Non-Toxic House Cleaning Products

Commercial cleaning products are no one’s favorite things to smell. We’ve also been warned that they are potentially harmful to the long-term health of people as well as the environment. But unfortunately, the federal government doesn’t require manufacturers of cleaning products to list their ingredients on labels.

However, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) examined the safety data of over 1000 ingredients used in commercial cleaning products. They found that more than half of these products contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to the lungs (With this in mind, the US National Center for Health Statistics states that 1 in 3 people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or bronchitis). The EWG also found that 1 in 5 of these products have ingredients that can trigger asthma, even in individuals who are healthy.

Along with organic food and skin care, there has been an increasing demand for non-toxic house cleaning products. In this post, I’ll be listing common toxic ingredients and contrasting them with what is in organic cleaning products.

Toxins Commonly Found in Commercial Cleaners Include…

  • Dioxane and Formaldehyde which are carcinogens (known to cause cancer)
  • Perchloroethylene (PERC) which is a carcinogen and neurotoxin
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats) which are known asthma triggers
  • Triclosan and 18 other anti-bacterial compounds which are linked to endocrine disruption and antibiotic resistance
  • Chlorine and Chloroform (found in Chlorine Bleach) which are linked to respiratory and neurological effects and cancer

*Hydrogen peroxide-based products are often recommended for use in place of chlorine-based products

  • 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE, BCEE, or Butyl cellosolve) which is a skin and eye irritant
  • Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether (also DEGME or Methoxydiglycol) which is linked to reproductive health effects
  • Fragrance which may contain hundreds of different chemical compounds, including phthalates (an endocrine disruptor) is an allergy and asthma trigger
  • Ammonia which is a respiratory and skin irritant
  • Borax has been listed by the EU as toxic to human reproductive systems

And in Organic…

Organic cleaning companies, on the other hand, make their products using plant-derived ingredients and essential oils. These products have been shown to work just as well. And as you clean, you and your loved ones can breathe easy while enjoying the light natural scents they leave behind.

*When shopping for “Green” or “Non-toxic” cleaners, look for products that are labeled: petroleum-free, biodegradable, phosphate-free, VOC-free and solvent-free.

Clean and Healthy

With this (pretty scary) information in mind and all the non-toxic cleaning products that are now out, let’s strive not only for clean homes but better health!

4 thoughts on “Non-Toxic House Cleaning Products”

  1. Thank you for this post Emily. More people need to be aware of heavy-duty cleaning products and the risk of using them. Not just for us humans but our pets too who may get exposed to the product.
    There are so many organic products that we can use instead.

  2. Hi there

    What a great article, so informative!

    I am a huge supporter of any products which do not damage the environment – in their manufacture and use! Plus products that are not tested on animals. I recently discovered a whole range of really affordable environmentally friendly products at a local retailer, what a difference they make to not only how my home looks and smells (which is infinitely better) but also to how I feel whilst using them, I can breathe!!! Interestingly, when i was pregnant I had a huge aversion to certain cleaning products, specifically those containing ammonia. Our bodies do know best if we just listen to them.

    Thank you for this website and article.


  3. Every time I do the house cleaning, my asthma flares up and I cough a lot due to the cleaning products.

    I had a feeling that they had harmful things in them but never really thought too much about it. This post has definitely opened my eyes to how harmful these products truly are and I’m going to make it a priority of mine to buy organic from now on for my health.

    Thank you for this post!! Do you have any recommendations for good products to use?

  4. I have done some research into chemical-based commercial cleaners as well as made my own essential oil plant-based household cleaners. I found that the essential oil plant-based household cleaners work just as well as the commercial cleaners.

    You’re right about the toxins. They are really bad and the more you use them the worse you will feel. Not only can they make your family members sick they can make your pets sick too.

    Good post.

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