Cleaning the home is a job most people don’t want to do, and when it comes to the products we use we assume they must be safe. We know there are toxins in there but is it right to be concerned? Well, yes.
In fact, in many reduce your risk to cancer pages, including this one from Breast Cancer UK, they advise using ‘safer cleaning products’ as a way of reducing the exposure to some of the hazardous chemicals found in household cleaners.
FDA statement on antimicrobial chemicals
Worryingly, the FDA released a statement earlier this year about how many household products do in fact contain antimicrobial chemicals, such as triclosan, that are banned.
There are 19 banned in total, however, it is difficult to know which products contain these chemicals because manufacturers are not required by law to tell us. Personal care products do fall under the jurisdiction but not all household products.
Here are a few tips to help with prevention of over-exposure to some of the bad chemicals:
- Use non-toxic products - Sounds obvious but by checking labels you can see which toxins are in the products and how environmentally friendly they are. Or, you can make your own.
- Get fragrance free products - Products with fragrances often contain dangerous chemicals that you don’t want in the house.
- Find an alternative to bleach
Eight toxins you want to avoid in the home
So, with a few ideas in mind, what are some of the toxins you should be looking out for to keep the family as safe as possible?
- Phthalates - This is a classic toxin to find in fragranced household products. Sometimes the companies don’t even have to disclose that this is in it because it’s part of a fragrance but it can be found in air fresheners, dish soap and even toilet paper.
- Perchloroethylene (PERC) - A neurotoxin, this is commonly found in dry-cleaning along with spot removers or carpet cleaning. If you do use a dry-cleaning service, see if there’s a wet cleaner who can do this with non-chemical solvents.
- Triclosan - One of the named FDA chemicals, this is common in dishwashing detergents and hand soaps.
- Quarternary Amoonium Compounds (QUATS) - Common in fabric softener and most cleaners labelled ‘antibacterial’.
- 2-Butoxyethanol - This is usually found in your multipurpose cleaners for things like the kitchen or window cleaning.
- Ammonia - One that everyone knows, it doesn’t leave streaks once used so is perfect for the ideal finish when polishing bathrooms, jewellery and glass. But it is dangerous.
- Chlorine - Not really one that you can stay away from due to modern life but in the home it’s found in toilet bowl cleaners and things like mildew remover.
- Sodium Hydroxide - Found in oven and drain cleaners, it’s corrosive and can cause burns if it gets in contact with your skin.
How to stay safe with household cleaning products
The easiest way to do this is through buying cleaning products that have been developed to be safe and eco-friendly. By doing this you know that they are free from chemicals and safe for both your health and the environment. Here are 10 of the best natural cleaning products to look at.