Whitehorse City Council

Green Cleaning

Choosing ‘green’ cleaning products can be difficult. Many products don’t list their ingredients on the packaging. Chemicals in cleaning products can cause a variety of health problems. These include skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer.

If you are trying to use greener cleaning products, try to avoid: 

  • Chlorine or Ammonia, listed as active ingredients 
  • Formaldehyde, Terpenes, Phenols, Chlorine, Organic Mercurials, Balsams, Aluminium Complexes - known to have carcinogenic effects
  • Detergents containing Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEs) - do not degrade completely and are known hormone disruptors
    Detergents containing phosphates - cause algal blooms in water ways

Instead, look for:  

  • Biodegradable to AS4351, or better still, an international standard 
  • Plant-based ingredients, instead of petroleum-based 
  • Concentrated form 
  • Specific ingredient information (such as solvent-free, no petroleum-based ingredients) rather than unregulated 'greenwash' claims (such as natural and eco-friendly)

Green cleaning products can be found in some supermarkets and specialty stores. There are also a number of products in your house already that you can use:

  • Baking soda: non-toxic all-round cleaner, deodoriser, stain remover and fabric softener
  • Vinegar: cuts grease, stops streaking on glass and metals, removes stains and soften water
  • Lemon juice: cuts through grease and removes perspiration and other stains from clothing. This can be used as a bleach alternative
  • Herbs and essential oils: for disinfecting and fragrance
  • Cornstarch: starches clothes, absorbs oil and grease