Challenges to consumers in choosing cleaning products: Poor performing products and problematic ingredients
The NordQual project, financed by the EU Consumer Programme, is a one-year cooperation between consumer organizations in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden to evaluate household cleaners.
Based on product testing and desk research on 166 household cleaning products, the project identified challenges to consumers in choosing effective products that minimize impacts to health and the environment. One challenge is poor performing products. Some products do not do the cleaning job consumers expect. Another challenge is problematic chemicals where some ingredients can be harmful to health or the environment.
The purpose of this article is to:
- Help consumers to avoid potential risks where legislation is lagging and companies are not taking responsibility.
- Provide industry recommendations to offer healthier and better-quality products.
- Inform policymakers (EU and country level) where the legislation is not adequately protecting consumers and the environment from problematic chemicals.
BACKGROUND: THE NORDQUAL PROJECT
Nordic Consumer Testing of Dual Quality and Misleading Branding Strategies, also called the NordQual project, ran September 2020 to August 2021. The project was a collaboration between the Danish Consumer Council, Kuluttaja-magazine in Finland, the Consumers Union of Finland, and the Swedish Consumers’ Association. The project received financing from the EU Consumer Programme.
Based on market research in each country, the project team determined which products to test. The product categories tested were toilet bowl cleaners, hand dishwashing detergents, and color ...