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Household cleaning products

Home truths

In 2011, the coalition Government took a small step towards ending animal testing of household products and their ingredients by announcing that it was consulting with companies, trade bodies and other interested parties to confirm a working proposal to end animal testing of household products in the UK.  While Naturewatch welcomes any commitment to reduce animal testing, testing of household products is mostly undertaken outside of the UK. Only by adopting an EU-wide ban on animal testing of household cleaning products, and a marketing ban on animal tested cleaning products imported from non-EU countries, will animal testing of household cleaning products end.

However, at the time of writing, it would appear the government is weakening its pledge by considering ending finished product testing only! This will make no meaningful contribution as the vast majority of animal tests are conducted on the ingredients, not the finished products!

EU legislation requires the testing of new chemicals and re-testing of some substances including those produced in bulk quantities. These substances include Optical Brightening Agents (OBA’s) and enzymes in laundry products; anti-microbial cleaning products and air fresheners to name a few.  Rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats and fish are used to test acute toxicity, chronic systemic toxicity, Skin irritation, Sensitisation, Mutagenicity, Carcinogenicity, Reprotoxicity, Teratology. Owing to the very nature of household cleaning products, these tests are often even more intrusive and harmful to the animals involved.

How YOU can help

Buy only cruelty free — Shopping for cruelty free needn’t be difficult, once you know which companies do have ethical non-animal policies in place, and which don’t. The Co-op, Bio-D, M&S and a whole host of other animal friendly companies listed in the Compassionate Shopping Guide, each have fixed cut off date policies and can be used with a clean conscience.

Homemade cleaning quick fixes

It’s possible to make cheap, effective cleaners from basic kitchen cupboard ingredients, and a little elbow grease! Cheap and effective, they make spring cleaning a breeze! So do try these at home

» Here are some for you to try at home [pdf].

Handbook of Homemade Toiletries

If you like making your own products, then you might be interested in our ‘Handbook of Homemade Toiletries’.