Why Healthy Home Cleaning Is Important

According to a US Environmental Protection Agency report to Congress on indoor air, most homes have concentrations of hazardous airborne chemicals that are two to five times higher indoors than outdoors. In one five-year study, the EPA reported that some US homes had chemicals levels that were seventy times higher inside than out! This same study concluded that the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air pollution. 1 in 2 people get cancer today!!!  Further studies have concluded that toxic indoor air is one of the leading contributors of asthma, allergies, ADD and even depression!

Getting the chemical cleaners out of our homes is very necessary for our health and beneficial for our environment!

Here is a great article about toxins and our home and at the bottom I will have some Natural, NonToxic, Green Cleaning Solutions.

The National Cancer Prevention Coalition established the "DIRTY DOZEN"- The top 12 cancer causing agents found in the home. Here are just a few of the products that contain known carcinogens: Crest Toothpaste, Listerine Mouthwash, Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo, VO5 Hair Care, Clairol Nice and Easy Hair Coloring, Cover Girl Make-Up, Lysol Disinfectant and Ajax Cleanser.

by Dr. Joyce M. Woods

Begin by thinking of your home as a toxic waste dump. The average home today contains 62 toxic chemicals - more than a chemistry lab at the turn of the century. More than 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced since WW II. Less than 2% of these chemicals have been tested for toxicity, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects, or birth defects. The majority of chemicals have never been tested for long-term effects.

  1. An EPA survey concluded that indoor air was 3 to 70 times more polluted than outdoor air.
  2. Another EPA study stated that the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air.
  3. CMHC reports that houses today are so energy efficient that "out-gassing" of chemicals has no where to go, so it builds up inside the home.
  4. We spend 90% of our time indoors, and 65% of that time at home. Moms, infants and the elderly spend 90% of their time in the home.
  5. National Cancer Association released results of a 15-year study concluding that women who work in the home are at a 54% higher risk of developing cancer than women who work outside the home.
  6. Cancer rates have almost doubled since 1960.
  7. Cancer is the Number ONE cause of death for children.
  8. There has been a 26% increase in breast cancer since 1982. Breast cancer is the Number ONE killer of women between the ages of 35 and 54. Primary suspects are laundry detergents, household cleaners and pesticides.
  9. There has been a call from the U.S./Canadian Commission to ban bleach in North America. Bleach is being linked to the rising rates of breast cancer in women, reproductive problems in men and learning and behavioral problems in children.
  10. Chemicals get into our body through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. We breathe 10 to 20 thousand liters of air per day.
  11. There are more than 3 million poisonings every year. Household cleaners are the Number ONE cause of poisoning of children.
  12. Since 1980, asthma has increased by 600%. The Canadian Lung Association and the Asthma Society of Canada identify common household cleaners and cosmetics as triggers.
  13. ADD/ADHD are epidemic in schools today. Behavioral problems have long been linked to exposure to toxic chemicals and molds.
  14. Chemical and environmental sensitivities are known to cause all types of headaches.
  15. Labeling laws do not protect the consumer - they protect big business. The New York Poison Control Center reports that 85% of product warning labels were either inadequate or incorrect for identifying a poison, and for first aid instructions.
  16. Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene, xylene are found in common household cleaners, cosmetics, beverages, fabrics and cigarette smoke. These chemicals are cancer causing and toxic to the immune system.
  17. Chemicals are attracted to, and stored in fatty tissue. The brain is a prime target for these destructive organics because of its high fat content and very rich blood supply.
  18. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found more than 2500 chemicals in cosmetics that are toxic, cause tumors, reproductive complications, biological mutations and skin and eye irritations.
  19. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, circulatory disorders, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and hormonal problems are diseases commonly related to chemical exposure.
  20. Pesticides only have to include active ingredients on the labels, even though the inert (inactive) ingredients may account for 99%, many of which are toxic and poisons.

Common Dangerous Ingredients in Cleaning Products

The ingredients in conventional petrochemical-based cleaning products are not usually listed on labels as they are not required to do so.  Following is a list of some of the most common toxic chemicals found in household cleaning products; however there are many others.

Acetone - A neurotoxin, acetone may cause liver and kidney damage, and damage to the developing fetus.  It is a skin and eye irritant.  Found in spot treatment cleaners, mark and scuff removers, and other products.

