10 Dangerous Chemicals in Household Cleaning Products

Are you aware of the many dangerous chemicals found in many of the household cleaning products you use everyday? It would be pretty easy to assume that there are no real dangers to using cleaning products. After all, clean is good! Right? Wrong. Often times these common household cleaners leave a lingering residue that we can’t see or smell. We are damaging our health even after the whole cleaning process is all said and done. When these cleaners are sprayed, it was found that some release up to as many as 133 volatile organic compounds and contained up to 8 different chemicals that were classified as toxic. Today I’ve compiled a list consisting of 10 of the most dangerous chemicals in cleaning products.

Before we go any further let me just tell you why I created this website. I created this place to share the wealth and knowledge about owning a steam cleaner. I truly believe that everyone around the world should own a steam cleaner because of their amazing ability to sanitize an entire home. Click here to see some great steam cleaners for any budget!

10 Dangerous Chemicals in Household Cleaning Products 

  1. Triclosan: You will find triclosan in a a lot of detergents and dishwashing liquids. Basically any type of product that has ‘antimicrobial’ on its label. We want to be careful of this ingredient because of its potential endocrine system disrupting properties. What’s funny about the whole antimicrobial thing is that the American Medical Association stated that there is actually no evidence that these products will make us any safer (i.e. hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps). In fact they even think we are worse off when using them because it gives microbes a chance to build resistance to these chemicals. So that is something to keep in mind next time you are thinking about using that hand sanitizer you keep in your purse at all times! You are just making the bad stuff stronger! There are plenty of products that do not contain triclosan and are alcohol based. Same effects without all the harmful side effects.
  2. Phthalates: You will find these in a lot of air freshener type products. Companies aren’t forced to list what is in their fragrance blends, for reasons I could not imagine why. Phthalates are another endocrine damaging chemical that when found in high amounts of a man’s blood can reduce sperm count. The exposure to this chemical is mainly through inhaling it from those popular air fresheners you see on television. I don’t want to drop any names but you get the point. Aerosols with ‘fragrance’ listed as one of their ingredients more than likely contain phtalates but they generally won’t have to tell you that, because they by law aren’t required to mention anything other than that it is just fragrance. Something to be cautious of are these chemicals in soaps. The skin absorbs everything it comes into contact with! Be careful folks.
  3. Quarternary Ammonium Compounds: For short, we will call this chemical “Quats“. Quats is another antibacterial/antimicrobial chemical. You’ll find these a lot in many kinds of fabric softener products. The scary part is these are used on your sheets, a fabric you lay on every night! This chemical could easy lead to irritated skin conditions such as contact dermatitis. Possible side effects also include respiratory disorders such as asthma. If you are still using fabric softeners, stop! They aren’t necessary and are harming your health.
  4. Perchloroethylene: Again, to shorten this we will call this “Perc”. You will commonly find this chemical in your local dry cleaners cabinet. If you have spot removes or carpet cleaners there is a good chance you will find Perc in there too. This chemical is a risk to you because it acts as a neurotoxin and is possibly carcinogenic. Apparently people who lived in the same buildings that dry cleaners were located reported symptoms of dizziness and a loss of coordination. I once heard that the dry cleaning profession produced the most millionaires of any entrepreneurial effort. I am just glad I stuck to steam cleaning, I would most definitely rather have my health than millions!
  5. Chlorine: The pool cleaner, is that what you first thought of? This is scary because it’s found in our tap water. Hopefully you have a water filter, but for those that don’t definitely need to grab one now! Unfortunately exposure is pretty much impossible to avoid, it’s in our showers and in so many cleaning products that it would make your head spin! For starters, get water filters for your kitchen sink and shower.
  6. 2-Butoxyethanol: You will mostly find this ingredient in window cleaning solutions. This chemical gives these cleaners a distinctively sweet smell. This chemical is one of many known as “glycol ethers”. These are basically very strong solvents. It can cause all kinds of problems from live and kidney damage to pulmonary edema. I used to work with a lot of window cleaning products so this is unsettling news but I am just glad to not be working with such chemicals any more. Now it is just steam!
  7. Sodium Hydroxide: This is also known as lye. It is so crazy to watch people make soap with lye. They wear gloves and the full protective outfit, because this stuff is so corrosive that if it gets on your skin can cause severe burns. Pretty scary considering they later will wash their body with their soap. You’ll find it in drain cleaners too, but we all know to avoid those like the plague unless it’s an emergency.
  8. Ammonia: I still remember my first job and having to pour an extremely potent version of ammonia. The purest you could get. I made glue in a factory and even though we had protective goggles and mask, could never fully get away from the smell and burn of this chemical. You will find this chemical in a lot of polishing agents and window cleaners. It basically dissolves grime on contact and evaporates. If you suffer from asthma this chemical could cause huge problems for you because it is a major irritant. If you get a lot of exposure to ammonia, get away from it. It could ultimately lead to chronic bronchitis and asthma.
  9. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): SLS is a skin irritant and is actually toxic to the environment. You can find these in almost any cleaning product, even in shampoos. What was the idea behind that? Let’s make shampoo and put this ingredient that irritates your head? Crazy world we live in. This product is also possibly carcinogenic so this is definitely another chemical to get out of your life.
  10. Phosphates: You can find phosphates in dishwashing and laundry detergents. If you’re cleaning your bathroom, you’ll probably find phosphates in there too. The problem with phosphates is that they are carried into our water waste systems and are very hard to break down by the processing systems. They increase the growth of algae and decrease the oxygen that our fish friends need.


Pretty scary stuff right? This is why I made the switch from using all these dangerous chemical cleaners to steam cleaning! If you wanna check out how a steam cleaner could benefit you, visit our page: The Benefits of Having A Steam Cleaner. 

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