Ever been scrubbing down the tub or kitchen floor when a headache suddenly strikes? Or have your eyes started burning and watering while using bleach to clean the toilet? There are reasons the back of common cleaning products are covered with warnings, cautions and alarming statements like “harmful or fatal” or “hazardous to humans and domestic animals”—but yet we still use them in our homes and around our children, pets and selves.
Supermarket aisles are brimming with household cleaning supplies, all boasting fantastic, sparkling results. But what’s in them and what harm could they cause? Here are a few common ingredients, including their potential risks and where you might find them:
Sodium Hypochlorite (a.k.a bleach): Found in countless cleaning products, disinfectants and bleaching agents, bleach is extremely corrosive and can result in irritation or burns to your skin, eyes and lungs. You should never mix it with ammonia, vinegar or other cleaners—it will create an extremely toxic gas that can result in severe damage to your lungs, eyes and mucus membranes. You’ll find this ingredient in popular brands such as: Drano, Lysol, Clorox, Tilex, Cascade, Easy-Off, Scrubbing Bubbles and Palmolive.
Butyl Cellosolve: This chemical is found multiple brand name household items: Tile Guard Grout Pen, Stainless Steel Magic Cleaner, Windex and Sparkle glass cleaners, Formula 409 All-Purpose Cleaner, Orange Glo Spot Remover—to name a few. Studies have linked it to reproductive issues and birth defects, as well as liver and kidney damage.
Nitrobenzene: This is one of those bottles that should have a skull and crossbones slapped on it. This ingredient is found in furniture and floor polishes and can lead to death if ingested. Not to mention, inhaling this chemical while cleaning can lead to shallow breathing and research has shown it to cause cancer in animals after long-term exposure.
Thiourea: This is found in silver and jewelry cleaners, namely in “Tarn-x,” and was deemed a known cancer-causing chemical by California. It’s also on the American Cancer Society’s list on of known carcinogens. Next time you’re at the store, pick up a bottle and read the warning on the back: you’ll be shocked.
On top of all of that, these chemicals are not listed on the back of any cleaning products. Most products direct you to a website where you have to dig to find out the ingredients. Even then, you have to know all the pseudonyms, which is often a really long list of hard-to-read words.
Pretty scary stuff, right? We agree. Start to cycle out your current cleaning products and bring in all-natural products that will keep you, your pets and your family safe with these simple recipes and tips below: