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FAQ

HERTEL PRODUCTS VS. HOMEMADE PREPARATIONS

Can I use a homemade preparation (e.g. baking soda and hot water) for cleaning?

Yes, you can. However, homemade cleaning products are generally not as efficient as commercially formulated products, and using them often requires extra effort and time spent cleaning. Commercially formulated products undergo extensive safety and performance tests before they are marketed.

Homemade cleaners may also use more products and more hot water to get the job done than commercially formulated products, which can mean extra costs. For example, cream of tartar, which is sometimes recommended as a metal cleaner, is 12 times more expensive per unit weight than a commercial aluminum cleaner.

In addition, studies have shown that most home recipes have no disinfectant properties. This is particularly important when there are health-related reasons for using an antibacterial household cleaning product, such as on cutting boards that might be contaminated with Salmonella or on a surface that has been in contact with someone who is sick. Only disinfectants approved by Health Canada have been tested for their ability to kill germs.

MIXING PRODUCTS

Can I mix two or more household cleaning products for better results?

Unless specifically indicated on the product label, it is not recommended to mix household cleaning products. Ingredients in cleaning products may cause a chemical reaction that can release harmful or unpleasant substances.

ASTHMA AND ALLERGIES

How can household cleaners help Canadians suffering from allergies or asthma?

Many things can trigger an asthma attack, including common allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, mould, mildew and pollen. Some people get symptoms from only one allergen, while others can be affected by more than one. Household cleaning, as part of an effective allergen management plan, can help control these allergens and is one of the easiest steps in reducing allergies or asthma attacks.

Is Hertel Cherry Almond All Purpose Cleaner dangerous for people with nut allergies?

No, since this product doesn’t contain any almonds. Only artificial scents are used.

ANIMALS

Are Hertel products tested on animals?

It is a long-standing company policy that none of our products are tested on animals under any circumstances.

EXPIRY DATE

Do Hertel products have an expiry date?

Hertel products do not have an expiration date with the exception of those with disinfecting properties since they are registered with Health Canada (Hertel Multi-surface Disinfectant, Hertel Plus, Hertel Bathroom with Bleach, Hertel Cream, Hertel Toilet Bowl and Hertel All Purpose Spray). For those products, an expiry date is written on the web page to guarantee their disinfecting properties.

It should be noted that over a long period of time, most cleaning products can lose some of their initial qualities. When the products are expired, they do not becoming dangerous but simply less effective. For long-lasting cleaning power, always keep your products in a dry place at a moderate temperature.

BIODEGRADABILITY

What is it?

Biodegradability is the ability of a substance to break down by the action of microorganisms; a biodegradable product is less likely to harm the environment.

Although, in absolute terms, this characteristic can apply to most known substances, according to an internationally recognized and accepted standard, a product is only considered biodegradable if it is likely to break down by the action of microorganisms in precise conditions and within a determined period. Certain internationally recognized organizations, such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, have developed and published methods to determine whether a substance can be classified as biodegradable. Therefore, to be considered biodegradable, a substance must have been submitted to a universally recognized method for determining biodegradability and a reference to the method used must accompany the product declaration.

What about Hertel products?

We chose to make the great majority of Hertel products biodegradable according to OECD 301D norms. There are two exceptions: Disinfecting Bathroom cleaner with Bleach and Toilet Bowl cleaner. To ensure their effectiveness, these products contain active ingredients that are not biodegradable according to the current norm.

Hertel products with the “biodegradable” logo on the label have been tested according to this norm by an independent laboratory and have passed all the tests.

Accordingly, Hertel products comply with OECD 301D test norms, which stipulate that a substance is considered biodegradable if 60% of it biodegrades within 28 days. Therefore, this is a fairly reliable indication that complete decomposition is not too far in the future.
Hertel products are biodegradable at a rate of 60% or more within 28 days; this varies from product to product.

Hertel has signed the voluntary code for the optimization of containers, packaging and print materials, an Éco Entreprises Québec initiative.

PHOSPHATE

Why is phosphate harmful to the environment?

When discharged into waterways, common household products containing phosphate represent a danger to marine ecosystems by accelerating the growth of marine plants (blue algae), which consume a great deal of oxygen; this subsequently leads to the disappearance fish and other marine life.

“Cyanobacteria” is the scientific name for blue algae, which form in shallow water that is tepid and calm or still. Blue algae are made up of cells that can generate poisonous toxins (cyanobacteria). A mass of cyanobacteria in water is called a water bloom or sometimes a proliferation, and they generally occur during the hot summer months.

These toxins can be separated into various categories: some of them can affect the liver (hepatotoxins) or the nervous system (neurotoxins), whereas others only irritate the skin.

Do Hertel products contain phosphate?

None of the Hertel cleaning products contain phosphate.

RECYCLABLE CONTAINERS

Are the containers of Hertel products recyclables?

Hertel containers are recyclable.

We have decided to use a completely recyclable container, because we believe that this alternative can help the environment by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill sites.

Instead of using biodegradable plastic, we opted for recyclable containers, which are better suited to the situation in Quebec and for use with household cleaners.

A plastic is considered biodegradable if it breaks down by the action of microorganisms when in contact with oxygen in the air. However, sending biodegradable plastic bottles to landfill sites would not be an ecological approach, since the volume of waste in landfills is too great for the plastic to be in contact with the elements necessary for its decomposition.

In addition, commercially available biodegradable resins carry a risk of reacting with cleaning products, which is not ideal.

Therefore, Lavo Inc. recommends reusing containers for various uses and recycling to promote a healthier environment.

TOXICITY

What is considered a toxic product?

There are many definitions of toxicity. According to Health Canada, a toxic product is a chemical product that is:

  • is capable of causing a lethal effect on a human;
  • is capable of causing a serious and irreversible but non-lethal effect on a human, such as a depressed level of consciousness, muscular weakness or paralysis, acute renal or hepatic failure, arrhythmia, hypotension, dyspnea, respiratory depression, pulmonary edema or optic neuritis; or
  • is identified in Part 1 of the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations (2001) as a Category 1 toxic product.

What about Hertel products?

With this in mind, Hertel products have been formulated to be non-toxic.

Are cleaning products more toxic than the bacteria they are designed to eliminate?

No. All substances in household cleaning products are regulated by Health Canada and Environment Canada under various acts and regulations, and have been proven safe and effective by the manufacturer when used according to the label instructions.

Cleaning and controlling the spread of germs has a beneficial impact on personal and community health.

Disinfectants or antibacterial cleaners, for example, kill bacteria such as Salmonella, which causes gastrointestinal illness, Staphylococcus, which causes skin infections, and Pseudomonas. The Hertel products line features 5 disinfectant products: Hertel Plus and Hertel Bathroom with La Parisienne Bleach, Hertel Cream, Hertel Toilet Bowl cleaner and Hertel All Purpose Spray (Lemon Verbena fragrance). To kill germs you have to apply one of these products and allow them to stand for 10 minutes before rinsing.

SEPTIC TANKS

Are Hertel products safe for septic tanks?

If used as recommended on the label, Hertel products are safe for septic tanks. Usually, products are mixed with water before going into the septic tank. Therefore, the product is considerably diluted and contains a very low concentration that is safe for the bacteria in the septic tank. Also, most Hertel products are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and do not contain phosphate. However, it is not recommended to pour Hertel products directly into the septic tank.