Why Call It Cleaning If We Just Spray Toxic Chemicals All Over The House?

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Sadly, the majority of people in the world still use toxic and potentially dangerous chemicals to “clean” their homes with. What I don’t understand, however, is why it’s called “cleaning” when it’s anything but? Toxic ingredients like Butyl Cellosolve, a neurotoxin which causes liver and kidney damage and is found in most cleaners; Cyclodextrin, which causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and is found in Febreze; VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, which lead to “sick building syndrome”; and chlorine bleach which releases dioxin, furans and other organochlorines into the air, and can lead to cancer, birth defects, and developmental/reproductive disorders, are found in most common household cleaners sold at your local store. How can spraying that stuff all over your home and family be called cleaning? If anything, it’s just making your home (and health) dirtier and worse off than it was before you started!

Our fascination with keeping ourselves germ-free has seemingly made our immune systems suffer, and in turn is making us sicker. Constant use of antibiotics, triclosan, antibacterial sprays, and hand sanitizers is slowly crippling our body’s ability to take care of itself. Add in the toxic chemicals we clean our houses with, and we are under constant assault by cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting products. Is it any wonder then that annual global cancer rates could increase by 50% from 10 million new cases worldwide back in 2000 to 15 million new cases by 2020? That’s a huge jump! In fact, the rise of breast cancer incidences is being attributed to chemicals in cleaning products and the the doubling of the testicular cancer rate is being blamed on common environmental chemicals. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

Studies have shown that antibacterial cleaners and soaps don’t work any better than regular ones. Period. The end. There is absolutely no need for these type of toxic cleaners in our homes unless we happen to be running a hospice unit out of our living room. From WebMD:

Allison Aiello, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, headed a group that analyzed several studies comparing people who washed their hands with regular or antibacterial soap. In all but one trial, she tells WebMD, “there was no difference between groups, either in bacteria on the hands or in rates of illness.” In a single study, people who used antibacterial soap did have fewer bacteria on their hands, but only if they washed for 30 seconds, 18 times a day, for five days straight.

So not only do they not work any better than “regular” soaps and cleaners, but they also are harming the environment and in turn, us. And we have to stop doing damage to ourselves, especially when we know we are doing it! People who smoked cigarettes 50 years ago were told that they were good for you and doctors were recommending Lucky Strikes. Smoke ’em if you got ’em! Soon after, the news started breaking that cigarettes basically only caused cancer and emphysema and weren’t good for you at all. Not everybody quit, of course, and people continue to smoke – but no one can say that they didn’t know they were going to get cancer from them anymore. We are that point with our cleaning supplies, in that we are finally being told that the toxic chemicals in the common household cleaners are causing cancer, birth defects, and assorted other ailments. It’s time we give them up for good and start using products that actually do what they are designed to do – clean.

After all, you can’t call it “cleaning” if all you are doing is spraying cancer-causing chemicals all over your home.

For more info on natural cleaning, check out an older post of mine The Natural Way To Clean Everything In Your House.

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  1. I agree with you entirely. In 1999 when I first started becoming ill from the chemicals surrounding me, I felt unlucky. Now I’m glad my body let me know how harmful those products were.

  2. Thank you for such a great post, the best way to get the word out is posting great blogs like this! It’s so very true. What do you use to clean your house? My favorite “cleaner” is apple cider vinegar, I use it as a laundry detergent instead of using chemical products.
    As I always like to say, our health is our wealth!

  3. Hi David, thanks for this perspective. Once I switched to plant-based, non-toxic personal soaps and household cleaners I noticed my dry skin eczema issues went away and I don’t have to smell any carcinogens. I think a lot of people like 100% antibacterial to get some weird ‘clean’ feeling, but really, we are all made of bacteria. Not 100% of bacteria is bad, only a disrupted balance. Like you said, it’s not only useless, it’s harmful. It also increases antibiotic resistance.

  4. Ive recently been helping out a small cleaning firm and mentioned to the owner that the products she supplies all her staff with are toxic to the environment. Understandably she is only thinking about the cost of the products to her business which need to be of good quality and cheap considering the staff probably use them indiscriminately and in exessive amounts. However I pointed out that if she set time aside or employed someone to make up solutions of non toxic cleaning products from things like white vinegar and bicarb etc that she could save a fortune AND turn her cleaning business around with a brand new marketing plan for eco cleaning. duh.. some folks just can’t see it can they?
    I shan’t be giving up on this tho..:-)

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