• Tim Kraemer

Safe Home Cleaning

In today’s world we are constantly being exposed to environmental toxins. One of the biggest contributors: your very own home. Did you know that many common household cleaners contain toxic ingredients that are linked to cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma and neurotoxicity? Hold the phone, you mean my beloved go-to cleaning product is causing me and my family harm?! Could very well be.


And though manufacturers of these products argue that in small amounts these toxic ingredients are ok, what they don’t know is how much is too much and what kind of combinations you are using. If you routinely clean your home, you are being routinely exposed to these toxins and adding to the overall toxicity level in your body.

The purpose of this blog is not to bash cleaning products out there, but to leave you better informed as to what you are actually using in your home.

Some of the most commonly hidden toxins are below as well as healthier alternatives.

· Triclosan-Found in liquid hand and dish soaps and labeled as antibacterial. Can lead to drug-resistant bacteria.

Alternative: Use a soap with a short list of ingredients, avoiding ones containing triclosan. If you must use hand sanitizer, choose one that is alcohol based.


· 2-Butoxyethanol-Found in multipurpose cleaners. Can cause sore throats and at high levels liver and kidney damage.

Alternative: Use a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils for your multipurpose cleaning.


· Sodium Hydroxide- Found in oven cleaner and drain products. Can cause severe burns and sore throat.

Alternative: Use baking soda paste to clean your oven. As for the drain, try a combination of baking soda and vinegar with hot water.


· Phthalates- Found in fragranced cleaners such as air fresheners and dish soap. Often just labeled as fragrance. Can cause reduced sperm counts.

Alternative: Use fragrance free products. Use essential oils as air fresheners or simply open the windows and get some fresh air. Adding indoor plants to your home can help the quality of air as well.


· Quarternary Ammonium Compounds- Found in fabric softener liquids and sheets as well as cleaners labeled “antibacterial.” Can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Also, can cause contact dermatitis as well as respiratory disorders.

Alternative: If you must use a fabric softener, try vinegar. A mixture of tea-tree oil and vinegar added to a spray bottle with water is a germ killing, all-purpose cleaner. You can add oils such as lavender for scent.


· Perchloroethylene- Found in carpet/upholstery cleaners, spot removers and dry-cleaning products. Can cause neurotoxic symptoms such as dizziness and loss of coordination. Is classified as a possible carcinogen.

Alternative: Try a wet cleaner which is a water-based technology to dry clean clothes rather than chemicals. Undiluted castile soap rubbed on stains before washing is a better method at spot removal.


· Ammonia- Found in polishing agents such as for sinks and jewelry. Also found in glass cleaner. Can cause irritation, especially in those with asthma and other lung conditions. Can lead to asthma as well.

Alternative: Vodka produces a reflective shine on metal and mirrored surfaces. Toothpaste is a great silver polish.


· Chlorine- Found in toilet bowl cleaner, mildew remover, laundry whiteners and tap water. Can cause respiratory irritation as well as thyroid disorders.

Alternative: Use vinegar to clean your toilet. For scrubbing purposes, use baking soda.

There are plenty of “eco-friendly” and “green” cleaning products on the market today. Make sure you do your research, and make sure that the ingredient lists are really what you are looking for. Labels can be misleading, so read up and do product background research if you truly want to know if the product is naturally based.

Happy Safe Household Cleaning.

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