Chemicals In Cleaners

December 25, 2020 48 mins to read

There are many toxic chemicals found in cleaners and other household products. In fact the United Nations Environmental Programme estimates that approximately 70,000 chemicals are in common use across the world, with 1,000 new chemicals being introduced every year. You come into contact with dozens of these chemicals in a daily basis, with many household cleaners containing these toxic chemicals.

“We all risk becoming a toxic waste dump from the products we use, the foods we eat, and the environment in which we live”

Dr. Mercola
Table of Contents
“The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals”

Everything you put in, on and around your body, has a potential to positively or negatively impact your health, the health of your family and the environment. Your skin and lungs absorb 64%-100% of what they come into contact with. I’m sure allot of people use toxic household cleaning products, without thinking about the detrimental impact it can have on their health. With so many people spending most of their time indoors, and diseases like cancer and auto-immune disorders becoming widespread, you’d think people would put more thought into the toxins they allow in their homes.

Natural household cleaning products are in most cases nearly the same price as the conventional toxic alternatives, and now a days just as readily available (especially with online shopping)…so why aren’t more people using natural cleaning products?

“What you use has an impact even though you’re probably not thinking about it,”

Mendez associate professor in the Department of Biology & Chemistry

There is no Government safety standard for chemicals in cleaners

 “A large number of the chemicals in widest use have not undergone even minimal assessment of potential toxicity”

Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, a leader in children’s environmental health and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine

“In terms of household cleaners, neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market.”

Rebecca Sutton, PhD, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG)
  • There is no government law that is required to label a product a “natural” or “all-natural”.
  • In an OCA report released on March 14, 2008, at least one toxic, cancer-linked chemical was found in over 40 percent of products that call themselves “natural”
  • There is a lack of long-term studies on the detrimental health and environmental impact of many of the toxic chemicals people are exposed to on a daily basis.
  • Many studies that negate the detrimental health effects of some chemicals neglect to factor in how omni-present these chemicals are and how often individuals are exposed to them beyond “safe” parameters.

The toxic body burden of chemicals in cleaners

The toxic body burden (TBB) is the number of chemicals stored in tissues at a given time. Although you may not have an immediate reaction to household cleaners, some toxic chemicals from household cleaners can build up overtime, enough to cause harm that triggers some kind of disease outcome.

Covid and Disinfecting chemicals

Absorption | Skin can absorb chemicals in cleaners

“the skin has no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to organs.”

Alicia Stanton, MD, coauthor of Hormone Harmony
dermal absorption | skin absoprtion

Although the skin is an effective barrier against some contaminates, there are many chemicals that can penetrate the skin, then enter the blood stream and be carried to all parts of the body. The skin on the outside of your body can absorb chemicals. Particularly susceptible areas such as the skin of the lungs, and stomach are ineffective barriers against toxins, and readily absorb anything they come into contact with.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water. It showed that the skin absorbed an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage. Other studies found the face to be several times more permeable than broad body surfaces and an absorption rate of 100% for underarms and genitalia.

Inhalation | Lungs Can absorb chemicals in cleaners Including household cleaners and chemicals you spray

lungs and toxins
Inhaling toxins from householder cleaners regularly, is equal to smoking a pack of cigarettes’ every day

Any time you use a cleaning solution, it emits fumes into the air that you inevitably end up breathing in. These fumes are made up of gaseous chemicals and tiny droplets that mist from the solution. When you breath in these toxic chemicals, it can inflame and injure healthy lung tissue.

Short term effects from using chemical laden household cleaners may seem temporary. You might not realize that cleaning fumes have damaged your lungs until much later in life when it starts to have more obvious effects on your health.

Breathing in even small amounts of fumes over a long period of time, can cause chronic health problems and do permanent damage to your lungs over the long-term.

Studies on Lung effects of chemicals in cleaning products

  • Scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway analyzed data from 6,235 participants in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. The study indicates that cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs from chemicals that are usually unnecessary. 
  • One study from Harvard of more than 55,000 US nurses spanning over thirty years, found a strong correlation between subjects’ use of chemical cleaners and fatal lung diseases like COPD. They found that those who used chemical disinfectants just once per week had a 32% higher risk of developing COPD.
  • A study by the University of Bergen in Norway, tracked 6,000 subjects for twenty years, and found women who regularly used chemical cleaning solutions had poorer respiratory function than those who didn’t; the lung function lost was roughly equivalent to smoking a whole pack of cigarettes every day

Children are especially vulnerable to toxic chemicals in cleaners

“It doesn’t take much to make a child sick…Their small body size and fast metabolism increase their risk of developing significant toxicity from these products.”

pediatrician Eva Love, MD. “

Children’s  nervous, respiratory, reproductive, and immune systems are not fully developed, so their ability to detoxify and excrete toxins differs from that of adults. Children’s bodies have developing cells more susceptible to damage than adult cells which have completed development, including the central nervous system.

“If the use of toxic chemicals is interfering with that development, that could lead to problems with language and cognitive growth.”

