The most popular cleaning products found in the grocery store often have toxic ingredients. To keep profits high, companies use very inexpensive ingredients which include petroleum based surfactants, conditioners and preservatives that are extremely cheap compared to their less toxic counterparts. Most will contain water, which requires a significant amount of preservatives to prevent bacteria and mold growth, and believe it or not, the fragrances are often the most toxic ingredients in these products.
Some of the toxic ingredients cause immediate health concerns, such as rashes, allergic reactions, asthma issues, watery eyes, and headaches. I remember I used to get headaches every time I cleaned the bathroom, every time... yet I never put two and two together, even when my hands would get all red and the skin would crack from cleaning. This is not normal, folks.
There are also toxic ingredients that cause long term health issues to the reproductive system, decrease in fertility, menstrual changes, Immune suppression, liver and kidney damage, asthma and lung damage, hormone disruption, and cancers. These are slower changes happening over longer periods of time so you really don't associate them with any of your products. But once the toxins get into your body, they stay in your body and cause damage.
sometimes a company that has built their reputation on being non toxic, gets purchased by large corporations, who then change their products' ingredients to reduce their production costs. Companies like Burt's Bees, Seventh Generation, and Method now have products that are no longer non toxic (some are, some aren't you have to read the ingredients), yet most people don't realize that the formulations have changed and now, may contain toxic, petroleum-derived surfactants, preservatives, and fragrances. I tell you this because you never know when a company decides to sell to a large corp. that is only concerned about the bottom line. All that is left is their green reputation and toxic ingredients.
How can I tell if a cleaning product is toxic or nontoxic?
This is where it gets tricky! With so many companies claiming to be "green" or "all natural," choosing can be harder than it may seem.
Looking at a company's website doesn't tell the whole story. A company can twist data in their favor and blatantly lie about the ingredients to make consumers think they are safe and nontoxic; the Febreze website is a perfect example. It's a buyer beware scenario when it comes to purchasing nontoxic products.
1. Look for an ingredient list. We are going for complete transparency here. If there aren't any ingredients listed put the product back on the shelf.
2. Use an app: I personally use ThinkDirty and HealthyLiving. These apps will rate the product based on the ingredients, plus they are super handy and easy to use.
4. I also like to read the origin story of the company. What does the company stand for? Do they support any organizations? How do they treat their employees? Are they carbon friendly? And I always read reviews of the products.
How do the toxins get into my body?
There are 3 ways toxins can enter your body: inhalation, ingestion, and absorption. To read more information on this topic you can check out this infographic.
What are non toxic cleaning products?
There are many companies that make completely safe, non toxic cleaning products with new companies popping up every day. You will have to look further than the grocery store shelves to find them, though most are available online.
They use safe preservatives, foaming agents and disinfectants. They don't use plasticizers, petroleum-derived ingredients, or hormone disrupting fragrances.
Do non toxic cleaning products work?
Yes and No. Just like conventional products some are better than others. Look for a list at the end of this blog for my favorite trusted brands that I have tried and use in my own home.
Where can I purchase non toxic cleaning products?
You can find these companies and products online and most offer subscription services, so your cleaning products show up automatically, saving you valuable time.
I have my dishwasher powder and laundry products on auto-ship programs. It makes shopping really easy, I don't have to worry about adding those items to my shopping list or lugging them home from the store. They just show up on my doorstep just as I'm running out...very convenient.
Can I make my own non toxic cleaning products?
ABSOLUTELY! With a few inexpensive ingredients, that you probably have in your home, making your own cleaners is an effective way to transition your home to a non toxic space.
Here are some simple recipes to get you started:
List of Non toxic cleaning brands I use and trust:
I hope you find this information helpful.
Leave a comment below and let me know what non toxic products you've switched to.