Cleaning products

8 Nasty chemicals you want to avoid

We currently live in a world of chemicals. Everything we eat, breath, touch and use has some form of chemicals. That’s why it is vital to know what chemicals we are choosing to use and how to avoid the nasty ones. Below is a list of chemicals I strongly suggest one tries to avoid.

Chemicals to avoid:

  1. Phthalates: they are in dish soaps, air fresheners and all scented items. These disrupt the endocrine system reducing sperm count, and contributing to skin irritation, amongst others. To avoid these health problems, choose fragrance-free products, or use pure essential oils in a ceramic diffuser versus traditional air fresheners
  2. Perchloroethylene (PERC): often found in aerosol paint concentrates, oven cleaners, laundry aids, dry cleaning solutions, and many others. According to several studies, it is hazardous because of its classification as a neurotoxin and a possible carcinogen but the most serious effects emanate from its inhalation. Use household cleaners made from all-natural ingredients.
  3. Triclosan: Commonly found in products labeled as antibacterial. This includes dishwashing soaps, body soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, deodorants and products for personal care. The absorption of triclosan commonly happens through skin contact or contact from the lining of the mouth. It can affect muscle function, hormones and trigger allergic reactions. Rather choose natural soaps made with essential oils and natural ingredients instead.
  4. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS): products containing this toxic chemical include fabric softeners and products classified as being antibacterial. Because it is also classified as antimicrobial, some of its health risks include contact dermatitis, asthma, and other respiratory problems. Natural fabric softeners include putting vinegar into the final rinse cycle of your washer or dishwasher. Alternatively place a drop of lavender oil in the dryer load.
  5. 2-Butoxyethanol: most commonly found in floor strippers, surface cleaners, spot cleaners, window cleaners, ink removers, and other multipurpose cleaners – linked to sore throat, kidney and liver damage and pulmonary edema among others. Rather use a mixture of baking soda, essential oil, and vinegar to make your very own all-purpose cleaner.
  6. Ammonia: this chemical has a very pungent odor and can be commonly found in polishing waxes, bathroom cleaners, jewelry cleaners, and other multipurpose cleaners. High concentrations when inhaled can lead to allergy, asthma and other breathing problems. Use vodka or fluoride-free toothpaste which are natural cleaners. Vodka or cane alcohol can be used to clean windows, mirrors and glass for a streak-free shine. Toothpaste can be used for jewelry and those hard-to-get nooks and crannies.
  7. Chlorine: chlorine products include toilet bowl cleaners, scouring powders, laundry whiteners, mildew removers, and even tap water and can lead to respiratory and thyroid problems. Use white vinegar for cleaning and a good water distiller for removing it from water.
  8. Sodium Hydroxide: drain cleaners and oven cleaners are two of the most common items containing this but did you know that it is extremely corrosive, damaging to the skin and can cause a sore throat when it is inhaled. Rather use baking soda mixed into a paste with water as a natural alternative.

You can simply click on the name of each product mentioned above (in bold) and a hyperlink will take you directly to the product for an easy purchase.

Originally published on in 2020.

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