What is Greenwashing? Why is it bad?

According to Investopedia, “Greenwashing is conveying a false impression that a company or its products are more environmentally sound than they really are.” Sounds deceiving right? Well it is.

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Have you ever walked through the Target cleaning aisle and saw all the pretty brown and green packaging on cleaners claiming to be “natural.” Well the majority of those cleaners are greenwashed, the packaging is just made to look natural but the cleaner inside is anything but.

Why do companies Greenwash?

Seems like this shouldn’t be a thing, right? Well those companies are seeing the rise in people wanting to purchase safer products for their homes. They don’t want their profit to suffer because of this and therefore they decide to essentially lie about their product to get more people to buy it, hence greenwashing.

So what should I be on the look out for when purchasing natural products?

Well let’s just use an example. One of the most popular “natural” brands at Target (not naming names) has some questionable ingredients. This company has done a lot of greenwashing with their product labels and their advertising.

Dish Soap or Hand Soap

This companies product contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), fragrance, and PEG-5 Cocoate and some other not so good ingredients. First of all Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is going to be in the majority of soaps that you can buy in the stores. SLS is a skin irritant, can cause possible allergic reactions, and has concerns for contamination with some other not so good ingredients. Yikes! If this stuff is going to touch my skin, I don’t want it to be a skin irritant.

Next is fragrance. Did you know that companies don’t have to disclose what chemicals are in their fragrance? It’s just a blanket word so we have no clue what is really in those products. According to Think Dirty, fragrance can cause “possible allergic reactions” and is a “possible carcinogen.” Yes, you read that right…CARCINOGEN! I don’t want that anywhere in my home and especially not in things that are going to touch my skin.

Person washing hands with a lot of bubbles

The third ingredient is PEG-5 Cocoate which is a skin or eye irritant. It was in almost all of this companies products. Once again, I don’t want to use a skin or eye irritant on my skin or around my house.

Multi-surface Cleaners

This same companies multi surface cleaner contains fragrance and PEG-5 Cocoate and some other questionable ingredients. Their countertop spray and other cleaners also contain the same ingredients. It seems counterintuitive to use harmful products to clean your house, right?

So what natural cleaning products should I use instead?

Young Living Thieves household cleaner

In our house we use Young Living’s Thieves Cleaner to clean everything. It comes in a super concentrated bottle and comes out to about $1 a bottle. Thieves products also smell great because they use essential oils instead of fragrance. It also doesn’t contain SLS. We also use other Thieves household products such as their laundry soap and dish soap.

There are also other things you can use to clean. You can use vinegar as a spray to clean your countertops and bathrooms. If you can’t stand the smell you can add essential oils to it to make the smell not as strong. You can also use baking soda and a little water to make a scrub for hard to get off stains and such.

As far as store bought products you really need to watch out for greenwashing. I suggest you take a look at the ingredients before you buy any product. Also I recommend downloading the Think Dirty app on your phone. With this app you can just scan a product and it will show you a score between 1 and 10. You want a product to have a score of about 1-3 because any higher than that and the product becomes questionable.

Another great site to check out when trying to find natural products is the Environmental Working Group or EWG.org. There is so much information on this site about cleaning products, skin products, and pretty much any product you can think of.

I hope you guys found this interesting and as always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me. Living a more natural life is so important for our health and I hope you feel that too! Also be sure to check out The Beginners Guide to Natural Living for more information on using non toxic products in your home.

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