News Stories

Protect Hawkesbury Water Bodies through Eco Friendly Cleaning

Source: Jacqueline Ball
Archived 16 Oct 2019 - Posted: 17 Aug 2019
Every year, Hawkesbury City Council holds a Chemical Cleanout event. It is a special day when residents get to reduce waste and pollution by safely disposing of any potentially hazardous household chemicals. Household cleaners and solvents are among these hazardous chemicals. In fact, they may be more hazardous than other chemicals because people use them regularly to clean their clothes, homes and when taking showers. You can either reduce your usage of these products, or switch to green cleaning products to protect Hawkesbury’s environment.

Why some cleaning products are hazardous

Cleaning your home is a rewarding experience, but chemicals in cleaning products can find their way into Hawkesbury’s water catchment or river. Phosphates contained in some cleaning products can cause eutrophication, which happens when phosphates and other minerals in water are over enriched. The surest sign of eutrophication is when algae and other plants chock a water body.

While algae in freshwater systems is generally harmless, there are types of algae that produce toxins that are harmful to the human body. Fortunately, the Hawkesbury authorities carefully monitors algae levels in the water catchment and in the Hawkesbury- Nepean River system to ensure it is safe for domestic use. Apart from polluting water bodies, being exposed frequently to these cleaning products can irritate eyes and throat, cause headaches and even lead to cancer.

Essential oils for cleaning

Fortunately, you can both protect your health and the environment by using green or eco-friendly cleaning products. There are green commercial cleaning companies that use these products because they are made using natural ingredients. They do this because they want to protect their client’s health and also the environment. These ingredients include natural essential oils from leaves and bark from trees such as Eucalyptus and other local trees. Eucalyptus trees such as grey gum, forest red gum and scribbly gum can be found all over Hawkesbury, according to Birds in Backyards. 

Essential oils from such trees are used in eco friendly cleaning products for their antiseptic and antibacterial properties. They also deodorize the things you are cleaning, leaving your home smelling fresh. Other ingredients in green cleaning products include lavender, vinegar, lemon myrtle, biodegradable alcohol and purified water.

Vinegar and bicarbonate soda

Vinegar is used as an ingredient in green cleaning products because it has a high acidity level. This means it can help dissolve soap scum, which makes it ideal for kitchen and bathroom cleaning, and it also cuts through grease on cooker tops. You can use it to remove stubborn coffee stains on various surfaces in your home. Since its acidity level is not friendly to microorganisms, it can be used to kill harmful bacteria. When you use it with bicarbonate soda, you kill bacteria and neutralise odours.

Most odours are acidic, and bicarbonate soda is neutral, which means it reacts with odours to neutralise them.It also has abrasive properties that are useful for scrubbing surfaces in the kitchen or in bathrooms. You can buy these ingredients and make your own non-toxic cleaning product, or buy ready-made ones online. Hawkesbury is already working to stop noise pollution and limit pollution in water bodies supplying water to the city, and you can also help with this by using green cleaning products.

It is likely that green cleaning products may be slightly more costly than cleaning products that contain chemicals. However, the fact that they are not hazardous to your health or to the environment is worth the extra cost. 

 
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