Cleaning Products

How clean are your cleaning products?

Cleaning products play a crucial role in maintaining our homes, but it’s essential to be aware of health risks associated with dangerous ingredients that your favorite products may contain.

Why should you be concerned?

Toxic chemicals in cleaning products can cause many health concerns, including…

Cancer

Respiratory illness like Asthma

REproductive
harm

Developmental 
Delays in Children

Chemicals to avoid…

These 10 chemicals that have been linked through studies to cause harm to our health and are found in many common cleaning products.

.1 2-Butoxyethanol

A colorless, flammable liquid that is used as a solvent. Solvents are used in cleaning products to remove dirt without much scrubbing effort. May be listed as Butyl Cellosolve; Ethylene Glycol, 2-BE 

.2  ethanolamines

Emulsifying ingredients found in many cleansing agents. Listed as these ingredients: MEA (monoethanolamine), DEA (diethanolamine), TEA(triethanolamine).

.3  Triclosan

An antibacterial preservative found in cleaning and skin care products. Look for these ingredients: Triclosan (TSC) and triclocarban (TCC).

.4 Fragrance/ Parfum

An engineered scent agent that may contain any combination of 3,000+ chemicals. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets, and therefore can remain undisclosed.

.5  Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Surfactants that aid in removing oil from surfaces and make products foam. Also, look for these ingredients: sodium salt, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium n-dodecyl sulfate, dodecyl sulfate, and sodium dodecyl sulfate.

.6 SODIUM HYDROXIDE

A corrosive alkaline agent found in Disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, drain openers, and bathroom cleaners
Also listed as caustic soda and lye.

.7 Nonylphenol (NP) ethoxylates (NPES)

Surfactants used in some detergents like Stain removers, car wash products, all-purpose cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, liquid laundry detergents, degreasers, and air fresheners.that enhance their effectiveness.

.8 AMMONIA

Ammonia is a colorless gas that is very pungent and composed of nitrogen and oxygen. Found in All-purpose cleaners, window cleaners, stainless-steel cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaners.

.9 quats

Quaternary Ammonia Compounds are a group of chemicals used for a variety of purposes including preservatives, surfactants, antistatic agents, and active ingredients in disinfectants and sanitizers. Look for these ingredients: Benzalkonium chloride, Benzethonium chloride, Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides (C12-16)Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (C14 60%, C16 30%, C12 5%, C18 5%), Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride (C12-14), Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chlorides (C12-18), Didecyldimethylammonium chloride and Dioctyldimethylammonium chloride.

.10 chlorine bleach

A chemical compound used widely as a disinfectant and bleaching agent. The active ingredient in chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite. A risk unique to bleach is the potential for producing a toxic gas. The reaction occurs when bleach is mixed with ammonia — which is found in many glass cleaners, oven cleaners and some all-purpose cleaners — or acids, including vinegar.

Look for these seals of approval

Helpful Apps

There are many apps available that help with determining the safety of a product. Just enter the item or scan the barcode and get safety ratings and more!

EWG Healthy Living and Detox Me 

Try DIY cleaning recipes

There are many of do-it-yourself recipes online. Here are some ingredients to keep on hand that many call for.

Helpful Websites

Search Products that Meet the Safer Choice Standard.

EWG’s Skin Deep Database helps source cleaning products.