, washing soda, castile soap, soap flakes, vinegar, and water. That’s it.
They’re super easy. With all the ingredients in-hand, I can make 5 products in 5 minutes. Now that’s something even I can fit in.
They work better than a lot of store bought green cleaners. Sure, you may have to adapt if you’re used to Vim and Scrubbing Bubbles, but these cleaners really do work. My favourite is the tub and tile scrub which I also used to clean the grout in my kitchen that is dirtier than I like to admit.
They’re cheap. The cost of the 5 cleaners I make is a fraction of store bought. You can put the money you save towards other healthy products that come at a cost premium but that you can’t (or don’t want to) make yourself.
So there you have it. Two strategies to help you spend your money more wisely on green cleaning products that are truly healthier: 1. Choose the right brands (download my cheatsheet here) or 2. Make your own (grab my recipes here). Which option will you, or do you already, choose? Let me know in the comments!