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"Green" house cleaning is commonly defined as using products, equipment, and methods that are safe for human health as well as the environment, while still being effective.

Green cleaning products should be bio-degradable, lack aquatic toxins, have low phosphorous levels, low post-consumer waste in manufacturing, and should be recyclable. Your product might be a low-impact cleaning solution, but did you buy it already diluted? Packaging and transport waste are green no-nos.

To qualify for classification as a green cleaning product, the product's manufacturer must have reason to believe that the products won't pose any significant risk to people or the environment.

However, more and more "green" products and services have been introduced on the market lately, as more consumers become concerned with global warming and the environment. That's great - except when the product or service claims to be green but it really isn't.

Green washing is when companies use exaggerated or inaccurate claims that can't be substantiated with proof. Green washing is on the rise, so much so that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accelerated their time table for reviewing their marketing guidelines for green terms by more than a year. The agency's Green Guides are intended to help marketers avoid making false or misleading environmental marketing claims. Ultimately, this will help consumers make more informed choices for themselves and their families, but in the meantime, we'll try to clear up some confusion.

First, what false "green" cleaning products DO NOT do is establish standards for environmental performance or prescribe testing protocols. Look for green cleaning products with honest environmental claims:

Consumers understand non-toxic claims as promises that the product is not only safe for human health, but also for the environment. Therefore, a product that presents significant risk for humans or the planet would be using this claim falsely.

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