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The Shocking Truth Behind Common Household Cleaners
By Tamra Speakman - April 07, 2014

The Shocking Truth Behind Common Household Cleaners

It seems we are bombarded with toxins, pesticides, and chemicals from every front now a days. Many people have chronic illnesses or have a family member with one. Most women spend time daily cleaning their house thinking that they are helping the health of their family by keeping a clean environment. What most women are unaware of is that the very cleaners they are cleaning their houses with have highly toxic ingredients in them.

Increased Knowledge, Increased Chemicals

The Bible tells us in Daniel 12 that in the end times knowledge will increase. Sometimes knowledge increasing can be a good thing sometimes it can be a bad thing. Because of the increase of knowledge we are now exposed to over 80,000 different chemicals. Many of those are said to have been registered since the 1950's. Chemicals have been found in tumors, breast milk, children and even newborns. We have a tendency to believe that if it's for sale at the store it must be safe however, less then 20% of chemicals have been tested for toxicity or safety in children. The percentage is even lower for general testing on chemicals. Children are exposed more to toxins and are more affected by toxins than adults. Children and babies are on the floor and putting things in their mouths. Because of their immature systems and rapid growth children can not detoxify as easily as adults.

How Toxins Affect Our Body

These synthetic ingredients can affect our body in many negative ways. They can create immediate reactions in our body such as skin rashes, headaches, or allergic reactions. Ingredients such as these can have a long term affect on our body by contributing to the overall toxic load. Many have been linked to acute and chronic illness, such as allergies, eczema, asthma, cancer, autism, mood disorders, attention deficit disorder, migraines, miscarriages, hormone imbalance, endocrine disruption, early onset puberty, autoimmune disease, and chronic bronchitis among others. Here is a list of just some of the ways toxins can act on our body.
  • Neurotoxins: alter brain activity, cause headaches, loss of intellect.
  • Endocrine disruptors: mimic human hormones , can affect reproductive development, premature puberty, miscarriage, menstrual irregularity, growth and behavior.
  • Carcinogens: can cause cancer or cancerous tumor growths.
  • Respiratory irritants: Breathing problems, asthma, allergies, lung damage.
  • Skin and mucous membrane irritants: rashes, burns, eczema.

Toxins in Common Household Cleaners

Let's take a look at some of the toxins in a few common household cleaners.


Breathing fumes from bleach can cause lung and respiratory irritation, asthma, allergies, and can cause chest pain. When mixed with acids and ammonia bleach can form chlorine gas which is highly toxic and irritating to your respiratory system. Bleach is toxic to fish, and marine animals and can linger in the marine environment.


This is another cleaner that seems simple but is an irritant to the respiratory system, eyes, mucous membranes and can also cause chest pains and skin burns. Large amounts of exposure have been linked to blindness, lung damage, and heart problems.

Scouring powder (cleanser)

These can contain both silica and chlorine bleach (covered above). Silica is harmful if inhaled and  some forms of silica are possible carcinogens.

Furniture Polish

Furniture polish contains petroleum distillates which can cause nerve damage. Some contain formaldehyde which is carcinogenic.

Antibacterial soap

Many cleaning products contain endocrine disruptors such as Triclosan. Antibacterial soaps can also lead to an increase in  antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Air fresheners

Air fresheners and metered air fresheners can have extreme amounts of toxins including, Acetone, Butane, Petroleum, Propane, Perfume, Benzene, and formaldehyde. The joint affects of these can be toxic to almost every organ system in the body. Companies do not have to disclose all ingredients in common household cleaners. Because of this many cleaners contain dangerous hidden ingredients as well. Women's Voices for the Earth did some independent testing on many cleaners and have shared their disturbing results in this PDF Dirty Secrets.

Herbal Cleaning Solutions

Unfortunately this is only a small part of all the toxins in our household cleaners. One way we can lower our families' exposure to these toxins is by switching to non toxic cleaning products. This month the ladies will be sharing many great recipes and ideas for using herbs and natural substances to clean your homes and eliminate toxins. You can also find many recipes in the book The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier.


  1. Sarah D.
    I use a vinegar, water, and lavender oil spray, as well as baking soda, orange peel vinegar, and lemons to clean. I had no idea lemons sliced in half could be used to get rid of hard water deposits! Worked better than the chemicals I'd tried. Not to mention just scrubbing the soap scum from the tub with a "magic" eraser thing and water; no chemicals! Looking forward to the blog posts this month. I love learning more "DIY" stuff. =)
  2. sandy
    I thought it would be hard to throw away all my cleaners, but then I found that natural things work just a well, some even better. Now I even make my own laundry soap and it works better with no more itch from detergent.
  3. Shannon Payne (@SimplySaidMom)
    Our family is in the process of going chemical free! We've already switched laundry detergent (we now use Ecos), dish soap (using Mrs. Meyer's), and all-purpose spray (using Seventh Generation or JR Watkins). I still want to know things are clean, smell clean, and not causing harm to my family or our pets!