Cleaning

The Ultimate Guide to Eliminating Harmful Cleaning Products From Your Home

Are your favorite cleaning products harming your health? This guide will make eliminating harmful cleaning products from your home easy!

Bottle of cleaners set next to succulents

We are being bombarded with chemicals in our environment on a daily basis. Many of these chemicals have little to no effect on our health or overall well being.

But there are some chemicals and toxins that can do some real damage. If you want to know what some of those are, just take a quick look under your kitchen sink.

Most household cleaners contain harmful chemicals and ingredients.

That’s why whenever someone asks me how they can eliminate harmful chemicals in their home, I always suggest they start with their cleaning products.

It’s really easy to do.

When I first learned about the dangers of cleaning products there were hardly any natural alternatives available.

You had to make everything yourself and it was hard to find DIY recipes on the internet. But things have changed so much over the years, in a good way. And now you have so many more options.

So you really have no excuse. It’s time to ditch and switch for your health and the health of your family.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure statement here.)

I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please do not ask me for medical advice. Click here to read my full disclaimer.

Dangers Of Household Cleaners

Many store-bought cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals. These chemicals can cause headaches, irritate the throat and eyes and cause respiratory problems. Some have even been linked to cancer.

Click here to learn more about the dangers of household cleaning products.

DANGERS OF BREATHING IN CLEANING CHEMICALS

Breathing in chemicals from household cleaners can cause damage to the lungs.

Studies have shown that women who work around cleaners showed a greater decline in lung function than women who haven’t been exposed to cleaners on a regular basis.

You can check out the study here.

ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF CHEMICALS IN CLEANING PRODUCTS

But household cleaners are not only harmful to your health, but they’re also really bad for the environment.

When you use toxic cleaners to clean your sinks or showers, those chemicals are then washed down the drain.

The majority of chemicals are removed at the waste water treatment facilities but not all. And unfortunately, many of the chemicals end up in our lakes and rivers.

The plastic bottles used to store household cleaners also harm the environment by contributing to the already massive landfills.

Click here to learn more about the harmful effects of cleaning products on the environment.

Dangerous Ingredients in Cleaning Products

If you look at the list of ingredients in your favorite cleaning products, you’ll most likely find a list of words you can hardly pronounce and you probably won’t have any idea what these ingredients actually are.

Below is a list of ingredients to be on the lookout for. These ingredients are commonly used in many cleaning products and can be very harmful to your health and your environment.

  • Triclosan – Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent. So aggressive that it can actually promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Also, the EPA is currently investigating whether or not triclosan is possibly an endocrine disruptor.

You can check out this article for more information.

  • Phthalates – Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. Many researchers have also linked phthalates to asthma, breast cancer, autism and a very long list of other conditions and illnesses.

Click here for more information about phthalates.

  • 2-Butoxyethanol – 2-Butoxyethanol can cause sore throats when inhaled. At high levels, it can contribute to severe liver and kidney damage.

Click here for more information about 2-butoxyethanol.

  • Ammonia – Ammonia can contribute to the development of asthma and chronic bronchitis. Ammonia can also create a poisonous gas if mixed with bleach.

Click here to learn more about the dangers of ammonia.

These are just a few of the dangerous chemicals that might be lurking in your favorite cleaning products. Honestly, I could keep going but I think you get the idea.

If you are unsure whether or not you should keep or toss your favorite products just give them a quick search on the EWG website.

What is The EWG?

I’ll be mentioning the EWG pretty often throughout this post. The EWG stands for the Environmental Working Group. Their mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. 

They create guides to help consumers make smarter choices about the items they bring in to their homes.

I like to use their Guide to Healthy Cleaning when deciding which cleaning products I should use. In their cleaning guide, they give products an A-F rating. A being the best, meaning the product is considered very safe. And F being the worst, meaning it contains highly toxic and dangerous ingredients.

A warning About So-Called “Natural” Cleaners

Many so-called natural cleaners aren’t quite as “natural” as they would like you to believe.

Check out the EWG rating for this popular tub and tile cleaner from Method. Or this countertop cleaner from Mrs. Meyer’s. They definitely are not the ratings I would expect from a brand claiming to be “natural” or “planet-friendly”.

And a quick disclaimer, I’m not saying all of the products from these brands are terrible. I’m just saying if you’re going to stick with store-bought, please do your research.

The EWG has a super handy app that you can download on your phone. All you have to do is search the item or scan the barcode and it will give the item a grade based on its environmental impact as well as health concerns.

Toxin Free Cleaning Alternatives

Ditching and switching your toxic household cleaners has never been easier. There are so many DIY recipes and toxin-free products to choose from.

So below I’ve listed common household cleaners and my favorite natural alternatives. Some are DIY’s and some are store-bought. And some are both.

But all are completely toxin-free and work great!

1 | All-Purpose Cleaner

I can’t live without my all-purpose cleaner. This is my go-to cleaner. I go through it like crazy.

Many popular all-purpose cleaners like 409 and Clorox contain ingredients like didecyldimethylammonium chloride and ethanolamine.

Instead, I use my own homemade all-purpose cleaner. It is super easy to make and works so well.

I also have an awesome DIY Thieves cleaner that I also use as an all-purpose cleaner.

A store-bought alternative that I really like is Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar.

You’re going to notice Aunt Fannie’s mentioned a lot. They’re a great natural cleaning brand.

I prefer to make my own cleaners most of the time because they cost a lot less money but from time to time I’ll purchase store-bought products.

Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar gets an A rating (the highest it can get) from the EWG.

You can buy it on Amazon but I usually order it from Thrive Market because it is usually cheaper there.

Right now you can get up to $20 in shopping credit when you purchase a Thrive Market Membership! (1 month, 3 month, and 1 year memberships are available).

