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The Deal With Eco-Friendly Products: Put to the Test

The Deal With Eco-Friendly Products: Put to the Test

We don’t often stop to think about cancer and other potential bodily harm when we’re out shopping for household items, and if we do have any reservations about purchasing a non-green chemical product, our inner dialogue goes something like this: “I barely use this anyway;” “just this once;” and, “I wear gloves so I’m protected.” Besides, those green and “all-natural” versions are expensive, and they don’t even work as well. Right? The more expensive part may sometimes be true (although worth it in the long run), but the latter is a common misconception. Eco-friendly products are more gentle than their caustic counterparts, so in some cases they may require more use, but there are tons of alternatives to the corrosive chemicals we use around the house that work just as well, if not better. Such as white vinegar – the most amazing all-purpose cleaner with absolutely no harmful qualities.

These things we tell ourselves when purchasing mainstream household products from brand names we deem authoritative, like “I barely use this so it won’t hurt!”, could be dangerous self-talk. Our minds are conditioned by a lifetime of advertising to buy products based on the lowest price and the biggest brands. Logic does not play an immediate role in a snap-decision. Elements such as wording, color, even font, are factors in how and why you are drawn to specific products. “Voted #1 Stain Remover” appeals to our consumer mind much more than a higher priced alternative claiming to be “natural” or “eco-friendly”, which for some reason makes us think it won’t work as well. But we don’t consider the long-term consequences of the harsh products we use at home. And if we stop to rethink our “I barely use this!” excuse, we realize how many products we really do use in actuality, even if many of them are on occasion. Our skepticism on eco-friendly products could very well be the death of us.

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On the bright side, more and more people are starting to shop for green products, and more and more companies are jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon. You don’t necessarily have to go to Whole Foods to find natural products anymore, as even mainstream grocery stores and drugstores are starting to carry them. And big name brands are coming out with more and more green and eco-friendly products. Recently while shopping, I came across one of those new “green” products by a big name brand. It was an eco-friendly water and stain repellent, called Hydro-Lok by Rainguard. I’d never seen it before, and I was curious about its eco-friendly label and whether it really worked. I decided to put this “eco-friendly products are safer and work just as well as any other product” claim I’m making to the test, and single out this product as an example. So, being the detective-at-heart that I am, I tried it out for myself, and researched whether it really lived up to its leaf-decorated “100% Eco-Friendly” label.

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Rainguard Label - Eco-Friendly Products

    With some research, I found out that Hydro-Lok is a single component nano-based superhydrophobic treatment. This basically just means that it’s a water repellent made of fluoropolymers. Fluoropolymers are also known as “super plastics”, which given their name, led me to do some research on them and their safety concerns. What I discovered was that there have been decades of research done on fluoropolymers, and they have been identified as safe by US and international regulatory agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority. Some concerns over PFOA have been raised, which is a chemical used in the manufacture of fluoropolymers, but I found out that it is removed in the final stages of production and studies show that PFOA is non-detectable in products containing fluoropolymers. So it does in fact look as if Hydro-Lok lives up to it’s claim of not containing any harmful solvents. It is also a non-flammable product, and it is breathable. Rather than coming in a pressurized aerosol can as many water and stain repellents do–which have been proven to negatively impact the environment, are dangerous to human health and create hazardous waste–Hydro-Lok comes in a spray bottle. The product page on Rainguard.com states:

    “At Rainguard, we have long adopted strict environmental standards in all the products we make as well as in our everyday operations. None of our products produce volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that exceed the strictest air emission standards in the country – the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Further, we strive to manufacture products which do not contain any known cancer causing chemicals or hazardous by-products. Our products will not harm children or pets, and do not require the use of painting safety equipment or respirators. Over the past year we have moved aggressively to ensure our products meet LEED credit requirements.”

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    Good to know. So now that I trust the safety of the product, I decided to test its dependability. Hydro-Lok recommends its usage on materials and items such as leather, canvas, metal surfaces, patio furniture, wood, boots, gloves, tents and more. After some research I also found out that people have even used it successfully on UGG boots. So I went ahead and tried it on my own UGG boots, a pair of white shoes, a cushion, and a white (faux) leather jacket. Water beaded off and did not stain as promised, and I even tested out ketchup on the white shoes and jacket, which wiped off without a stain. The only item I tried it out on that I wouldn’t personally recommend is cotton clothing. I tested an old sweatshirt–both coats of the product took a very long time to dry, and the ketchup left a stain, although very faint.

    Overall, it was easy to use and worked just as well as other non-eco water and stain repellents I’ve used in the past, most of which came in an aerosol can. Even though aerosol cans are harmful, we often think they work the best because of the fine mist they produce during application, whereas a spray bottle will likely saturate an item and leaves droplets. This was initially worrisome when I thought about the fact this product came in a spray bottle, but in this case saturation was a necessary step in application, and the droplets left behind could be wiped away after drying for 30 minutes. So does this product compare to non-eco-friendly products in terms of dependability? Yes. Is it more expensive than many of its predecessors–yes a little–but was it worth it due to the safety and environmentally-friendly factors? Yes. And the same goes for all of the green and natural products I use at home, such as laundry detergent, dish detergent, disinfectants, shaving cream, toothpaste, etc. Some of them are by green brands like Seventh Generation, others natural or eco-friendly products by big name brands. Even CVS brand sells organic cotton balls and such! I sure do pay a little more for these products most of the time, but my health and the environment are worth it.

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    I make sure I stay aware of the health concerns of anything I buy that will come in contact with my skin or be breathed in, and I’m usually careful not to purchase products that are known to be harmful to the environment. But I don’t think this way a hundred percent of the time. I sometimes catch myself reverting back to old products when the store I’m at doesn’t have a green or natural alternative, or to save money. But as of today I’m going to take a stand and only buy eco-friendly and health-conscious products from now on. Just think if everyone did this–it would be a giant step in the movement towards better health and a greener Earth. And it all starts with one small step–ourselves.

    Featured photo credit: 53/365+1 Mopping/Dave Crosby via flic.kr

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    Chloe Spencer

    Online Marketing Specialist, SEO Expert, Millennial Entrepreneur and Professional Writer and Speaker

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    Last Updated on November 11, 2019

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

    To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

    Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

    1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

    Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

    Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

    To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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    2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

    Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

    If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

    Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

    3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

    Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

    Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

    4. Feed Your Brain

    Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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    This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

    Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

    Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

    5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

    According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

    Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

    Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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    6. Write it Down

    If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

    It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

    You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

    7. Listen to Music

    Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

    8. Visual Concepts

    In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

    Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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    Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

    9. Teach Someone Else

    Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

    Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

    10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

    Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

    So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

    Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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