Are your household cleaning products actually clean?

Hello and welcome to another week in wellness with Purely Simple Organic Living! This week, we would like to pose a question for all of our readers to consider:

Are your household cleaning products actually clean?

While this question may seem counterintuitive, most common household cleaners and products are actually full of toxic chemicals that are posing a threat to your health! From your dishwasher detergents, to dryer sheets, to air fresheners, to your disinfectants, hazardous chemicals have found their way in almost every cleaning products on the shelves.

You check the labels on your food items, so why not check the labels on the cleaners you are applying all over and in your home? If the ingredients in your household cleaning products look like a sketchy list of chemicals…odds are, it is! Not to mention, it is estimated that only 7% of cleaning products adequately disclosed their ingredients1.

So today we are going to talk about some of the most offensive household cleaners and products that you should probably think twice about smearing all over your counters! By the end of this, hopefully we will make you a more label-savvy consumer, and an even cleaner cleaner! (See what I did there?)

Health Hazards of Common Household Products and Cleaners

The toxic chemicals found in common household cleaners can pose health problems that range from mild-to-severe, depending on the level and duration of exposure. Immediate reactions like irritation of the skin or respiratory tract, headaches, nausea, watery eyes, and chemical burnsare often symptoms of acute exposure.

The more you use these products over time, the more your body can accumulate and store these toxic chemicals. Chronic exposure to some of the chemicals found in common household cleaners are linked to birth defects, fertility problems, hormone disruption, compromised immune system, damage to the central nervous system, increased risk of certain types of cancers and more2,5.

Things to look out for in your household products are cleaners that off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), and those containing chemicals that are considered carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, or neurotoxins. VOC’s include a variety of chemicals that are emitted as gases, a common source being household cleaners and disinfectants, that can cause short and long term adverse health effects5.

Carcinogens are agents known to promote or cause cancer. Endocrine disruptors block or mimic the body’s hormones, interfering with the body’s natural chemical messages2. Lastly, neurotoxins are chemicals that affect the tissue and functioning of the central nervous system. Our skin is one of the largest organs on the body, and its porousness serves to break down chemicals so they are readily absorbed in the body–some reports say it can take merely 26 seconds for something on your skin to be absorbed and show up in your bloodstream.

Household Products and Cleaners to Ditch & Switch

Cleaning Products with Fragrances

If you read the back label of most cleaning products, you will usually find the term “fragrance” somewhere in the list of ingredients. Artificial fragrances in many cleaners can cause symptoms like sneezing, headaches, and respiratory irritation in sensitive individuals, especially those with asthma or allergies2. Despite fragrances being found in almost every household cleaning product, there is little regulatory oversight on the disclosure of these ingredients considering the chemical formulas are “trade secrets”. Research from The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are either known to be toxic or considered potentially toxic4 with prolonged exposure.

Air Fresheners

Most air fresheners are common sources of VOC’s in the home, whose gases contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol propellants3. Each of these chemicals have been cited as causing cancer and brain damage, and are also strong irritants to eyes, skin, and throat3. Additionally, solid air fresheners are usually fatal if consumed by humans or pets3.

Bleach and Disinfectants

These products are often labeled “all-purpose” household cleaners and disinfectants. Both bleach and ammonia fumes can result in acute irritation of the eyes, skin, throat, and lungs and should not be used by people with asthma or allergies2. Bleach and ammonia products should never be mixed, as they produce highly toxic fumes2. Quaternary ammonium compounds like benzalkonium chloride, found in antibacterial cleaners can also cause asthma1.

Dryer Sheets & Fabric Softeners

Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are also loaded with artificial fragrances that cause skin and respiratory irritation, asthma attacks, allergies, etc.6 Other common dryer sheet pollutants include acetaldehyde and benzene, chemicals that are also found in vehicle exhaust and not considered safe at any level6.

Dryer sheets are considered one of the worst offenders for harboring chemicals linked to hormone disruption, like xenoestrogens6. Xenoestrogens mimic the action of estrogen in the body and negatively impact hormone balance. This can lead to increased risk of certain types of cancers as well as thyroid issues2,6. Sleeping in bed sheets, drying off with towels, and wearing clothes that were washed and dried with fabric softeners and dryer sheets surrounds you with these toxic chemicals 24/7!

“Sudsy” Soaps and Cleaners

Sudsing agents in household products like liquid soap and laundry detergent contain ingredients such as diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), PEG compounds, etc. that are known carcinogens2. These agents are also harmful to the environment, as some of them do not break down after being washed down the drain and treated with our wastewater. With that, these chemicals get discharged into our water supply and threaten the wildlife2.

Recommended Alternatives to Household Cleaners & Products

Here at Purely Simple Organic Living, we take a holistic view of a person’s wellness, which includes considering all the environmental toxin exposures that may be negatively affecting their health. While switching from chemical-laden products to more natural cleaning solutions seems daunting and expensive…it doesn’t have to be!

First, start by checking the labels of your household products and decide what you want to be exposing yourself and/or your family to. Keep in mind, alot of these labels don’t fully disclose all their ingredients…so better safe than sorry! To vet different cleaning products and brands, we recommend checking the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) site at EWG.org to look up products that are graded on a passing or failing letter grade.

We recommend the Thieves concentrated cleaning line from Young Living (which we use and sell in our office), as it utilizes therapeutic grade essential oils that gives you the benefits of the oils while you clean (win/win…am I right?). Or, if you want to be certain about what all is going in your cleaners, sticking with simple, inexpensive ingredients like water, liquid castile soap, vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda are great, non-toxic alternatives to cleaning in the home.

As always, if you have any concerns about chemical accumulation from household products and cleaners, we have a variety of ways to support you in getting your body balanced and back to healthy! We offer customized detox programs for our clients looking to effectively rid their bodies of toxins in a safe, natural way. For the month of July, as part of our “Health is Wellness” initiative, we are proud to offer specials that include $50 off a New Client Appointment or a $79 Urine/Saliva Analysis (RBTI test) + Face/Tongue/Nail evaluation! Follow our Facebook page to keep up with our latest events and specials, you don’t want to miss out!

Call us today at (512) 265-0303 opt. 1 to schedule your FREE 30 minute discovery call to find out more about how Purely Simple Organic Living can equip and empower you to lead a life full of happiness and wellness! Also, feel free to join our private Facebook page You Are The Seed to be part of a powerful community and learn to conquer autoimmune disease naturally. Have a blessed weekend!

Christina Sessums MSW, CNHP, CAHP
Autoimmune Disease Specialist
Call Today: (512) 265-0303
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  1. https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/findings
  2. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/how-toxic-are-your-household-cleaning-supplies
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11397-household-chemical-products-and-their-health-risk
  4. https://www.womensvoices.org/2018/09/26/new-data-reveals-one-third-of-all-fragrance-chemicals-linked-to-human-environmental-harm/
  5. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality#Sources
  6. https://draxe.com/dryer-sheets/