Nasty, nasty chemical cleaners: the top 10 criminals

Undoubtedly, any one of us could look in a cupboard and under the sink and find bottles and cans of household cleaners that contain the harshest and most toxic of chemicals.  But do we really need them?

Don’t get me wrong… I want my house clean and germ-free too, but what if the means to that end requires us to spray, scrub and wash surfaces that we touch… that our kids touch countless times every day… with harsh chemicals? Kinda sounds like we’re defeating our purpose!

Knowing the worst household offenders is the best place to start making this change.  So here is the condensed rap sheet on those “bottled criminals”:

  • Bleach – can cause irritation & burns, and edema or coma if ingested
  • Mold & Mildew Cleaners – contents include known carcinogens and chemicals that can cause fluid in the lungs, memory loss and shortness of breath
  • Oven Cleaners – can cause irritation & burns, and effect reflexes and tissue if ingested
  • Ammonia – damaging to eyes, respiratory tract and skin
  • Air Fresheners – commonly contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen
  • Dishwasher Detergent – contains highly concentrated/highly poisonous chlorine in a dry form
  • Laundry Products – contains elements that can cause liver damage and can irritate and/or burn skin, eyes, mucous membranes and the respiratory tract
  • Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo – contains a known carcinogen that damages the kidneys, liver and nervous system, plus irritants & burning contents
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaners – contents can damage kidneys and the liver, irritate skin and eyes, and cause edema or coma if ingested
  • Drain Cleaners – contains elements that can damage kidneys, liver & the digestive tract, and depress the nervous system

Are you scared yet?  I know I am! If you want more details and the actual chemical contents, click here, but I assure you, you won’t like what you read.  It convinced me that I really, really need to give up a bunch of these commercial cleaners!

So… what to do? I say the answer is in three little words: distilled white vinegar.  It has more uses than you can imagine — it’s safe, it’s environmental and it’s inexpensive.

We already know that it can clean a clogged drain like a champ, but did you also know it can: cut grease, brighten your laundry, remove mineral deposits and stains, clean tarnished metals, remove carpet stains, clean the floor, remove stains from clothing and (what we all want)… kill germs and sanitize!

VinegarTips.com will give you 75 ways to use and formulate vinegar for everyday cleaning and 20 tips for using vinegar with your laundry!  I’m impressed!

The only other thing that comes to mind is “do they sell vinegar in barrels” (!?!).

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"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

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10 thoughts on “Nasty, nasty chemical cleaners: the top 10 criminals

  1. Doreen, I got a gigantic container of vinegar at Costco. Best thing too, it’s so darned cheap and lasts forever!

    When I bought some Shaklee cleaning products, the salesgirl gave me handout with information about cleaners and our health. One of the stats, which I don’t have handy, indicated that moms who are home cleaning and and surrounded by these cleaners had higher risks of cancers and in some cases higher incidents of cancer. I’m paraphrasing of course but it was enough to scare me!

    I definitely can see that my house is just as clean using non-toxic cleaners as it was using the toxic stuff. I have to agree with you, vinegar is my favorite one, not even some of the other “green” products can clean the way it and baking soda can!

    OneGreenMommys last blog post..What Does Green Mean to You?

  2. Nanditha – I’m going to stock up too, but maybe a barrel would be a little much, huh? :)

    One Green Mommy – scary statistic, isn’t it? But amazing what we can do with the alternatives!

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