The Importance of Not Blindly Following Cleaning TrendsTuesday 7th November, 2023
The everyday choices we make affect the health of the environment. Sometimes, those choices are as simple as being conscious about what cleaning products we use.
Whether it's scrubbing your floors or disinfecting your worktops, cleaning is a necessary part of our daily lives. However, the cleaning products we often reach for can not only be harmful to us, but also to the planet. This is especially important in the age of social media, where popular but potentially harmful cleaning trends can spread like wildfire.
Unbloctober has partnered with Flavia Maurri, the Managing Director of The Vegan Cleaning Co, to shed light on the upsides and downsides of popular cleaning trends circulating on social media, the environmental impact of our cleaning habits, and why it's vital to make eco-friendly choices.
What are some of the best and worst social media cleaning trends you have seen? Have any helped you or influenced your methods?
I think the best social media cleaning trend is steam cleaning; it's simple, cheap and effective. You don't need a fancy karcher machine - from personal experience we’ve found that the simple handheld steamers do a fantastic job, with the added bonus that steam is low-toxic and the waste amount is little to none.
The worst cleaning trend I have seen is the trend of using around eight or more cleaning products to clean the inside of a toilet bowl. Around four different types of toilet cleaners, bleach and powder all being mixed together and flushed into the drainage system is just outrageous, unnecessary and dangerous to the person doing it!
Is TikTok a reliable source for cleaning tips? What are its dangers and benefits?
I am not a huge TikTok user; however, I have seen such trends as I mentioned above getting lots of views and likes. I think the current generation of viewers on this platform in particular are very susceptible to being engrossed in these videos and therefore carrying out the activities themselves.
In terms of the negative cleaning videos, if they are posted by somebody that appears to be getting lots of likes, or they’re a well-respected member of the TikTok community, then viewers may see this activity as okay. This is not helpful in educating the public on cleaning safety and disposal of waste.
What are the red flags people should look out for when watching cleaning content on TikTok?
For me, definitely mixing cleaning products together. It’s usually stated on the back of the cleaning products themselves - in some cases, mixing highly toxic cleaning chemicals together could prove lethal to a cleaner carrying out the mixing, and put more unnecessary toxic waste into the environment.
What are the environmental impacts of following a bad cleaning trend?
Simply put, using a mix of different chemicals and cleaning products and flushing them down the toilet or rinsing them down the drain could not only affect your plumbing, but it also causes a huge negative impact on the environment and the animals that live in it when these chemicals end up in lakes and streams.
What challenges do you face when trying to be more eco-friendly?
As a small cleaning business, we promote as many forms of recycling as we can, including soft plastics - this has proven quite difficult with only one centre which accepts soft plastics in our area.
We are constantly educating our clients, friends and family on the effects of using harsh chemicals. We do have sceptics who eventually become our top clients through the love of the results we achieve; however, this can take a lot of time and effort!
What myths do eco-friendly products bring, if any?
That they don't work! It's the most common statement I hear in this business: “Well, do they really work?”
It has taken us many years to develop the right strategy and methods to tackle tougher cleaning jobs, such as black mould and limescale. But with time and knowledge, we have proven to client after client that using eco-friendly cleaning products work if you give them a chance.
Why is it important to choose eco-friendly products?
With many of our clients owning pets and having small children in the home, I think that using eco-friendly products will benefit indoor air quality - compared to conventional shop-bought cleaning products - but also educate the next generation on the benefits of using safer cleaning products.
We can strip cleaning back to basics and eliminate the need for artificial colours, scents and animal testing.
Be mindful of how you clean
As we've learned from Flavia, not all cleaning trends are created equal. While some methods, like steam cleaning, offer a low-impact and effective alternative, others can be hazardous to both human health and the environment. It is essential, now more than ever, to be vigilant about the source and content of the cleaning advice we follow, as misinformation can easily proliferate on TikTok and other social media platforms.
Flavia’s emphasis on using eco-friendly products reminds us that making the switch isn't just about the environment, but also concerns the air quality within our homes and the wellbeing of our families and pets. As we strive to be more environmentally conscious, debunking myths around green cleaning solutions and embracing traditional, tried-and-tested methods can make a significant difference.
The message is clear: always read labels, avoid combining different cleaning chemicals, and, whenever possible, choose eco-friendly products.
Click one of the buttons below to pledge with Unblocktober today and commit to using eco-friendly cleaning products. By doing so, you can help to reduce the toxic waste that enters our waterways.