Natural Vs Chemical Cleaning Products - Which is Best?


Woman filling her bottle from dispensers with natural biodegradable household products such as detergents, shampoo, soap, conditioner.

Natural versus chemical cleaning products is a contentious topic. Everyone wants a surface to be sanitised and safe, but you don’t want to compromise the health of the cleaner or the environment. Natural and chemical cleaners all have their place.

Benefits of Natural Cleaners

Consumers have turned away from chemical cleaning products aiming to keep themselves and the environment safe. 
Natural cleaners are ideal for households where one or more occupants have an allergy or sensitivity to chemicals. Smelling chemicals can irritate the respiratory system and cause asthma in some people.   
A natural cleaning product is also less likely to harm the environment when washed down the sink or flushed down the toilet. Our waterways are sensitive, so we should be conscious of what chemical products go down them.  

Do Natural Cleaners Kill Germs?

Vinegar is one of the most widely used natural cleaners because of its antimicrobial properties, which can cut through dirt, grease, and grime. Most vinegars have between 4% and 7% acetic acid, but some white vinegar varieties are as high as 20% and are only suitable for cleaning, not ingesting. But just because a cleaner is natural, it doesn’t mean it’s suitable for use on every surface. Vinegar shouldn’t be used to clean granite, marble, stone, cast iron products and hardwood floors – all popular surfaces in kitchens.

Baking soda is often used with vinegar, or sprinkled on a damp sponge, as a multi-surface cleaner. Washing soda is another multi-purpose cleaner and suitable as a degreaser. Lemon is a popular natural product used to clean a range of surfaces. These non-toxic products were used to clean before commercial cleaning products were available. While natural cleaners will move the dirt and grime, they are often not as effective as chemical cleaners in sanitising surfaces.      

Commercial Green Cleaners

Between the natural cleaners and commercial cleaning chemicals debate, green cleaners are found. These aren’t chemical-free but contain less harsh illness-inducing ingredients.
Green cleaners are quick and easy for consumers to use and effective against grime and bacteria. Moreover, these products may be labelled as ‘green’ to attract consumers willing to pay more for a product that is less harmful to humans and the environment. However, there is minimal regulation about labelling a product as 'green'. One study found fragranced consumer cleaning products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which included some labelled as ‘green’, ‘natural’, or ‘organic’.

Benefits of Commercial Cleaning Chemicals

Most natural cleaners aren’t ideal for commercial settings. High-traffic locations and high-risk settings require a heavy-duty cleaning product to be effective against bacteria and viruses. Commercial chemical cleaners are generally more effective and efficient than natural cleaners. 

Speed of Cleaning

When cleaning hundreds of surfaces in large commercial areas, a product that’s going to work fast is required. In low-risk settings, a quick spray and wipe will allow cleaning staff to get through the job in a limited time. 

Effective Disinfecting

Some settings require hospital-grade disinfectant cleaners. These healthcare settings include doctor and dentist surgeries, aged care centres, and hospitals. Without an effective disinfectant, these locations can see an outbreak of a potentially deadly virus or bacteria that spreads to other patients, residents or visitors. Many commercial cleaning products are lab tested to be effective against 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. Few natural cleaners can make the same claim. High-risk settings must use products proven to work to avoid compromising the lives of residents, patients, and workers. 

For traditional disinfectants to work, they need a two-step system of cleaning the surface before disinfecting. It means cleaning with a detergent and then disinfecting with a chlorine-based product. But chlorine isn’t effective if it comes into contact with traces of detergent. After cleaning with detergent, the surface needs to be wiped with clean, fresh water and dried, before applying the chlorine-based disinfectant to the detergent-free surface. 

Safe Industrial Cleaning Chemicals

Safe industrial cleaning chemical products must be used to comply with worker health and safety concerns. Industry has demanded the availability of cleaning chemicals that are effective but still safe to use. An effective chemical cleaner for industrial use, won't necessarily be harmful to the person handling the substance.

The industry has constantly been formulating safe and quick to use products, and curating best practices in different areas. Even healthcare and food preparation organisations that need to be disinfected no longer need a 2 or 3-step cleaning process.   

Chlor-Clean is an all-in-one hospital grade cleaner and disinfectant that reduces the cleaning time while still being effective. Chlor-Clean is supplied in tablet form. Each tablet is dissolved in a one litre bottle of water. The reduced packaging makes it a greener product than most. Cleaning staff using Chlor-Clean won't endure the heavy chlorine smell and nasty chemicals. Hospitals around Australia are switching to Chlor-Clean as an efficient, effective cleaner.

If your organisation needs information on the effective disinfectant products for the healthcare industry, call Helix Solutions on 1300 29 32 32 or contact us online.
For more information about the hospital grade Chlor-Clean or Green Drain, call us on 1300 29 32 32 or contact us online.