If you are using conventional household cleaning products you may need to rethink your choices. Many household cleaners are toxic. If you want to find out more about the toxic substances that have made their way into your home, read on.

Chemical ingredients that you should never use

Heavenly Homes Cleaning advises that it’s best to check the labels before you put them in your shopping cart. Organic chemist and professor for School Chemistry at the University of Melbourne; Ian Rae says that consumers need to be vigilant about the products that contain bleaches and disinfectants that contain hypochlorite. ‘Bleaches are the most dangerous if they get on your skin, very few of the others are dangerous in the quantities that are in there,’ says Rae.

He further added that products that have hypochlorite contain caustic soda and can prove to be quite dangerous if there are splashes. You can even get  chemical burns if it is left on the skin for a few minutes.

Lye or sodium hydroxide

Not only is this an extremely corrosive chemical harmful to humans but also to the environment. It is not very common today, but it is still found in drain openers and oven cleaners.


You will find chlorine in scouring powders, mildew removers, household tap water, laundry whiteners and toilet bowl cleaners. There are many ways in which you get exposed to chlorine.

Says chemical engineer, Donna Kasuska, ‘you’re getting exposed through fumes and possibly through skin when you clean with it.’ As your water also has chlorine, you get exposed to it every time you wash your hands or shower. While this cannot be avoided, you can avoid using products that contain chlorine.


Phthalate is found in most fragrant products such as dish soap, toilet paper, or air fresheners. Companies don’t necessarily disclose the components of their scents because of propriety laws. This is why you never find the word phthalates on a product label. However, any product that has the word fragrance printed on the label means there are bright chances that it contains phthalates.   


Triclosan is found in many hand soaps and quite a few liquid dishwashing detergents that are generally labelled ‘antibacterial.’ An aggressive antibacterial, triclosan is deadly as it is known to promote drug-resistant bacteria.

Alicia Stanton, MD; states, ‘the American Medical Association has found no evidence that these antimicrobials make us healthier or safer, and they’re particularly concerned because they don’t want us overusing antibacterial chemicals.

 Ingredients that cause asthma

  • Benzalkonium chloride or quaternary ammonium compound is mainly used in homes as a disinfectant. It’s found in floor cleaners
  • Limonene which gives certain products a ‘lemony’ smell is found in cleaning agents with fragrance
  • Isothiazolinones are used in quite a few laundry liquid soaps and washing up solutions

You may well ask; if all the products have chemicals, what choice do you have? The answer is simple. There are umpteen all-natural organic product substitutes available in the market. With a bit of know-how, you can even make a batch from the products available in your kitchen cabinet.