Healthy Living Tip #22: Chemical Free Cleaning Products

Healthy living tip for this week is to remove all of the chemical cleaning products from your home and personal skin care products. Your health matters!

Healthy Living Tip: Chemical Free Cleaning Products

Using chemical free cleaning products in your home has numerous health benefits. Before you clean your house consider the following benefits of greening your cleaning routine. 

Health Benefits of Chemical Free Cleaning Products

  • Eczema: Toxins, pollutants, and allergens can all affect skin health. When toxins react with the largest organ in the body eczema and other skin irritations can develop. If you or a family member struggles with eczema or unexplained skin rashes remove all chemical laden cleaning products and skin care products from your home.
  • Allergies: The effects of chemicals in your home are two fold when it comes to allergies. One effect is creating an overly clean home. Antibacterial soaps, use of bleach, and other harsh chemicals found in cleaning products creates an overly sanitized home. There is a theory that removing all of the bacteria from our environment does not adequately build up immune systems in our young children thereby causing an allergy when they are exposed to dander and pollen as they grow. Secondly, simply using the chemicals found in cleaning products can cause allergies. Shortness of breathe, airway reactions, and rashes can all occur form exposure to the chemicals found in non-green cleaning supplies.
  • Eye and Airway Irritation: The fumes from harsh chemicals found in cleaning supplies can irritate the sensitive tissue in and around eyes and lungs. Some chemicals have even been linked to asthma in children, especially those used in schools. If a bottle warns of harmful damage if splashed in the eyes, that should raise huge red flags on their safety of that product. 
  • Poisoning: One child poisoned a year is far too many in my opinion. Unfortunately, 1.5 million children under the age of 20 are poisoned every year and many of those children die from the effects of the poison. 

Dangerous Ingredients in Chemical Filled Cleaning Products

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, SLS is a “moderate hazard” that has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption. By definition, SLS is an emulsifier and foaming agent commonly used in cosmetic products and industrial cleaners. SLS is present in most body washes, soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and laundry detergent. Although originally derived from coconuts, it is contaminated with a toxic byproduct during the manufacturing process. The Environmental Working Group also reports that SLS may also be listed as sodium dodecyl sulfate, sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt, sodium salt sulfuric acid, sodium dodecyl sulfate, aquarex me or aquarex methyl.
  • Triclosan: Found in antibacterial hand soaps, this toxic chemical is believed to disrupt thyroid function and hormone levels. When found in wastewater triclosan has been shown to change the gender of aquatic life. As previously mentioned, overuse of antibacterial products is believed to lead to the overgrowth of bacteria resistant to antibacterial treatment.
  • Synthetic Fragrances: The name alone covers a wide range of toxic chemicals added to perfumes, body soaps, shampoos, deodorants, fabric softeners, detergents and many other home and personal use products. These chemicals can lead to cancer, hormone disruption and other negative health effects even at low levels.
  • Ammonia and bleach: First off, do not ever mix ammonia and beach together. These two chemicals produce a toxic gas when combined. Ammonia and bleach are two common yet highly toxic chemicals used to clean homes around the world. Both are irritants and can have serious health effects when they contact mucous membranes or are ingested. Why would you take the risk of bringing these chemicals in your home? There are safer and just as effective alternatives.

Healthier Cleaning Alternative Options

  • Look for cleaning products that use coco sulfate instead of sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate.
  • Essential oil cleaning mixes and shampoos like the ones found here.
  • Use vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide in place of your toxic cleaning products. I use vinegar as my fabric softener, hydrogen peroxide to kill mold in my bathrooms, and baking soda to scrub film in my kitchen and bathrooms.

Seventh Generation and BioKleen are two of my favorite chemical free cleaning product companies to use in my home.

Thank you for joining me in my 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips series.

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