Toxic Cleaners 2

Don’t you just love the smell of that plug-in air freshener? Or how about the effectiveness of those scrubbing bubbles? Most household cleaning supplies have many common poisonous and toxic chemicals. Of course, it is no surprise that the government does not require cleaning product companies to list most of these toxic chemicals on their labels. No need to fret, all of these cleaning products can be easily replaced with non-toxic DIY versions for a happy and healthy home! Below are just some of the harmful ingredients found in cleaning products as well as simple ways to replace them yourself!

  • Phthalates
    • Found: Dish soap, air fresheners (aerosols/ plugins)….also found in shower curtains, toothbrushes, teething rings, and vinyl flooring
    • Harm: This synthetic chemical reduces sperm counts, disrupts the endocrine system, and is a probable carcinogen. It can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin which is then taken directly to our organs.
    • Replacement: Make your own natural smell good spray by combining 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil, a few Tbsp. of water and a touch of alcohol to help it mix together. Avoid soaps with the word ‘fragrance’ on the label as this usually means phthalates.
  • Chlorine
    • Found: Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whiteners, and city water.
    • Harm: Exposure through fumes and skin can cause respiratory irritation. It is a known thyroid disrupter.
    • Replacement: Use basic white vinegar, baking soda and Borax powder for all your scouring and stain or mildew removing needs.
  • Triclosan
    • Found: Hand soaps and liquid dishwashing detergents that state “antibacterial”. Also found in deodorants, office/school supplies, cosmetics and more.
    • Harm: Possible carcinogen and endocrine disrupter. Interferes with muscle function. Was first registered as a pesticide. Aggressively promotes the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.
    • Replacement: Look for soaps with short ingredient lists and obviously avoid all-together if Triclosan is an ingredient that is listed.
  • Perchloroethylene or “Perc”
    • Found: Dry cleaning solvents, spot removers and carpet/upholstery cleaners.
    • Harm: Through inhalation Percs are neurotoxins and possibly carcinogenic. Known to damage the liver, kidney and nervous system.
    • Replacement: Use a Wet Cleaners service instead of a Dry Cleaners service as they use water based methods to clean your clothes instead of chemical based solvents. Rub undiluted castile soap on to stains before washing.
  • Ammonia
    • Found: Glass cleaners, polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, jewelry, and sinks.
    • Harm: Immediate negative effects which are heightened in individuals with asthma, lung issues, and breathing problems. It can be fatal if swallowed. Can cause blindness and is a known irritant for your skin, lungs, and throat. If mixed with bleach it becomes a poisonous gas.
    • Replacement: Vodka can be used for a streak-free shine and toothpaste is a fantastic silver polish replacement.
  • 2-Butoxyethanol
    • Found: Kitchen, multipurpose, and window cleaners. As well as dry cleaning solvents, paints, and cosmetics.
    • Harm: Sore throats, narcosis, severe liver and kidney damage, and pulmonary edema through inhalation. Should be handled as a carcinogen with extreme caution.
    • Replacement: Use 2-week old newspaper and diluted white vinegar to clean windows. Baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils make eco-friendly, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.
  • “Quats” or Quarternary Ammonium
    • Found: Fabric softener liquids and sheets as well as most household cleaners
    • Harm: Similar to Triclosan, Quats help to breed antibiotic resistant bacteria. They are known skin irritants and healthy people exposed on a regular basis usually develop asthma.
    • Replacement: Using white vinegar in your wash cycle will not only remove static but assist in the removal of soap residue too. Combine 1 Tbsp. of vinegar, a few drops of Tea Tree Oil and water into a spray bottle for an all purpose cleaner and germ killer.

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