If you are not familiar with Thrive Market, you can read my full Thrive Market review.

2 | Window & Glass Cleaner

If you are using Windex, please do you and your family a favor and throw it out. Windex contains ingredients like hexoxyethanol and ethanolamine which are both known endocrine disruptors.

The good news is I have a homemade glass and window cleaner that I believe works way better than Windex.

A great storebought alternative is Aunt Fannie’s Glass & Window Cleaning Vinegar Wash. It also gets an A rating from the EWG and works great.

You can buy this glass cleaner on Amazon or Thrive Market where it is usually a few bucks cheaper.

3 | Sink & Toilet Scrub

I have yet to perfect a DIY sink and toilet scrub recipe. But I am working on it.

For now I use Bon Ami Powder Cleanser. It’s natural and earth-friendly.

It works well and is a great alternative to products like Comet which currently has a D rating on the EWG website.

Bon Ami is super affordable too. I purchase it on Thrive Market. It only costs 1.29 for a 14oz container.

And remember, right now you can get up to $20 in shopping credit when you purchase a Thrive Market Membership! (1 month, 3 month, and 1 year memberships are available).

You can also buy it on Amazon. But it costs a little extra there.

4 | Floor Cleaner

I am not very picky about my floor cleaner and I usually just use my homemade all-purpose cleaner or DIY Thieves cleaner whenever I clean my floors.

But if you want something specifically created for floors, Aunt Fannie’s has a fantastic floor cleaner. It’s perfect for hardwood, ceramic tile, bamboo, vinyl, and laminate floors.

It’s been awarded the highest health and safety rating for cleaning products by the EWG.

Floor cleaners like Mop & Glo and Murphy Oil Soap both have F ratings on the EWG website because they contain harmful chemicals.

You can buy this on Amazon or Thrive Market. Like a lot of the other cleaners on this list, it is a little bit cheaper on Thrive Market.

5 | Wood Cleaner

Pledge is a very popular product for cleaning wood surfaces. It’s actually not quite as dangerous as many other store-bought cleaners but it’s definitely not super safe either.

It contains naphtha (petroleum) which has been linked to DNA damage and cancer.

A great alternative is Earth Friendly Furniture Polish. I really, really like this stuff! And it gets an A rating according to the EWG.

This furniture polish is ammonia-free, phosphate-free, chlorine-free, glycol and glycol ether-free, enzyme-free, dye-free, and free of petroleum ingredients.

You can buy it on Amazon or Thrive Market.

6 | Tub & Shower Cleaner

A good, natural tub and tile cleaner is hard to find and even harder to make. I’ve been trying to make my own for a while now but everything I come up with doesn’t quite do the trick.

But I refuse to use products like Arm & Hammer and Clorox. Both of which contain harmful chemicals.

Luckily, I have found one natural tub and shower cleaner that I really like and the EWG gives it an A rating. It’s the tub and tile cleaner from Seventh generation.

It works great and it is free from dangerous chemicals. You can buy it on Amazon.

7 | Dish Soap

It is super important that your dish soap is free of toxins because it is coming in direct contact with your dishes and utensils and also your skin if you hand wash your dishes.

When it comes to dish soap Ajax, Dawn and Cascade are some of the worst offenders. They contain ingredients such as anionic surfactants, sulfuric acid and artificial dyes and fragrances. All of which can have harmful effects on your health as well as the environment.

Fortunately, there are many natural alternatives to toxic dish soaps. Aunt Fannie’s Microcosmic Probiotic Power Dish Soap is amazing. It is free from dyes, petroleum, sulfates, phthalates, parabens, and gluten.

It also contains probiotics which I think is super cool.

You can buy it on Amazon. But I usually buy it from Thrive Market because it’s cheaper.

If you have a dishwasher than I highly recommend Seventh Generation dishwasher packs. They are free of fragrances, dyes, phosphates, and chlorine bleach and have an A rating on the EWG website.

You can buy them on Amazon or Thrive Market.

Tips for Using Natural Cleaning Products

I just want to mention a few important tips before I end this post in regards to using natural cleaning products. I think these tips will be especially helpful to those of you who will be using natural, toxin-free products for the first time.

Clean and sterile are two different things. Many store-bought cleaners that contain very powerful, chemical ingredients eliminate all bacteria from your home and in essence create a sterile environment.

You do not want that. Good bacteria are extremely beneficial to your environment and your health.

So if your goal is to create a sterile environment, you need to do some research and shift your mindset.

Here is a great article about the benefits of good bacteria.

Our culture is obsessed with cleanliness and it can actually do more harm than good.

So if you’re hesitant to switch to natural cleaners because you don’t think they’re powerful enough, you need to remember that is actually a good thing.

You do not want every bit of bacteria wiped from your home. We need good bacteria to fight against bad bacteria.

The second thing is natural cleaning products might cost more than the cleaning products you’re used too.

That is why I prefer to make homemade cleaners if I can because they tend to cost a lot less.

But unfortunately, I haven’t found a homemade alternative for all my favorite cleaners. But I am working on it.

So there are quite a few products I buy instead of making. I get most of them from Thrive Market because they almost always cost less than other retailers including Amazon.

Right now you can get up to $20 in shopping credit when you purchase a Thrive Market Membership! (1 month, 3 month, and 1 year memberships are available).

With that being said, if you have to spend a little more money on natural cleaners just remember your health and your family’s health IS WORTH IT!

Final Conclusions

I hope this guide helps you eliminate the harmful cleaning products from your home! Remember, no matter how well a cleaning product works its not worth using if it contains harmful ingredients.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

Author: Candice Sinner

Hi! I’m Candice & I’m an essential oil junkie. I want to help you break free from toxic chemicals & toxic living so you can live the life God created you to live. Click here to learn more about me and my health journey.

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