Laura Justice, co-author of the study and professor of educational psychology at Ohio State.
  • 51% of human exposures to poison in 2006 involved children under 6 years old Study here
  • “In the US, researchers estimate that 5% of childhood cancer and 30% of childhood asthma are related to chemical exposures.”–Environmental Protection Agency
  • Unintentional ingestion of toxic household chemicals is associated with an annual average of 39 deaths to children under age 5, and an estimated 87,700 children treated in hospital emergency rooms Study here
  • Young children from low-income homes whose mothers use toxic household cleaners were more likely to show delays in language development by age 2 and the children scored lower on a test of cognitive development. These developmental delays were evident even when the researchers took into account factors such as the education and income of mothers, which are also linked to their children’s language and cognitive skills. Study here

Pets | Chemicals in cleaners and household cleaning products, can be toxic for them too

If these products meet pets’ skin, eyes, paw pads, or if they are licked or swallowed they can result in corrosive wounds, chemical blistering, rashes, and severe burns…We also see emergency situations resulting from pets inhaling chemical fumes such as those in harsh aerosolized sprays…avoid products containing ingredients such as bleach, any acids, or oxide/hydroxide ingredients.

Dr. Blutinger (VMD, DACVECC, Critical Care Veterinary Specialist, BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital)

It’s important to keep in mind that much of what is toxic to humans, is in most cases also toxic to dogs and cats. Although humans to have different biology from our furry friends, allot of toxic household cleaning products have caustic chemicals that cause organic damage regardless of weather, its a pet, human or lizard for that matter. The real risk is that many things that may be ok for humans, can still be toxic to dogs and cats such as essential oils.

  • Keep cleaning cabinets secured closed
  • Keep garbage bags and cans lids secured
  • Keep pets out of rooms your cleaning until done
  • Keep windows open to ensure proper ventilation when cleaning

List of some chemicals in cleaners toxic to pets

  • Hydrogen peroxide –  may result in skin irritation and rashes. Ingestion of 3% or more hydrogen peroxide can cause inflammation and ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract in dogs.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) – Used on pet’s skin inappropriately it can cause damage to skin, delay wound healing, etc. It can cause vomiting, disorientation, incoordination, and in severe cases, collapse, respiratory depression and seizures
  • Bleach – Dogs can come into contact with bleach by walking through a puddle on the floor, or a walking over a recently bleach cleaned floor and licking their paws, chewing on a bleach bottle cap, etc. It can cause skin irritation, eye irritation and swelling and tearing of the eyes. Ingestion of high concentrated bleach can result in esophageal burning, stomach lining deterioration, oral ulceration, severe depression, pawing at the mouth, hypersalivation, vomiting or retching, lethargy, and inappetence.  
  • Ammonia – found in disinfecting wipes or sprays, glass cleaners, windows cleaners, polishing agents, and more. It can cause corrosive injury to any tissue it contacts. Acts as a local or systemic irritant. When aerosolized, and even in low concentrations, it can cause eye swelling, tearing, and burning. At high concentrations Ammonia can cause irritation to the throat and lungs, leading to airway inflammation and coughing.
  • Phenols – found in disinfectant sprays and toilet bowl cleaners. Are rapidly absorbed through the skin and extremely corrosive to pets causing incoordination, hypersalivation, and seizures. If inhaled, phenols can cause detrimental injury to the lungs.

List of essential oils that are toxic to dogs and cats

“Humans have six million olfactory receptors, dogs allegedly have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. Its estimated dogs can smell somewhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans”


There a variety of household cleaning products and with the growing popularity of essential oil diffusers, its easy to mistakenly use an essential oil, that is toxic to your pet. Owners of dogs with underlying health conditions such as allergies or asthma should avoid using diffusers. Ensure essential oils are well packaged and kept away from where pets can reach them.

  • A 2012 study described adverse reactions from natural flea products containing essential oils
  • Tea tree oil
  • Pennyroyal – (squawmint) used in products to treat flees
  • Wintergreen oil (contains methyl salicylates aka aspirin)
  • Pine oils – sometimes used in cleaning products
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus–includes lemon and orange oils
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet Birch
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Anise
  • Yarrow
  • Juniper
  • Clove
  • Thyme

Health risks of essential oils that are toxic to pets

  • Skin irritation–e.g. itchiness, burning, sloughing
  • Respiratory irritation–e.g. panting, coughing, wheezing. If your dog has underlying respiratory conditions such as asthma or allergies, certain essential oils can also exacerbate those conditions. 
  • GI upset–e.g. vomiting, diarrhea
  • Other potentially severe, less common symptoms also include gait unsteadiness, depression, lethargy, weakness, ulcers, hypothermia, rear leg paralysis, seizures, 

Alternative essential oils to pet friendly essential oils and best practices

  • Use an essential oil that is safe for dogs See List Here on Essentialoilnerd
  • Dilute oils when using
  • Secure diffusers using mounting tape or adhesive so they wont get knocked over or fall
  • Don’t use diffusers in enclosed spaces or in rooms where dogs or cats may often be

Worst toxic chemicals in cleaners, commonly found in household cleaning products

This is a great Top 18 list of Toxic Cleaning Chemicals by bigbluewaves that includes some chemicals in cleaners not found in this article.

