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Healthy Living Healthy Living

Toxic Chemicals Are Hiding in the Most Surprising Household Cleaners

Posted by on Sep. 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM
  • 6 Replies

Toxic Chemicals Are Hiding in the Most Surprising Household Cleaners

Posted by Jeanne Sager on September 10, 2012 at 10:32 AM


cleaningWhy do you clean your house? Go ahead, think about it. It's to keep your family healthy and safe, right? Well, it should be, anyway. But a horrifying new report on household cleaners that are loaded with toxic chemicals is sending us all back to the drawing board to develop a new cleaning routine today. That is, those of us who don't want to make our families SICKER when we clean the house.

The Environmental Working Group, the same non-profit watchdog that helps us keep an eye on the toxins in our fruits and veggies, took a look at the labels of the 2,000-some cleaners we use in our bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms every week. More than half contained chemicals known to harm the lungs, and nearly a quarter had chemicals that cause asthma in otherwise healthy adults. But the fact that they found scary stuff isn't surprising ... it's where they found it that really creeped me out.

You know all those "green" and "earth-friendly" products that we think are better for us?

Maybe not ... it turns out the term "organic" has no legal constraints on it. So anyone can say their product is organic. And terms like "phosphate-free" sound good but are meaningless -- they have been banned in so many states, they're not really used anywhere anyway! Even cleaners with the words "non-toxic" on the label were found to contain toxins -- talk about irony.

More from The Stir: How to Find a Shower Curtain That Isn't Toxic (VIDEO)

Oh, and forget actually trying to suss out good from bad yourself. The EWG report says only 7 percent of all the cleaners studied adequately listed the ingredients. For the rest, the researchers had to scour the web to figure out what the heck was in there.

It's so frustrating I'd like to give up completely anymore. I've always tried to stick to safe cleaners, but it's hard. A lot of the "green" cleaners sound great in theory, but they don't actually work! I finally threw in the towel on green laundry detergent -- literally. I was finding I was throwing out perfectly good clothes because the stuff I was using just wasn't getting the stains out. I try making some stuff myself, but it's time-consuming.

And yet, the EWG study makes me even more committed to trying to find the perfect balance between what's "safe" and what "works." Their hall of shame -- the cleaners that they've deemed scariest -- is a good start. I don't use many on the list anyway, but there are a few that are about to be excised from my cleaning supplies cabinet. 

And if you haven't already, you can cut these options -- there are no safe options out there right now:

  • Air freshener
  • Fabric softener/dryer sheets
  • Drain cleaner (I already use this much-safer option for unclogging drains)
  • Oven cleaner
  • Antibacterial products

How about you? Do you use anything on the "no safe options" list? What are your go-to products for cleaning your house?


by on Sep. 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM
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Replies (1-6):
michiganmom116
by Platinum Member on Sep. 10, 2012 at 1:41 PM

I use Glade Air Freshener, Febreze Air Effects, Formula 409, Comet powder (used for as long as I can remember).  Gotta have the air fresheners because we've got house pets, the 409 is rarely used but I do use it to clean greasy surfaces once in a while (Dawn dishsoap works just as well) and I use the Comet but rarely.  We've never had problems.

My favorite cleaner is a Magic Eraser (usually store brand.)   Sometimes I'll use baking soda to add to the scrubbing power.

Thanks for posting!

mandee1503
by Silver Member on Sep. 10, 2012 at 2:53 PM

We don't use fabric softner or bounce sheets, I use the bounce bar. We do use comet for the toliets though.

alyciajoseph
by Alycia on Sep. 10, 2012 at 3:11 PM
I use everything lol... Dryer sheets are my favorite! Nothing for unclogging though, my husband use to be a plumber so he fixes everything. Comet is by far my favorite!! Barely use air fresheners my kids have one in there room. Clorox/Lysol wipes, magic eraser, toilet bowl cleaner, bleach, I do use a steam mop for my kitchen!
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sassymomntx1961
by Yvonne on Sep. 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM

I use the renuzit odor eliminater in a side compartment of the covered litter box I have for my 2 cats.I use amonnia for most of my cleaning.

GOD first ppl next things last you cant go wrong and w/ GOD and JESUS around you,you will be a a triple strand rope

sassymomntx1961
by Yvonne on Sep. 11, 2012 at 4:45 PM

I just used the baking and vineger to see if it works on my kitchen sink.It was funny to watch it foaming lol

GOD first ppl next things last you cant go wrong and w/ GOD and JESUS around you,you will be a a triple strand rope

Rota
by Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 7:13 PM

I absolutely love my Shaklee green, natural cleaning products. They work and they save me money. The concnetrated cleaner ( Basic H) comes in a 16 ounce bottle. I use 3 drops of it in a 16 ounce bottle of water to make window and glass cleaner. This ends up costing less than 1 cent for the 16 ounces. The all purpose cleaner is also made from the concentrate- using about 1/2 tsp- 1 tsp in  16 ounces of water. This rivals 409 etc etc and costs me about 3 cents.The degreaser is also made from this concentrate and costs about 5 cents and it works. I used it to clean the microwave bottom which is above my stove. Got all the grease off.   The savings aren't that great for laundry but the product works and leaves no residue or odor.  The fabric dryer sheets are  reusable until they disappear- so you can use them about 3-5 times. No odor/fragrance so they won't affect people with allergies and asthma. I love the dish washing liquid and powder. My dishes are clean and no chlorine smell. Ladies, you have got to try it. The products really do work and if you don't like it, you can get your money back. Let me know if you want more info. PS> These products were some of Oprah's favorites. They were even mentioned in Parent magazine as being kid friendly. Oh, talking of being kid friendly.  A friend of mine left her basic H concentrate in the bathroom and her young boys decided to take the bottle and use it to brush their teeth. The mom called poison control, they looked up the ingredients and told my friend that it won't hurt them.

Can't say enough great things about it-  I love it.

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