Toxins Inside Your Cleaning Products

published Aug 18, 2019
2 min read

Cleaning Chemicals

Do you consider your cleaning products safe to use? Do you ever read the hazardous notes on the bottles? Have you wondered why some empty canisters are disposed of in a certain way? Because they contain lots of different ingredients, some of which are very toxic and dangerous.

Most cleaning products have some toxins inside them in a smaller or larger degree, but you can avoid them completely if you hire an environmentally friendly cleaning company. This way you won’t be exposed to any harmful or dangerous materials and, at the same time, your home will be cleansed with substances not harmful to the environment.

Introduction to Toxins

Some environmental experts say that an average household has 62 toxic chemicals. They vary from Phthalates in air fresheners and other fragrances to noxious fumes inside some oven cleaners.

According to manufacturers, these toxins are nothing to worry about in small doses. However, daily exposition to them can be extremely dangerous. Even reactions are unknown as different combinations can provide different effects.

Health Issues

Short term issues are acute headaches from inhaling some fumes or severe burns caused by accidental contact with some chemicals… Long term effects include cancer, asthma, hormone disruptions and other various disorders.

It is impossible to completely ignore exposure to these toxins and chemicals, but it’s possible to reduce it by a significant margin.

Toxins and Their Non-Hazardous Counterparts


Number one most common toxin is Phthalates. They are usually found in dish soap, air fresheners and even toilet paper! Interestingly enough, you can’t find them in these products’ ingredients, because they will be masked with a ‘fragrance’ label.

It’s much better to use fragrance-free or all-natural organic products when possible. Instead of aerosol and plug-in air fresheners (which are known to be asthma and migraine triggers) you should use essential oils or simply opening windows to freshen the air. One small trick is to add plants to your home. They are natural air detoxifiers.

Perchloroethylene (PERC)

‘PERC’ is mostly found inside dry-cleaning products. Traces of it can be found in stain and stop removers and some upholstery cleaners. In addition, you can find it in other solvent-based products.

So what to do with clothes that have ‘dry clean only’ tags? The obvious choice is to take them to a dry cleaner. This will prevent your own exposure to PERC but it’s not the best solution. Ask around for a ‘wet cleaner’, a service which uses water-based technology instead of chemical solvents.

A recently allowed environmentally preferred alternative to more toxic dry-cleaning products is liquid CO2. Look for environmentally friendly spot removers or avoid them altogether by rubbing soap before washing.


Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial found in liquid hand-soaps, body-washes and some detergents that have been labelled antibacterial. Its presence helps some drug-resistant bacteria grow. A study found a dangerous concentration of Triclosan in rivers, as it is toxic and deadly to algae.

Best way to avoid Triclosan is to use non-anti-bacterial products at home. Use simple detergents or soaps with a small number of ingredients. If you must use a hand sanitiser, choose one with alcohol.

Quarternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS)

‘QUATS’ are antibacterial similar to Triclosan, also found in some products labelled ‘antibacterial’. In addition, they are also a skin irritant. It’s mostly common in fabric softener liquid and sheets.

Instead of using expensive fabric softener use Vinegar. It’s not toxic and it also removes the soap cycle in the rinse cycle and prevents static cling in the dryer. White vinegar is the best option, as others may stain.


Ammonia is part of most metal, glass, window and oven cleaning products. Its appeal is that it evaporates quickly so it doesn’t leave any marks. It can also be present in some polishing substances for kitchen, bathroom or jewels.

A healthier choice would be to use vodka, or any other high % alcohol. It has the same effect but with less chemicals. If you want to polish some silver, try toothpaste, it’s unusual but works well.

Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium Hydroxide is a standard ingredient of degreasers, oven cleaners, sink and drain openers. It’s known as lye and is highly corrosive.

Cleaning ovens is also possible with some baking-soda paste. You can Google it; there are plenty of DIY videos about how to make it. You can unclog drains with a mechanical snake tool; It takes no time at all and could be fun.


While these toxins and chemical materials are present, they do not provide immediate danger. Constant exposure and accidental contact however do. It is better to use non-toxic products, but as long as you are careful and mindful of what you are doing, you shouldn’t have any issues. When buying, always check the labels.