If you want to delve even deeper Here is a more comprehensive list of 100+ known toxic chemicals found in common household cleaning products.


Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body coordinating complex processes like growth, metabolism, and fertility. They can influence the function of the immune system, and even alter behavior…In response to a signal from the brain, hormones are secreted directly into the blood by the glands that produce and store them. These glands make up what is known as the endocrine system. Chemicals that interfere with the function of hormones are therefore known as endocrine disruptors.

 Frontline special

What are Phthalates?

Phthalates (THAL-ates) are chemicals that make plastic soft and flexible. You can’t see, smell, or taste them, but they’re in hundreds of products you use every day and even in the food you eat!

Which products contain Phthalates?

  • Hidden in most scented household cleaning products such as air fresheners and dish soap
  • Disguised as “fragrance” on label (or not listed at all).
  • Automobile upholstery and tops including: steering wheel, dashboard, and gearshift…that “new car smell” is phthalates.
  • Medical tubing, and blood storage bags. Yes DEHP is being pumped directly into the bloodstream of ailing patients.
  • Food like meats and cheese – dairy products, likely from the plastic tubing used to milk cows. Found in most meats (some phthalates are attracted to fat, resulting in high levels in meats and cheeses , although it’s not entirely clear how they are getting in to begin with).
  • Tap water that’s been tainted by industrial waste
  • Fruits and vegetables through the pesticides sprayed on non-organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Also found in: scented candles, insect repellant, most plastic sex toys, detergents, adhesives, modeling clay, plastic wraps, tablecloths, furniture, vinyl flooring, shower curtains, wall papers, garden hoses, inflatable swimming pools, plastic clothing such as raincoats, children’s toys DEP and DBP are used in non-plastic consumer items, fixatives, detergents, lubricating oils, and solvents.
  • Also found in: carpets, paints, glue, insect repellents, time release capsules, soap, shampoo, hair spray, nail polish, deodorants, and perfumes.

Scientific studies on Phthalates

  • DEP was found in 12 of 17 fragrance products tested –Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ 2010 report “Not So Sexy
  • Phthalates DEP and DEHP (which is banned in Europe) found in all eight popular perfumes tested –2007, Consumer Reports
  • DEP is a ubiquitous toxin in the human body, found in 97 percent of Americans tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Linked to Child Obesity according to this long-term health study and more in depth reading Child Obesity Is Linked to Chemicals in Plastics –The New York Times
  • Phthalates passed from mother to fetus through the placenta affect female babies, sometimes resulting in abnormal sexual development —2009 Taiwanese study
  • Boys exposed to high levels of phthalates in the womb demonstrated less masculine behavior than boys exposed to lower levels. —children study
  • Can cause birth defects such as hypospadias, in women exposed to phthalates during pregnancy —environmental health news study
  • DEHP form is found in most plastic wraps and has been associated with liver tumors in rodent studies.
  • Can cause premature breath development in girls —Taiwan study pubmed
  • Increases wait circumference and insulin resistance in males —pubmed article
  • A list of phthalate levels in various food storage products.
  • 60 Minutes segment on whether or not we need to be worried about phthalates.
  • article on phthalates in food.

What are the health risks of Phthalates?

We are all ingesting, inhaling, and absorbing through our skin a significant phthalate load — which quickly moves to our bloodstream.

  • Endocrine disruptor (effects hormones)
  • linked to obesity, liver damage, testicular damage, and cancer
  • Reduces sperm counts in men
  • Aerosol products can also cause migraine and asthma
  • Affects on development in children and fertility in women due to it being an endocrine disruptor

Alternatives to products that contain Phthalates?

Alternatives? Use essential oils! more info on where to find Phthalates at or

  • Aerosol > use essential oils with a plug in scent diffuser
  • Fragrances > Stick to fragrance free organic products
  • Food > Eat only organic, or at least only eat organic fruits and vegetables
  • Food storage > Instead of plastic which may contain harmful chemicals use Glass for food storage containers, stainless steel, or silicone whenever possible.
  • Water > Purchase an affordable reverse osmosis system from Aquasana which are very reliable to filter out phthalates
  • Scented products > Add your own essential oils, to unscented natural products and give them the scent you want
  • Plastics > Avoid PVC plastics
  • Be cautious of second hand toys and household products from garage sales or thrift stores without labels.

2. Perchloroethylene or PERC

What is Perchloroethylene?

Perchloroethylene, also known as perc, is a colorless, nonflammable liquid solvent with a sweet, ether-like odor. In dry cleaning when applied to a material or fabric, PERC helps dissolve greases, oils and waxes without damaging the fabric. In metal manufacturing PERC helps clean and degrease new metal.

What products contain PERC?

  • Dry cleaning solutions, spot removers, carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Health Risks of Perchloroethylene?

  • Neurotoxin (effects nervous system and normal cell function) and EPA classifies perc as a “possible carcinogen” (can cause cancer)

Alternatives to products or services that use PERC?

Take your “dry clean only” to a “wet cleaner” utilizing water-based technology vs chemical solvents. Ask your dry cleaner which method they use, and look for nontoxic brands or rub undiluted castile soap on stains before washing. For my wool blankets I simply wash them on a super short 4 minute gentle cycle using ice cold water, then hang them to dry.

3. Triclosan

“Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment. These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”

What is Triclosan?

Triclosan is a chemical with antibacterial properties (meaning it can kill microorganisms like bacteria).

Which products contain Triclosan?

  • Antibacterial soaps, detergents, carpets, paints, toys, cutting boards, clothes, toothpaste, acne treatments, clarifying cleansers, exfoliating acne treatment gel and deodorants.  
  • Triclosan (or triclocarban) is found in 76% of liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps on the market according to a 2001 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control

Scientific studies on Triclosan?

Health risks of Triclosan?

  • Can disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function study here
  • Possible carcinogen (can cause cancer)
  • Can promote growth of drug resistant bacteria, this means your microbes can develop resistance to antibiotics (if you get sick in the future and need to use anti-biotics they may not work. more info here
  • At low levels triclosan is estrogenic, because at low levels it increases the growth of breast cancer cells that are estrogen-sensitive.
  • Especially at risk are women during Prenatal development, puberty and pregnancy. Triclosan can cause smaller head circumference at birthearly breast development, antibiotic resistance and allergies.
  • The breakdown of triclosan produces more effective hormone disruptors and other harmful compounds.

Alternatives to products that contain Triclosan?

  • Avoid antibacterial products with triclosan for home use. Avoid antibacterial products with triclosan for home use. Use hand sanitizers that are alcohol based, without triclosan.

“triclosan may not add any benefit to removing bacteria compared to regular soap and water”

Environmental Impacts of Triclosan

Triclosan is toxic to algae, which is is essential and produces much of the worlds oxygen…studies have found dangerous concentrations of triclosan in rivers and streams where these algae are present.

  • Over 95% of the uses of Triclosan are in consumer products that are disposed of in residential drains.
  • Triclosan is the most prevalent contaminant not removed by typical wastewater treatment plants. 
  • Triclosan has been found in wastewater, activated sludge, surface water, and sediments. According to a U.S. Geological Survey study of 95 different organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams
  • If a river happens to be a source of irrigation, triclosan could potentially get into our food supply.
  • Triclosan is converted into dioxin- a highly toxic compound, when exposed the sunlight in an aqueous environment.
  • Triclosan can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform, which is listed as a probable human carcinogen.
  • Disrupts hormones in animals. This can hamper normal animal development.
  • Soils with healthy and diverse bacteria tend to be better for plants. However, triclosan can harm these microbial communities
  • Triclosan has been identified as a fish killer based on estuary sediment samples that date back to the 1960s, according to a recent study published in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology.

4. 2-Butoxyethanol

What is 2-Butoxyethanol?

A clear colorless, flammable liquid often used as a solvent.

Which products contain 2-Butoxyethanol?

Window or glass cleaners, most kitchen cleaners and multi-purpose or all purpose spray cleaners. Categorized as a “glycol ether” it’s a powerful solvent. Required by law to be listed on product label.

  • Cleaning at home and / or in confined spaces can lead to d-butoxyethanol levels higher then workplace safety standards.

Health risks of 2-Butoxyethanol?

  • Sore throat
  • At high levels “glycol ethers” can contribute to: narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage
  • Potential to cause serious health issues including reduced fertility, low birth weight and toxic liver metabolites.
  • Regulated by the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants due to its serious health issues.

Alternatives to products that contain 2-Butoxyethanol?

  • Clean mirrors, windows and glass with undiluted or extra strength vinegar cleaner.
  • For heavy duty kitchen tasks use Bon Ami powder (uses natural ingredients such as ground feldspar & baking soda without the added bleach or fragrances found in most commercial cleansers)
  • Mix baking soda and vinegar, top it off with your favorite smelling essential oil.

5. Ammonia

Ammonia is a powerful irritant

Donna Kasuska, chemical engineer and president of ChemConscious

What is Ammonia?

Ammonia is a Colorless, reactive gas that is lighter than air (approximately half as heavy) which dissolves readily in water.

Which products contain Ammonia?

Found in some disinfecting wipes / sprays. Polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewelry. Known for giving that “streak free shine” in Glass or Window cleaners.

Health risks of Ammonia?

