The Chemicals That Dirty You’re Cleaning


Probably the last thing that crosses your mind when buying a cleaning product is how it affects your health. Usually what interests the regular buyer is whether the cleaner is effective or not. Maybe consumers have too much faith in the manufactures. But what stands behind all those ingredients with weird names? Most products owe their cleaning properties to potentially hazardous chemicals. This is not the scariest part. Actually, the producers are not legally obliged to disclose all the ingredients they use in the manufacturing process.

Are you shocked? Just think about all the commercial cleaners you use in your everyday life such as:

  • Soaps
  • Scents
  • Detergents
  • Fabric softeners
  • Bleach
  • Scours and other specialized solutions.


While these items can make your home sparkling, they also contribute to the indoor air pollution or induce some diseases. Of course, the ingredients vary in their toxicity.

Some can result in an immediate and acute reaction such as:

  • respiratory or skin irritation
  • others are linked to some chronic and long term effects.

toxic cleaners

Acute Toxicity Products

These ingredients can be divided in two groups – high and low acute toxicity products. The first type can be found in the strong solutions such as oven and drain cleaners and can cause severe burns. Usually the products with high acute toxicity contain chlorine, ammonia and lye. When two of these elements get combined, they produce toxic fumes that can irritate the eyes, throat or lungs. These are especially risky for people who suffer from asthma or heart problems. This type chloramines gases can be found in the oven cleaners. On the other hand, the chlorine can be mixed with acids. Such is the case in the common toilet bowl solutions. There are products have low acute toxicity. This doesn’t mean that they are less harmful. These solutions can contribute to long – term health issues such as hormone disruption and cancer.

Here is a quick list of other volatile ingredients that lurk in your house maintenance routine:

 Butoxyethanol (butyl cellosolve)

– Associated with blood disorders and reproductive problems.

Found in:

  • Carpet
  • Glass cleaners
  • Laundry stain removers


Can cause liver or kidney damage; aggravates asthma symptoms.

MEA (monoethanalomine)

DEA (diethanolamine)

TEA (triethanolamine

All these ingredients react with nitrites, they form a carcinogenic solutions. Nitrites are used as preservatives or contaminants in other in other products so they can easily get in contact with some of these ingredients.

Found in: floor and all-purpose cleaners and detergents.


Did you know that more than 3000 chemicals are incorporated in fragrance mixtures? Some of these can trigger migraines, allergies, and asthma. The synthetic musk in detergents  might also impact the endocrine system and the hormone function. Plthalates is a popular fragrance substance in laundry detergents, deodorizers and fabric softeners. Producers are not required to enlist publicly the chemical formulas because they are considered trade secret. Manufacturers can simply label them “fragrance

chemicals in cleaning products

The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives. The safest option is to make your own solutions that  require time and effort, they ensure a healthy home environment, and are easy on your wallet. For more ideas visit this cleaning website.

Read about the “9 Basic Ingredients To Spring Clean Your Home – Naturally!”

Some great recipe to make your own Toxic Free Detergents:

DIY Homemade Basic Natural Floor Cleaner for all types of floors:

  •  1 gallon of hot water
  • 2 or more cups of White vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Lemon juice
  • A few drops of peppermint essential oils (optional)

For wood or Laminated wood that you want to add a shine to – just add olive oil and if your prefer you can omit the white vinegar.

  • 3/4 Cup Olive oil

I use this regularly in my home on all my floors. It is so simple and my floors have never been so clean and you have a wonderful lemon aroma throughout your house. Simply mix white vinegar, lemon juice and hot water, (for wood or laminated add the olive oil) and mop. There’s no need to rinse just let dry and you will have a natural shine. Since I have started using this toxic-free, green and natural DIY recipe on my laminated wood and linoleum floors they look almost new again and feel so clean!








About the author

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I believe in living green, organically, and natural in every aspect of our lives. My mission is to help educate you on how to live green, help save our environment and to help you and your family live a happier, healthier life!

19 thoughts on “The Chemicals That Dirty You’re Cleaning!”

  1. Pingback: 7 Green Cleaners Substitutes and DIY Cleaning Recipes

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  3. Pingback: Green Oven Cleaning Tips

  4. Mgates, great article! I’m a green cleaning newbie and your post really helped me! I hope more people will read it!

  5. I hope more people will read this post! I’ll share it with my friends. Here is one tip from me.Lemon juice is a great choice for deodorizing counters, cutting boards, and more. The acid in lemon juice kills mold, bacteria, and germs. While not a 100 percent kill rate, you can’t sterilize your house anyway, so if you look at lemon juice as a solidly good deodorizer you will turn to it when you aren’t needing a hospital-level disinfectant job.

    1. Hi Penny,
      Thank you for reading my article and sharing it. Lemons are definitely a terrific green cleaner. Thank you for your input. Have a healthy happy weekend.

  6. Pingback: Simply Natural Saturdays Link Up 4/11 - Brittleby's Corner

    1. Thanks for reading my article and commenting. Vinegar is great to use for cleaning. Have a healthy happy weekend.

  7. Hi Marla,
    It’s a lowdown, “dirty” shame that our cleaning products have toxic ingredients that harm our health and indoor air environment! I can’t wait to make your all-purpose wood floor cleaner. Thank you for enlightening us with these valuable insights regarding chemicals that “dirty our cleaning” at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop! I’m pinning and sharing!

    1. Hi Deborah,
      Thanks for sharing my article. It sure is a dirty shame that cleaning products have so many toxins in them and unfortunately many are not aware of the health risks, especially for children. Have a wonderful Easter. Marla

  8. Very informative and interesting post. There are a bunch of nasty things in peoples homes. I try to keep it simple and use as few products as possible. Thank you for sharing your floor cleaning recipe!

    1. Hi Charlotte,
      Thanks you for reading my article and commenting. You certainly are right about the nasty chemicals in some peoples homes that use conventional cleaners. Keeping it simple is a great idea. Have a healthy happy blessed weekend! Marla

  9. Very interesting, I agree, when people think of cleaning products they are associated with doing good and leaning you house, not making it MORE harmful. With you floor cleaner recipe, does it leave any oily residue on the floor?

    1. No it does not leave a residue – it actually feels really clean. If you use the olive oil on wood or wood laminated don’t over do it because it can get a little slippery for a day or so. The first time I used the olive oil I used more than the recipe called floor because my floors were so dull and we had to be a little careful walking with socks. I always like cleaning with lemon or vinegar because of the fact that there is no residue but just pure natural clean. I hope this helps. Marla

Would love to know your thoughts!

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