7 Conventional Household Cleaning Products to Avoid

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We all want a clean home, but if you’re using conventional products to clean, that clean can come at a huge cost to your family’s health! Many commercial products contain ingredients that are classified as irritants or even carcinogens.

Here is a list of the seven top offenders, along with natural alternatives.

  1. Fabric Softeners- The fragrances contained in fabric softeners usually contain phthalates, known endocrine disrupters that can result in damage to your reproductive health. Be warned, most products containing phthalates will not list it as an ingredient on the label due to proprietary laws. Other ingredients found in fabric softeners can increase your risk for asthma and other respiratory disorders. For soft clothes, towels, and linens, try adding a half cup of white vinegar to your wash.
  2. Window Cleaners- Most commercial window cleaning agents contain 2-butoxyethanol as a key ingredient. This harsh chemical can cause sore throats, narcosis, pulmonary edema, and even severe kidney and liver damage. Clean windows with diluted vinegar or vodka instead.
  3. Oven Cleaners- Sodium hydroxide, a cleaning compound found in commercial oven cleaners, can cause severe chemical burns to your skin, as well as to the throat and esophagus when inhaled. This can lead to a sore throat that can last up to several days. Instead, use baking soda paste and a little elbow grease to get your oven clean.
  4. Air Fresheners- Phthalates strike again! The fragrances used in most air fresheners, like those in fabric softeners, can trigger allergies and even cause adult onset asthma in otherwise healthy individuals. For a clean, green, healthy scent, use essential oils instead. Lavender, peppermint, and lemon oils are great and not too expensive!
  5. Spot Cleaners/Carpet Cleaners- These cleaning products are basically made out of neurotoxin. Perchloroethylene—or “PERC” for short, is classified as a possible carcinogen by the EPA. Instead of toxic carpet cleaning solutions, hire a green carpet cleaning company (LINK) to treat your carpets to a water-based cleaning. For laundry stains, try rubbing undiluted castile soap on the affected area prior to washing.
  6. Bleach- We all know that chlorine can irritate your eyes and throat, but did you know it may also harm your thyroid function? Clean with vinegar, instead!
  7. Ammonia- Ammonia acts as an irritant to eyes, nose, throat, and skin. And let’s face it: that stuff STINKS! Instead, use homemade vinegar based solutions or clean with diluted antibacterial essential oils.