  •  Low levels of ammonia may cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.
  • High levels of ammonia may cause burns and swelling in the airways, lung damage and can be fatal.
  • Specifically at risk are people with asthma, and elderly people with lung issues and breathing problems.
  • Ingestion of ammonia solutions can cause pain and burns throughout the digestive tract. In severe cases the respiratory system, stomach and heart may be damaged and death may follow.
  • Long-term cumulative effect. Exposure over time can develop into chronic bronchitis and asthma.
  • Strong ammonia solutions may cause serious burns if splashed on the skin
  • At high concentrations, gases and fumes of ammonia can also cause corrosive damage to the skin.
  • Splashes in the eye may cause damage which may be irreversible in some cases and can lead to loss of sight. 
  • Can great a deadly gas if mixed with bleach (DO NOT MIX)

Alternatives to products that contain Ammonia?

  • Silver polish > use standard tooth paste or a non ammonia polishing cloth.
  • “Streak free” Glass, Window or Mirror cleaner > use vodka

6. Sodium Hydroxide [NA{OH}]

What is Sodium Hydroxide?

“Sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda or lye, is a solid, white, inorganic compound known for being the cheapest and most used strong alkali. Instead of being a naturally occurring compound, sodium hydroxide is a byproduct of the chlorine manufacturing process, specially when rock salt is used as a solution.” —Naturalpedia

Which products contain Sodium Hydroxide?

Can come in dust, mist, or aerosol forms found in most oven cleaners and drain openers.

Health risks of Sodium Hydroxide?

  • Sodium hydroxide targets the skin, eyes, respiratory and digestive systems.
  • Solid and solution forms of sodium hydroxide can be dangerous the eyes and skin
  • Can hydrolyze proteins and kill tissue cells in amounts and concentrations significant enough to cause severe lung damage.
  • Classified as a carcinogen (can cause cancer)
  • Can Irritate the mucus membranes of the respiratory tract, throat, and nose.
  • Can cause the throat to swell and make breathing difficult.
  • Minimal exposure can irritate the skin and eyes and lead to burning and hives
  • Direct skin contact can lead to thermal and chemical burns that can become deep-tissue injuries without immediate medical attention.
  • Concentrated solutions of sodium hydroxide can break down the proteins in the eyes and bring about severe eye damage or blindness.
  • Inhalation of higher concentrations of sodium hydroxide can lead to fluid build-up in the lungs, in turn increasing the risk for bronchitis and permanent lung damage.
  • Ingesting sodium hydroxide can severely burn the lips, tongue, throat, and stomach. Those who’ve ingested sodium hydroxide can experience abdominal pain and diarrhea, and have bloody stool along with the constant need to vomit; and can lead to sudden changes on blood pH, rapidly developing low blood pressure, collapse, and shock.
  • Sodium hydroxide can cause esophagal cancer, years after exposure through scar formation and tissue destruction.

Alternatives to products that contain Sodium Hydroxide?

  • Clean ovens > use baking-soda paste and an electric scrubbing tool or drill with a scrub attachment, so less manual labor is required.

7. Chlorine | more details in an article by Dr. Mercola

What is Chlorine?

Chlorine is a toxic, highly reactive, corrosive, greenish yellow gas that is irritating to the eyes and to the respiratory system.– Chlorine has even been used as a chemical weapon in war.

Which contains Chlorine?

Where? Multiple avenues of exposure from city tap water and household cleaning products.

  • Household tap water (ingestion from drinking & inhalation during showers, baths, cleaning, etc) used in water systems as a fumigant or disinfectant, as it impedes the growth of bacteria like e. coli and giardia.
  • Household cleaning products: Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whiteners, etc
  • Swimming pool water where its diluted just enough to still kill pool scum, without being strong enough to kill a human.
  • Used in chemical weapons chlorine was first employed as a “choking agent” in the early days of World War I. On April 22, 1915, during the second battle of Ypres. In Iraq, militias or terrorists have detonated bombs rigged to cylinders containing chlorine that originally were intended for water treatment and continue to use chlorine gas a cheap chemical weapon.

My rant on pro-chlorine advocates

What disgusts me is blogs with limited evidence suggesting chlorine in city tap water is healthy…when I think about how many people are getting diseases every day, and how cancer rates are higher then they have ever been before in history. I have 10x more studies referenced in this blog, then 10 of those pro-chlorine blogs combined. Please consider health of your children and family and read this blog post in its entirety, bookmark it and come back when you need a DIY natural cleaner or alternative that you can buy for some cleaning job aorund the house.

Health risks of Chlorine?

  • Concentrations of 3 ppm (parts per million) chlorine can irritate the mucous membranes and eyes
  • Concentrations of 5-15 ppm chlorine can cause moderate irritation of the upper respiratory tract
  • Chlorine Concentrations of 10 ppm is considered to be immediately dangerous to life or health –National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Concentrations of 30 ppm chlorine causes chest pain, vomiting, and dyspnea
  • Concentrations above 50 ppm, it causes lung inflammation and pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs–Wiki)
  • Linked to detrimental brain effects including dementia in elderly patients.
  • Inhalation of chlorine gas can cause difficulty breathing, chest pains, cough, eye irritation, rapid heart rate or breathing and death.
  • Known to cause asthma in swimmers even those in good health, with adolescents being especially vulnerable.
  • Among adults exposure to chlorine in swimming pools has been linked with other health problems including bladder and rectal cancer and, possibly, an increased risk for coronary heart disease.
  • Trichloramine an irritant released when chlorinated water reacts with urine, sweat or other organic matter and when inhaled is believed to damage the cellular barrier that protects the lungs.

Alternatives to products that contain Chlorine?

  • Toilet bowls > clean with vinegar.
  • Scrubbing bathroom or kitchen > use Baking soda.
  • Whitening clothes > use BioKleen chlorine-free oxygen bleach powder or DIY a mix of vinegar and borax powder
  • Swimming Pools – Find pools that use a copper silver disinfecting method / UV systems or use outdoor pools which dissipate the toxic gases or simply avoid public pools all together and consider a home pool such as the compact endless pools. If you must attend a public swimming pool: shower and urinate before entering pool, ensure pool water is clear and walls are slimy or sticky, monitor asthma symptoms, avoid pools if you’ve had diarrhea in the last two weeks.
  • Public City Tap water – Purchase an affordable reverse osmosis system from Aquasana at least for your drinking water and a separate filter for your bath / shower. Even better get a whole home reverse osmosis system, for your entire home water supply. They are affordable, easy to install and mine has lasted me many years.

Chlorine in drinking water

“When chlorine mixes with even minute amounts of organic compounds that are very often found in water, they produce harmful by-products, called Trihalomethanes (THMs). These by-products produce free radicals in the body, which trigger cell damage. And they are highly carcinogenic, even in small amounts.”

Food Revolution Network

When Chlorine is introduced into the human body, it destroys our beneficial gut bacteria, and an estimated 70% of your immune system is in your gut!

Evidence suggestions your gut microbiome health is directly related to immune system health and a poor gut microbiome can lead to a wide range of disease including obesity,  irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and certain autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and asthma, and even autism.

  • In the small town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, after changing from drinking mountain spring water to drinking chlorinated tap water, the population went from having no heart attacks to having heart attacks, with no changes to their diets.
  • According to research published in Environmental Health Perspectivesthe by-products of chlorine are associated with an increased risk of bladder and rectal cancers.
  • A study which analyzed thousands of cancer deaths in the U.S., found that drinking chlorinated water appears to increase the risk of gastrointestinal cancer over a person’s lifetime by 50-100%.
  • A 2008 study based on an analysis of nearly 400,000 infants in Taiwan found that drinking water disinfected by chlorine while pregnant may increase the risk of having children with heart problems, cleft palate, or major brain defects.
  • According to a survey published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, chlorophenols, byproducts of water chlorination might explain the rise in food allergies in the western world.

Alternatives to chlorinated tap water?

  • Purchase an affordable reverse osmosis system from Aquasana at least for your drinking water and a separate filter for your bath / shower. Even better get a whole home reverse osmosis system, for your entire home water supply. They are affordable, easy to install and mine has lasted me many years.

Chlorine in swimming pool water

A Belgian study which reviewed a total of 847 youngsters between 13 and 18 found that teens who spent swimming in chlorinated water: 100 to 500 hours had almost 2x risk of developing asthma, 500-1,000 hrs over 2x risk and over 1000hrs swim time in chlorinate water had 8x the risk of developing asthma or allergies vs kids who usually swam in pools using a copper-silver disinfecting method.

  • The “chlorine” smell at swimming pools isn’t actually chlorine it’s Trichloramine, an irritant released when chlorinated water reacts with urine, sweat, personal health care products or other organic matter. This and other volatile chemicals stay in water which can be absorbed through the skin, swallowed or be inhaled when swimmers breath.
  • Exposure to chlorine in swimming pools has been linked with other health problems including bladder and rectal cancer and, possibly, an increased risk for coronary heart disease

Health risks of Chlorinated swimming pools

  • Allergies & Asthma – Children who swim frequently in chlorinated pools may have increased risks of developing allergies or asthma
  • Bladder cancer – Studies found DNA damage that leads to cancer after a 40-minute swim “These are only biomarkers, not the cancer itself…but in principle you don’t want to have things messing up your DNA.”
  • Tooth Decay – Chlorine increases pool water acidity which can damage tooth enamel (if pH isn’t balanced). Symptoms included transparent or yellow teeth and pain when chewing.
  • Chlorine resistant viruses – digestive ailments such as cryptosporidiosis (causes diarrhea) is one of many chlorine resistant viruses, and the swimming pools solution is excessive chlorine which further raises chlorine-related health risks.

Alternatives to chlorinated swimming pools?

