What's behind the terms on a natural product label? Are they safe?

March 07, 2017

We have all been there, you purchase a product to clean with only to find out later that just because it says it is green the ingredients inside to not always match the claims. With a few tips you can start to read a natural product label with more savvy and in turn, make better green product choices. 

How to read your natural cleaning product label 

what does natural mean?

Terms like "green" "natural" and even "organic" are not regulated the same way across food, cleaning and beauty products, if they are even regulated at all. These terms are only the start and even though they are in bold letting on the front of the product, what really matters are the ingredients and integrity of the company making the product. 

"Free From" this list of ingredients not included in a product is a great place to start. You can easily find out if an ingredient you are trying to avoid like BPA, Parabens or SLS is not in the product but again, this too can be confusing. A company may use sodium coco sulfate and list themselves as SLS free even out SLS is commonly found in sodium coco sulfate. You can't stop at what is not included in the ingredients and also look at what is. 

Are all of the ingredients listed? Surprisingly often they are not. The EWG did their 2016 Guide to Healthy Cleaning and about half of all products studied ranked poor for ingredient disclosure. This means that the ingredients inside do not stop at what is listed and the customer is left guessing if it is safe for them or not. Talk about frustrating! 

what is in fragrance?

Fragrance It's easy to assume this means the scent listed on the front of the product but in reality, those synthetic scents can have up to hundreds of ingredients. Fragrance is also where many ingredients are listed where the full health effects are not know. Even when a product says essential oils, it may also list causing you to question what else is really in the product. Our tip, look for products that do not use Fragrance and instead only use pure essential oils for scent. You can see our full line here

what are phthalates?

Phthalates While on the topic of fragrance it is a good time to mention Phthalates. These are often an ingredient in fragrance and are a know endocrine disruptor and are linked to reproductive birth defects. They are also common in vinyl products like your shower curtain, rain gear and even those stylish rain boots. This is just another reason to avoid fragrance in your cleaning and personal care products as it can be unclear if the product is Phthalate free. 

are preservatives safe?

Preservatives It's tempting to have a 5 year shelf like for your cleaning product but do you really need it? Preservatives is a complicated challenge for cleaning products as the company wants to make sure the product is safe to use and free from contaminants, but, these preservatives come at a price and are often irritating or cause allergic reactions. Many of our customers have had reactions in the past to products listed as natural and the cause is often not the ingredients but the preservatives used. Our tip is to look for products that do not need preservatives based on their ingredients and store your products in a cool, dry place. Often under your sink really is a great spot. Also get a products you plan to use up in the next few months to reduce the shelf life needed. Stocking up on a three year supply just means you are consuming more preservatives. 

how much do americans spend on cleaning products?

Ever wonder if you are in the norm? The average american spends about $42 a month on cleaning supplies. Moms who are doing many loads of laundry a week can probably relate. Smaller households may use less. Comment and let us know if you are below, at or above the norm. 

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We created this infographic to help you decode your natural cleaning product label. Share in on Pinterest here. 


infographic how to read a natural product label


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