8 Icky Cleaning Chemicals to Avoid

According to environmental experts, there are at least 62 toxic chemicals lingering in an average household.  

They can be found in different products, such as in the case of paints and cleaning agents, among others.  

They can lead into adverse health effects, with the most common being asthma, cancer, neurotoxicity, allergic reactions, reproductive disorders, and hormone disruption, among others.  

The next time you clean your home, make the choice to be more conscious about the products you are using.  

Some of them can do you more harm than good.

From the outside, you might see their effectiveness when it comes to cleaning or filling your home with a clean smell.  

In reality, however, based on what can be seen by the naked eye, they can have hazardous ingredients, which can put your health at risk.  

The following are some of the cleaning chemicals you should consider avoiding, which will contribute to having a healthier household:  


Some of the things inside the house containing this compound include dish soaps, air fresheners, toilet papers, and other scented items.

They are bad for the health because of the reputation for disrupting the endocrine system, reducing sperm count, and contributing to skin irritation, amongst others.

To avoid these health problems, choose fragrance-free products, or use pure essential oils in a ceramic diffuser versus traditional air fresheners. 

Perchloroethylene (PERC)  

This chemical is often found in aerosol paint concentrates, oven cleaners, laundry aids, and dry cleaning solutions, among others.

According to several studies, it is hazardous because of its classification as a neurotoxin and a possible carcinogen, with the most serious effects emanating from its inhalation.

To avoid the problems associated with the presence of PERC in household chemicals, some of the viable alternatives include liquid carbon dioxide or household cleaners made from all-natural ingredients. 

I love a mixture of 20 drops each basil oil and orange oil, 1/4 cup vinegar or Sal-Suds, and 3 cups filtered water. I use it as a natural and frugal disinfectant for cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, pet accidents on the linoleum and carpet, and other surfaces around our home.


This is commonly found in products labeled as antibacterial, including dishwashing soaps, body soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, deodorants, and different products for personal care.

The absorption of triclosan, which commonly happens through skin contact or contact from the lining of the mouth, can affect muscle function, hormone regulation, and can trigger allergic reactions.

According to experts, avoiding the said health risks can be possible by choosing soaps with simpler list of ingredients or those that are all-natural.   

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS)  

Some of the most common products containing this toxic chemical include fabric softeners and products classified as being antibacterial.

Because it is also classified as antimicrobial, some of its health risks include contact dermatitis, asthma, and other respiratory problems.

Avoiding these problems can be possible if you will choose to use natural fabric softeners, like in the case of vinegar added to the final rinse cycle of your washer or dishwasher. Or my favorite, untreated, all-natural wool dryer balls with a drop of lavender oil added to the dryer load. 


This chemical is most commonly found in floor strippers, surface cleaners, spot cleaners, window cleaners, ink removers, and other multipurpose cleaners.

The high level of glycol ether in products containing this chemical has been linked to sore throat, kidney and liver damage, pulmonary edema, and narcosis, among others.

To prevent these health problems, experts recommend to just use a mixture of baking soda, essential oil, and vinegar to make your very own all-purpose cleaner.  


This chemical has a very pungent odor and can be commonly found in polishing waxes, bathroom cleaners, jewelry cleaners, and other multipurpose cleaners.

The risk from this chemical occurs when people are exposed to high concentration of such, which can lead to allergy, asthma, and other breathing problems.

A great alternative to products containing ammonia would be vodka or fluoride-free charcoal toothpaste, which are natural cleaners. Vodka or cane alcohol can be used to clean windows, mirrors and glass for a streak-free shine. Toothpaste can be used for jewelry and those hard-to-get nooks and crannies.


Some of the household items containing chlorine include toilet bowl cleaners, scouring powders, laundry whiteners, mildew removers, and even tap water.

Exposure to chlorine can commonly lead into respiratory and thyroid problems.

To prevent its health risks, experts recommend the use of natural cleaners such as vinegar or borax powder, and using carbon filters to remove chlorine concentration in water.  

Sodium Hydroxide 

Drain cleaners and oven cleaners are two of the most common items in the household containing sodium hydroxide.

As the chemical is known for being extremely corrosive, it can be damaging for the skin and can cause a sore throat when it is inhaled.

Rather than using product containing sodium hydroxide for cleaning, a better idea is to use baking soda mixed into a paste with water or seltzer as a natural alternative.  

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