  • Find pools that use a copper silver disinfecting method / UV systems or use outdoor pools which dissipate the toxic gases or simply avoid public pools all together.
  • Consider a home pool such as the compact endless pools. An Endless Pools swimming machine stays crystal clear with copper/silver and UV water purification. Its low-chlorine water filtration typically requires just a small amount of household bleach. Besides keeping you and your family safe and active, the Endless Pool also installs indoors without causing your home to have that public swimming pool “chlorine” smell of toxic chemicals.
  • If you must attend a public swimming pool: shower and urinate before entering pool, ensure pool water is clear and walls are slimy or sticky, monitor asthma symptoms, avoid pools if you’ve had diarrhea in the last two weeks.

8. Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”

What are QUATS?

Quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATS) are antimicrobial chemicals that are used in a variety of different products. QUATS are formaldehyde releasing toxic chemicals that have been associated with multiple health risks.

Which products contain QUATS?

Fabric softener liquids and sheets, spermicidal jellies, dishwashing liquids, hand soaps, air fresheners, shampoos, toilet cleaners, shaving cream, baby wipes, body wash, sunscreens, moisturizers, disinfectant sprays, liquid fabric softeners and other disinfectant products.

Health Risks of QUATS?

Alternatives to products that contain QUATS?

  • Fabric softener > use White Vinegar (other types can stain) is a natural fabric softener, it is nontoxic, helps remove soap residue in the rinse cycle and prevents static cling in the dryer.
  • Disinfectants > use a few drops of tea-tree oil with vinegar in a spray bottle (add essential oil for scent). Tea tree oil is antibacterial, antifungal, kills germs and works as a great all-purpose cleaner.  Otherwise us toxic chemical free alternatives with antimicrobial ingredients like hypochlorous acid.  Hypochlorous acid is the same substance the immune system produces to fight infection, its even used in eye care, wound healing and veterinary care.
  • Personal health-care products > find natural alternatives using essential oils and plant based ingredients! A great way to avoid quats is to research a specific product’s ingredients with a resource like the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep product database or app.

9. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS

“the U. S. government does not require any mandatory testing for these products before they are sold”

Dr. Mercola

What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

SLS is an emulsifier and foaming agent (an additive that allows cleansing products to foam.)

Which products contain SLS?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is commonly used in cosmetic products and industrial cleaners. SLS is also contained in most body washes, soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and laundry detergent. SLS is derived from coconuts, but the manufacturing process contaminates it with toxic byproducts.

Health risks of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

  • Nearly 16,000 studies mention the toxicity of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier used in thousands of cosmetic products and industrial cleaners.
  • SLS risks include: hair and skin damage, immunological problems, eye damage, and possibly even cancer
  • SLS can cause skin and eye irritation, as well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested, according to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • SLS and SLES are often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of the manufacturing process that is “possibly carcinogenic (cancer causing) to humans” and may also cause negatives effects in the kidneys, liver and central nervous system  according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Your body lacks the enzymes needed to break down certain chemicals like SLS, allowing them to accumulate over time, and contribute to your “toxic body burden”. Currently there are not many studies on the detrimental long term health effects of constant SLS and 1,4 dioxane (a byproduct of manufacturing SLS that becomes part of the product)
  • SLS has also been linked to nitrosamines, potent carcinogens that cause your body to absorb nitrates, which are known to be carcinogenic as well

Alternatives to SLS containing products

  1. Tooth Paste > Redmond – Earthpaste All Natural Non-Fluoride Vegan Organic Non GMO Real Ingredients Toothpaste (uses bentonite clay and natural ingredients.)
  2. Shampoo
    1. Sulfate Free Hemp/Omega 3 Botanical Shampoo, Natural
    2. Lila Loves Organics Kids 360ml Unscented Shampoo & Body Wash | Plant-Based Ingredients
    3. Avalon Organics Scalp Treatment Tea Tree Shampoo by Avalon for Unisex 
  3. Laundry Detergent
    1. SOAP Nuts Soap Berries (1kg) 300-400 Loads of Laundry (made from the dried fruit of the Chinese soapberry tree)
    2. Molly’s Suds Unscented Laundry Detergent Powder, 120 Loads
  4. Hand Soap > Crate 61 Citrus Soap 6-Pack Box Set, 100% Vegan Cold Process Bar Soap, scented with premium essential oils

10. Butyl Cellosolve

What is Butyl Cellosolve? MSHS Here

Also known as Butyl Cellusolve, Butoxyethanol, Butyl Glycol and Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether) is a toxic agent used in many industrial and domestic cleaners

Which products contain Butyl Cellosolve?

Found in degreasers, heavy-duty all-purpose cleaners, and window cleaners.

Health risks of Butyl Cellosolve?

  • May be a carcinogen in humans, as studies on animals with 2-butoxy ethanol has been shown to cause liver cancer in animals
  • May damage the male reproductive system (including decreasing sperm count)
  • It may also damage a developing fetus and has shown affects on female fertility in studies on animals
  • Eye, eye redness, pain, blurred vision
  • Cough, nose, throat and skin irritation
  • Blood disorders
  • Central nervous system depression
  • Dizziness, drowsiness, light-headedness, unconsciousness
  • Headache, vomiting
  • Pulmonary edema
  • liver and kidney damage
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea

Alternatives to products that contain Butyl Cellosolve?

