We all want our house to be a clean, safe place to live. However, some of the products we regularly use to help clean our houses may actually be harming us as well as the environment around us. Many of our household cleaners can contain harmful chemicals like phthalates and dangerous toxins.
From laundry detergents to multi-purpose cleaners, you may not be aware that all these products may contain so many toxic chemicals. Go to your cupboard right now. Pick a cleaner. Check out the label. Some of the potentially harmful chemicals may not even be listed, but it is important to your health to find out what is in the products you use.
Here are some common chemicals in household cleaners that you should avoid:
- Chlorinated phenols – often found in toilet bowl cleaner, this chemical can harm our respiratory and circulatory systems.
- Diethylene glycol – can be found in window cleaners and depress the nervous system.
- Phenols – found in disinfectants are toxic to our respiratory and circulatory systems.
- Nonylphenol ethoxylate – a common detergent often found in all-purpose cleaners and laundry detergent. This chemical is banned in Europe and biodegrades into even more harmful toxins.
- Formaldehyde – is often found in spray deodorizers. It is a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen
- Petroleum solvents – this is found in floor cleaners. It can damage mucous membranes.
- Perchloroethylene – a spot remover that causes liver and kidney damage.
- Butyl cellosolve – common in all-purpose cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver.
Automatic dishwashing detergents typically contain complex phosphates (banned in laundry detergent), which pollute waterways. Many All-Purpose cleaners contain solvents and surfactants suspected of causing or aggravating asthma and allergy symptoms. Degreasers contain butyl cellosolve, a chemical that irritates mucous membranes.
Aerosol product sprays (sometimes propelled by butane) can include formaldehyde, phenols, toluene, and phthalates, among other toxins or carcinogens. Disinfectants may contain any of several toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde, cresols, ammonia, phenols, and chlorine bleach, all of which should be kept away from the skin and some of which can be hazardous to internal organs and the central nervous system.
These are just some of the many harmful chemicals in our common household cleaners. The worst part about this though, is that so many of these chemicals can be avoided.
Many common messes can be cleaned without these chemicals. Things like vinegar, baking soda, and even some citrus fruits can help clean everyday messes.
Even the simple remedy of soap and water can clean more than you think. Make sure that the next time you clean your house, you’re using safe cleaners with little or no toxins. This will help both your home and the environment stay clean, healthy, and looking great.
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