Toxins in Your Cleaning Products; What to Avoid and What to Use Instead

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

As we have children, I think more and more of us become more conscious about the toxins we use in our homes and put on our bodies. There are some great cleaning products on the shelves that are much gentler on us than our counterparts, but when you hit those shopping aisles, it can really overwhelming to know what to buy and what to avoid.

Terms like ‘eco friendly’ and ‘green’ appear so often on bottles of cleaners and laundry detergent, it can be easy to believe it and throw it in your cart. There is a marketing term called ‘greenwashing’ which is the process by which companies label things non-toxic when in fact the product still contains toxins. You can read more about that here.

So what should you be avoiding when you go shopping for cleaning products? These are the main ingredients you want to stay away from:

  • Anything that containing an artificial fragrance – this is the one you really want to avoid simply because fragrance can be made up of 100s if not 1000s of different chemicals and none of them have to be listed.
  • Monothanolamine (MEA)
  • Ammonium Quarternary Compounds
  • Glycol ethers, including, 2-butoxyethanol also known as butyl cellosolve – The Environmental protection agency in the U.S stated that glycol ethers have been liked to fertility and reproduction issues; cancer; damage to red blood cells and damage to liver, kidney and lymphoid systems.
  • Alkylphenolethoxylates (APEs)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Chlorine Bleach

It seems pretty overwhelming doesn’t it and quite scary. What is an easier process is to think of the alternatives you can use over the above ingredients.

  • Look online to see if there is a natural soap store in your area. Usually these soaps stores offer cleaning products as well as natural skincare products.
  • Vinegar and baking soda – I’d be lying if I said my house didn’t smell like a fish and chip store when I clean. Both these products minimize odor and can kill bacteria.
  • Microfiber cloths – Ask anyone who has invested in microfiber cloths and they will tell you that they have changed the way they clean completely!
  • Castile Soap – made from olive oil, great at lifting stains
  • Essential oils – use instead of a room fragrance. Many essential oils also contain antiseptic and antiviral properties. Make your own room fragrance with a spritzer full of water and a few drops of oil
  • Local health food store – most stores will have an aisle dedicated to cleaning products. It’s best to ask people for recommendation as the choices might be very expensive, so make sure you get the products that work the best.

When you know the alternatives, avoiding toxic cleaning products becomes easier. My recommendation is having a big bottle of white vinegar and a box of baking soda in the cupboards at all times, it cleans up every spill!

Author Bio: Mrs. H works for Green Wheel Cleaners a company that offers cleaning services Victoria, BC, Canada. All of their cleaning products are 100% natural and non-toxic.

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  1. I JUST went to Home Depot yesterday and got the empty spray bottles and JUST filled up three of them this evening with water, vinegar, baking sode, essential oil and castile soap!! 🙂 I can’t wait to use them tomorrow!

  2. I recently started making my own or purchasing natural.

  3. I have never tried castle soap, I need to look into that. I also use vinegar & water for most of my cleaning I add a few drops of tea tree oil to cut the smell of the vinegar and it adds antibacterial properties & I use the baking soda for any tough spots 🙂

  4. Cassandra M. says:

    We make our own sprays and soap!

  5. I’ve been trying to do more”green” cleaning. Now I know what ingredients NOT to use. And what to use that I already have. So thanks! This is great to know!

  6. leslie ross says:

    I have been going green myself and find the family is better with allergies

  7. Michael Lambert says:

    Thank you for posting this. My wife has been trying to make our own cleaning stuff so we don’t have to use stuff with a bunch of chemicals.

  8. This is very informative!. Makes me think what all chemicals we bring into our lives!

  9. I will have to look into the castile soap. I live in the country so I may have to purchase it online. Since I am rather clumsy this may come in handy.