11. Other toxic chemicals in cleaning products

Avoid chemicals in cleaners | A List of Natural Household cleaning product alternatives

I’ve spent years to research and test the natural cleaning products in this guide, these are products that I have been using in my daily life for many years. Read this guide and start replacing your toxic household cleaners, with healthy natural alternatives. Put the health of your family at the forefront of your buying decisions, and vote with your almighty dollar, for companies that produce environmentally friendly, body healthy, all natural cleaning products.

Vinegar | The secret all-natural cleaner for everything

I’ve been using extra strength vinegar in my house for years. It disinfects nearly as good as rubbing alcohol, deodorizes things like cat or dog pee, cleans off grease easily, and wipes clean nearly any surface imaginable. I use it in my kitchen to clean off food, to wipe up my dogs “accidents” (it completely removes the smell), to clean off dishes, floors and counters…Heck I haven’t found a single thing I cant clean with vinegar.

I can’t understand why anyone would use toxic, chemical filled cleaning products to wipe off counters, that they touch and eat food off of…not to mention breathing in the fumes while spraying it, which your lungs now have to deal with throughout the day.

Disinfectant and sanitation spray

  • White Vinegar has antibacterial properties, especially when it comes to killing bacteria on food during food prep (and reduces the presence of bacteria like Salmonella) when used for 15 minutes or more. 6 percent vinegar was found to be antimicrobial and decreased the presence of Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli
  • Consider using an environmentally friendly disinfecting system by geneontechnologies here or

Disinfecting Wipes | DIY covid disinfecting wipes

Cleaning Spray and all-purpose cleaner

Laundry Soap

Why are you still buying the bulk tub of the most toxic laundry detergent u can find? Because it’s cheap?

Conventional laundry detergent is loaded with chemicals like sulfates, fragrances, phenols and more. Most brands contain additives such as petroleum distillates, which are linked to cancer and lung disease. Fragrances in most detergents are made of a cocktail of harmful chemicals.

Every time you wash your clothes, your pumping gallons of toxic cleaner laden water into the sewers. Now imagine hundreds of millions, no billions of people who do their laundry every day, pumping toxic laundry detergent into the water…thank god we have water treatment facilities, but where do you think all those chemicals end up?

I use a healthy eco-friendly natural laundry detergent, it cleans off whatever dirt and grime is on my clothes, just as well as any cheap toxic laundry detergent, only costs a few bucks more and I can sleep at night knowing it’s good for the environment. Oh and adding my own essential oils , my god my laundry smells better than ever before…I can breath in the aroma knowing it’s not toxic chemical fumes and artificial scents I’m smelling.

Dryer Sheets

I ordered a bulk pack of these all-natural wool dryer balls. With a few drops of my favorite essential oil, they leave my laundry smelling so damn good, I leave one open in my clothes cabinet with a few drops of essential oil, just so my clothes smell fresh every day xD

I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would want to dry their clothes with a chemical soaked sheet, where every whiff of your “fresh” smelling clothes, is huffing toxic chemicals into your lungs? On top of that your taking whatever toxic chemicals they soak in these fake dryer sheets, and pumping them into the air next to your house. An I the only person that thinks about this?

Hand Soap

Your epidermis (skin) is the largest organ in your body. You put moisturizer on your hands and it soaks into your hands pretty quickly… so what do you think happens when your cleaning with toxic chemicals or washing your hands with chemical filled hand soap? Well it doesn’t take a PHD…your hands are soaking up every bit of chemical you clean with or put on your hands (which goes straight into your blood stream), and distributing that through your body. I hope your starting to get a bit scared at this point, because you should be.

Floor Cleaner

  • Hardwood floors – a mixture of a gallon of warm water and a half cup of white vinegar is the best cleaner.
  • Murphy’s Oil Soap is a good all-purpose floor cleaner, its biodegradable and free of phosphates, ammonia, and bleach. Plus, it’s made with naturally-derived ingredients. Also its not toxic to pets.
  • ATTITUDE Nature +, Hypoallergenic Floor Surface Cleaner, Tile & Wood, Citrus Zest

Carpet Shampoo

Dishwasher soap


Avoid furniture polishes when dusting. A simple cotton cloth and sometimes a fine diluted soapy spray works fine to spray and dust surfaces. A vacuum cleaner with a true HEPA filter, also works well to suck dust out of fixtures and appliances.

Deodorizing Spray

How to help others avoid toxic chemicals in cleaners and household cleaning products

Ultimately every dollar you spend on natural products helps those companies to grow and provide cheaper all natural cleaning products. Don’t underestimate the power of your dollar and how you spend it! If you want to take more action and help others…

Visit Safer Chemical, Healthy Families (SCHF) and consider making a donation. SCHF work on petitioning the government and taking real action, that results in laws being changed or developed to make consumers more away of toxic chemicals in their products.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *