A health hazard exposed

10 Gallons of toxic household cleaners per year

  10 gallons is the amount an average American household is using to keep their home clean. The term "green" is being misused by marketing departments of companies producing those toxic cleaners and means nothing, really. 
"Natural" does not automatically mean safe - and if you read the small print and it says "87 % natural" - 0.5 percent of a damaging chemical is too much and can be really dangerous. 
Did you know that the average American spends over $600 on household cleaning products a year? They also spend, on average, four hours per week cleaning. Most people do not realize that they are using products that could adversely affect their health. Toxic chemicals in household cleaners are a very real  and serious concern. Indoor pollution is a bigger problem than outdoor pollution. 
The manufacturers of those potential harmful products have teamed up and can hide their toxic ingredients under the label "secret formula". Did you ever read the label of let's say your bathroom cleaner? Does it say: Do not inhale and use with opened window? 

Why Should I Be Concerned? 

It seems that these days we are obsessed with everything being germ-free. We see the advertisements for products that kill 99.9% of household germs. But, we never stop to consider the chemicals that are used to kill those 99.9%. They must be pretty powerful, right? Killers you could say.    Yes, they are. What the advertisements are not telling you is that the chemicals in the cleaning products may be harming you. Particularly of great concern, is the effects that these products have on children and women.    Our children are highly vulnerable to these toxic chemicals. Their brain, organs, and immune system are still developing. The chemicals in household cleaners can interfere with this development, especially the endocrine, neurological, and immune systems.    It has recently been shown that these toxic household cleaners may also harm a woman’s reproductive system. Especially women who are pregnant or women that may be trying to get pregnant should avoid the toxic chemicals in household cleaners.

Do worry about indoor, not outdoor pollution

The real enemy has entered your homes already and you actually even pay money to him.
Let us just pick out one example: allergies. How comes that people have more and more allergies than back when kids used to play in the dirt and nobody used chemical substances to clean their houses and cloths?

indoor pollution, toxic household cleaners

No hand sanitizers have been used, no tide and febreeze.
Feebreeze is another great example of our modern lifestyle. "Spray your cloth with unhealthy chemicals if they smell". OR we could just wash them.    Household cleaners are one of the worst or even the worst. I for one prefer a few germs over toxic bleach any day. 
Another problem is building materials. Now we know that asbestos, that we used to happily inhale is a severe health hazard.   Over and over we get screwed with pills, toxins, even unnecessary surgery because the test procedures in place are wrong.    On the other hand, if you are trying to talk about the benefits of a herb, growing outside in nature, you are in jail with one leg. Read my disclaimer if you have a lot of free time on your hands (;   Therefore, my wording will often be like "may harm you". While it is very obvious that they DO harm. But not the companies have to proof that their products are healthy - I would have to proof that they do cause illness. Naturally, I am not able to do so and therefore, provide many statements in a very passive voice.   

Here is one strong statement for you: 

I  recommend the use of a whole house air purifier. In this case, the cheap models will not do the trick. Hepa filters i.e. are not able to filter toxins out. Please see the end of the post for a few inexpensive models for you to take care of your indoor pollution and the safety of your family.

Harmful effects of toxic cleaners include:

  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Sexual behavior changes
  • Reproductive cancers
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Organ damage
  • Headache
  • Skin irritation
  • Damage to liver and kidney
  • Eye irritation
  • Lung irritation
  • Sinus problems
  • Decrease in fertility
  • Allergies

Another concern is the a recent study showed a link of these products and asthma. It was shown that people with controlled asthma were having more frequent attacks and people that had never been diagnosed with asthma were developing symptoms related to this condition.    A lot of the chemicals are identified as being asthma triggers and can exacerbate existing upper respiratory symptoms. The short-term problems that have been seen with these toxic chemicals are problems like eye and skin irritation. The longer we are using these products, there is a higher chance you may experience long-term impacts to your health.    Unfortunately, there is little known about these long-term impacts of repetitive exposure to these toxic chemicals in household cleaners. Much more study needs to be done to get the full picture of the safety of these products over a lifetime. 

What are some of the worst chemicals used?

  • Glycol ethers
  • Phthalates
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Phosphates
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) (forbidden in Europe, causes male fish to change gender)
  • Petroleum solvents
  • Butyl cellosolve
  • Formaldehyde
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Ethanolamines
  • Chlorine

Are These Chemicals Regulated? 

In one word, NO! There are no requirements associated with labeling ingredients on these household cleaners. We are given a limited access to this information, therefore, are left in the dark about which ones to avoid.

In Industry, there are thousands and thousands of products used daily. These contain the very same chemicals that are in our household cleaners and are many times released into our environment. This can have huge impacts on our health and sadly, there is very little regulation by the government.

How could a regular person compete with the marketing budgets of these companies? Who could and would pay for a long term study on effects of harmful toxins used in household cleaners?
As mentioned earlier companies can hide some of their ingredients by patenting it, claiming it "secret recipe" and there is no law in place to protect us.

All of this is quite scary and eye-opening, isn’t it? The best way to avoid the harmful effects of these toxic chemicals in household cleaners is to not use them.    We have become so “germaphobe” in our society, that we overlook the fact that by trying to prevent getting sick, we may be harming ourselves on a much deeper and long-term level.

Natural alternatives

  • Lemon 
  • Baking Soda 
  • Ammoniac 
  • Vinegar 
  • Coconut Oil 
  • Olive Oil 
  • Microfiber cloth 
  • Vodka (how fun, right) 
  • and some old fashioned scrubbing 

I might post a detailed article on which product is good for which use.
The natural alternatives aside - any "organic" cleaner, even if not perfect, will be better than supermarket brands. Meanwhile, email me with questions.

Here is what Denise Netzel, CEO of Solution to Indoor Pollution shares with us regarding bugs, something we have not looked at yet:

Your indoor air quality problems started back in the 70's when we were told the cost of heating your home was going up.  We were told to seal the cracks in the foundation, put in more attic insulation and replace your windows.  By doing this, we trapped the pollution in our homes, that now cause allergies.   If you wake up in the morning stuffed up (but did not go to bed that way), but once you are up and start sneezing and it clears up,it is an indication you have poor indoor quality and you are sleeping with dust mites

Solution to Indoor Pollution offers air purifiers of the highest quality. I would know because I am using one of the models for a few years now. Check out her website to learn more and contact her.


All of this is quite scary and eye-opening, isn't it? The best way to avoid the harmful effects of these toxic chemicals in household cleaners is to not use them. We have become so “germaphobe” in our society, that we overlook the fact that by trying to prevent getting sick, we may be harming ourselves on a much deeper and long-term level.

Fight indoor pollution now!

Make your home a safer place for your family. I do not recommend any specific cleaners as the brands I am aware of all are not perfect. But, rest assured, any "organic" will be better than supermarket brands.

As always I hope you enjoyed that post. If so I would love for you to leave me a comment or drop me an email...OR even sign up to my blog or newsletter (: