Posts Tagged ‘household cleaners to avoid’

Six Household Chemicals to Avoid

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning about early exposure to chemicals during childhood and one of the main sources is household cleaning products.
This article was sent to me via email, and it is too important not to post it here for everyone to see and use. The basic article is very informative information that we all need to consider, and I have added some alternative safe and natural cleaning recipes. For more information on health, natural cleaners, herbal remedies, herbal recipes, and so much more, please check the ‘category’ section of

Here is a list of six household cleaners to avoid and alternatives to detox and safely clean your home.

1. Antibacterial cleaners
It may be safer to take your chances with the germs. These cleaners contain triclosan, a form of dioxin, linked with weakened immune systems, decreased fertility, hormone disruption and birth defects. There is also a danger of triclosan mixing with the city-added chlorine in tap water to form the deadly chlorinated dioxins.

Alternative: Regular soap, which kills 99.4 percent of germs. Antibacterial soap kills 99.6 percent.

Pure soaps, such as the well-known Castile, do not contain synthetic colours, scents or additives and are usually readily available in health and natural product stores. Pure soap is wonderful for basic light cleaning and can be combined with a few drops of any essential oil for an added all natural and safe air-freshener effect. (Recipe for homemade soap in

Sink Scrub: Combine equal amounts of salt and baking soda to make a scrub for your kitchen sink.

All-Purpose Cleanser: Combine 1/2 cup of pure soap, such as Castile, with one gallon of hot water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice.

2. Air fresheners
Air fresheners actually stop you from smelling by coating nasal passages with an oil film or by releasing nerve deadening agents. Not a desirable situation, and something few people are aware of. One main ingredient, formaldehyde, is a well documented carcinogen, causing several different ailments such as allergic reactions, dermatitis, headaches, mucous membrane irritations, joint and chest pain, depression, fatigue, dizziness and immune dysfunction. Another main component, phenol, is known to cause skin eruptions, cold sweats, convulsions, circulatory collapse and in extreme cases, coma.

Alternative: Open the window or use an exhaust fan. (all-natural safe homemade herbal air freshener recipes are available in

Natural Effective Dusting Spray: Combine 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Store in a handy squirt bottle or keep it in a sealed jar. Apply a small amount of this mixture to a soft cloth and use it on your wooden furniture.

3. Dishwasher detergent
Dishwasher detergents are the number one cause of accidental child poisoning. They contain a dry form of highly concentrated chlorine that is poisonous and have been known to produce skin irritations or burns, and cause eye injuries and damage to other mucous membranes. Residue built up on dishes can transfer into your hot meal. (FYI– dry dishwasher detergents contain the same chemicals in TSP, and are effective in cleaning walls before painting. Of course, use the same cautions of rubber gloves and a face mask when using the dishwasher detergent to clean walls, just as is recommended when using brand name TSP)

Alternatives: Buy phosphate and chlorine free detergent.

Salt is a great basic scrub that will give you extra cleaning power. Great for smaller jobs like removing tea stains from the inside of cups or cleaning out the coffee pot. Just fill the pot with ice-cubes, pour in some salt and swirl.

Lemon juice is also a great grease-cutter. When washing your dishes, add it to your water along with a pure soap. Lemon juice is also great for cutting through grease on porcelain and aluminum.

4. Oven cleaners
Among the most dangerous chemicals in households, these cleaners contain sodium hydroxide (a derivative of lye) so corrosive it can eat through the top layer of skin and cause severe tissue damage. (It’s also caustic for eyes and lungs.) These cleaners also contain benzene, toluene, xylene, methanol and ethylbenzene, which are all known carcinogens, damaging to the nervous system and unborn children. Residue can be released as toxic fumes into the air when the oven is heated.

Alternative: Make a scrub of baking soda, salt and water paste.

Glass/Hard Surface Cleaner: Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar with a gallon of water. Soak cloth, ring it out slightly and use on your surface. Keep a clean spare terry towel handy for drying.

5. Carpet and upholstery shampoo
Designed to knock the stain out, they may also take you out as well. The main ingredient, perchlorethylene (the same one used in dry cleaning), is a known carcinogen, damaging to the liver, kidney and the nervous system. Ammonium hydroxide, another ingredient, is corrosive, extremely irritable to eyes, skin and respiratory passages. Fumes are carcinogenic and known to cause dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, loss of appetite and disorientation.

Alternative: Use a mix of baking soda and water. Salt will take out wine or fruit stains. Club soda will remove lighter stains. Baking soda and cornstarch will deodorize.

Fabric Softener: Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to your washer’s final rinse cycle.

6. Toilet, tub and tile bowl cleaners
Highly toxic, bathroom cleaners are a source of many poisonings, particularly since they are used in small, often windowless spaces. Most contain hydrochloric acid (corrosive to skin and eyes, and damages kidneys and liver) or hypochlorite bleach (corrosive to eyes, skin and respiratory tract, and known to cause vomiting and pulmonary edema if inhaled). These cleaners also contain benzene, toluene, xylene, methanol and ethylbenzene, which are all known carcinogens that damage the nervous system and cause birth defects.

The queen of getting it clean, white vinegar, is mildly acidic and disinfecting. You can effectively remove toilet bowl stains with pure vinegar. Dilute it with water to easily remove soap scum. Washing soda or borax is also effective on cleaning tiles.

Baking soda is another effective scrub and a gentler alternative to salt.

Basic Bathroom Tub & Tile Cleaner: Soak a firm bristle brush in a good all-purpose cleaner (see above). Then add baking soda for extra cleaning power. You can also effectively clean tile grout by combining one part water and three parts baking soda to make a scrub.