Aerosol products- Aerosol propellants  may contain propane, formaldehyde, a carcinogen, neurotoxin and central nervous system depressant, methylene chloride, a carcinogen,  neurotoxin and reproductive toxin, and nitrous oxide . Products applied with aeresol sprays are broken into minute particles, which can be more deeply inhaled than larger particles, which may increase their toxic effect.

Ammonia - Ammonia is a severe eye and respiratory irritant that can cause severe burning pain, and corrosive damage including chemical burns, cataracts and corneal damage.  It can also cause kidney and liver damage. Repeated or prolonged exposure to vapours can result in bronchitis and pneumonia.  Found in a wide range of cleaning products.  Ammonia will react with bleach to form poisonous chlorine gas that can cause burning and watering of eyes, as well as burning of the nose and mouth.

Diethanolamine (DEA) - Listed as a suspected carcinogen by the State of California, this chemical is a skin and respiratory toxicant and a severe eye irritant.  Used in a wide range of household cleaning products.

Ethoxylated nonyl phenol -  Nonyl phenols are hormone disruptors and some contain traces of ethylene oxide, a known human carcinogen.  They are eye and skin irritants.  Used in laundry detergents and other cleaning products.

Formaldehyde - In lab tests, formaldehyde has caused cancer and damaged DNA.  Formaldehyde is also a sensitizer, with the potential to cause asthma. Several laboratory studies have shown it to be a central nervous system depressant. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep.  While formaldehyde naturally occurs in the human body in minute amounts, it is estimated that 20 per cent of people exposed to it will experience an allergic reaction. Used in a wide range of products, including some furniture polishes. Formaldehyde may be released by other chemicals, eg.quaternary 15.

Fragrance - Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients, most of which are synthetic. Many compounds in fragrance are human toxins and suspected or proven carcinogens. In 1989, the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health evaluated 2,983 fragrance chemicals for health effects. They identified 884 of them as toxic substances. Synthetic fragrances are known to trigger asthma attacks. The US Environmental Protection Agency found that 100% of perfumes contain toluene, which can cause liver, kidney and brain damage as well as damage to a developing fetus. Symptoms reported to the FDA from fragrance exposure have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observations  by medical doctors have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes. Fragrance is a common skin irritant.

Methylene chloride - Methylene chloride is a carcinogen, a neurotoxin and a reproductive toxin. On inhalation, it can cause liver and brain damage, irregular heartbeat, and even heart attack. It is a severe skin and moderate eye irritant. Used in stain removers.

Monoethanolamine - This chemical may cause liver, kidney and reproductive damage, as well as depression of the central nervous system.  Inhalation of high concentrations - when cleaning an oven for example - can cause dizziness or even coma.   The chemical can also be absorbed through the skin.  It is a moderate skin irritant, and a severe eye irritant.  Found in many cleaning products, including oven cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, laundry pre-soaks, floor strippers and carpet cleaners. 

Morpholine - This corrosive ingredient can severely irritate and burn skin and eyes, and can even cause blindness if splashed in eyes.  It can cause liver and kidney damage, and long-term exposure can result in bronchitis.  It reacts with nitrites (added as a preservative in some products, or present as a contaminant) to form carcinogenic nitrosomines.  Morpholine is a moderate to severe eye, skin and mucous membrane irritant. Used as a solvent in a number of cleaning products, including some furniture polishes and abrasive cleansers.

Naphthalene - This registered pesticide is listed as a suspected carcinogen in California and is most commonly found in mothballs, and some other pest repellants, as well as in deodorizers.  As a reproductive toxin, it is transported across the placenta and can cause blood damage.  It can cause liver and kidney damage, and corneal damage and cataracts.  Skin exposure is especially dangerous to newborns.

Parabens - Parabens are hormone disruptors. Widely used in cleaning products as preservatives, paraben is usually preceded by the prefixes methyl-, ethyl-, butyl-, or propyl.   Parabens may cause contact dermatitis in some individuals

Paradichlorobenzene - This highly volatile registered pesticide is in the same chemical class as DDT.  It is a suspected carcinogen, and may cause lung, liver and kidney damage.  It is used in mothballs and some washroom deodorizers and urinal blocks

Phosphoric acid - Extremely corrosive, it can severely irritate and burn the skin and eyes.  Breathing vapours can make the lungs ache, and it may be toxic to the central nervous system.  Found in some liquid dishwasher detergents, metal polishes, some disinfectants, and bathroom cleaners, especially those that remove lime and mildew.

Sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate - This corrosive chemical is a severe eye, skin and respiratory irritant. It may cause liver and gastrointestinal damage, and may be toxic to the central nervous system.  It will react with bleach to form poisonous chlorine gas that can cause burning and watering of eyes, as well as burning of the nose and mouth. It is found in some toilet bowl cleaners and deodorizers, as well as industrial detergents and some institutional dishwashing detergents.

Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) - A corrosive chemical, sodium hypochlorite is an eye, skin and respiratory irritant, as well as a sensitizer.  It is especially hazardous to people with heart conditions or asthma, and can be fatal if swallowed.  It may be a neurotoxin and toxic to the liver.  Found in a wide range of household cleaners.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate  - Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is used as a lathering agent.  This chemical is a known skin irritant. It also enhances the allergic response to other toxins and allergens. The U.S. government has warned manufacturers of unacceptable levels of dioxin formation in some products containing this ingredient.  SLS can react with other ingredients to form cancer-causing nitrosamines

Toluene - Exposure to toluene may cause liver, kidney and brain damage. It is also a reproductive toxin which can damage a developing fetus.

Turpentine - This chemical can cause allergic sensitization, and kidney, bladder and central nervous system damage. It is an eye irritant.  Found in specialty solvent cleaners, furniture polish and shoe products.

Xylene - Xylene has significant neurotoxic effects, including loss of memory.  High exposure can lead to loss of consciousness and even death.  It may damage liver, kidneys and the developing fetus. It is a severe eye and moderate skin irritant.  Used in some spot removers, floor polishes, ironing aids and other products.

You should be beginning to realize the dangers of all the chemical cleaners we are using in our home on a regular basis!  Chemical toxins are included also in things like our air fresheners. 

 Here are some Natural Cleaning Solution.


Most laundry detergents are derived from petrochemical ingredients. They may contain bleaches, synthetic whiteners, and chemical fragrances, even in some so-called "fragrance free" brands. Some detergents may contain ammonia, ethanol, napthalene and phenol.  Many liquid brands contain ethoxylated alcohols which can be contaminated with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane.  Detergent residues on clothes and bed linens can be a source of skin irritation, and lingering scents from chemically scented products can cause respiratory and other reactions in both the user and others(even from so called "natural essential oil scent" products which will use chemicals in place of or in addition to the real essential oils).   Petroleum-based detergents cause more household poisonings (from children eating them) than any other household product.

 My Favorite Natural Laundry Detergent is one that grows on Trees!

Maggies Soap Nuts Detergent is 
 Truly effective, 100% natural and safe for your most sensitive skin.
NATURAL FABRIC SOFTENER! (no additional fabric softner that leaves a chemical residue on your clothes necessary!)
LOW SUDSING! (safe for HE machines)

-You can purchase Soap Nut Detergent for the lowest price available anywhere at this website.  You can receive 25% rebates on all your purchases and you can earn money by telling your friends about it and referring them to gofreegogreen!

To add extra whitening and stain removing power to your wash, you can add 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide or (for more potent power) oxygenating bleach alternative with no added chemicals and scents to your laundry.  I admit with the stains my young kids leave me, I love my oxygen bleach and use it all the time.

Another laundry booster that also adds extra softning power is adding 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to your washes rinse cycle....and don't worry it won't smell like vinegar when it is done.  Another way to help soften clothes is with Dryer Balls.  And if you like adding a scent to your clothes you can dab some vinegar and your favorite essential oil to a washcloth/rag and throw that in the dryer with your clothes.

But the one thing you should definetely not use is convetional fabric softner and dryer sheets.  As conventional fabric softeners may contain quarternary ammonium compounds (quats) and imidazolidinyl, both of which are known formaldehyde releasers and may cause a variety of asthma-like symptoms, including respiratory arrest. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chronic fatigue and a variety of other symptoms. Formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer and damaged DNA. Both quaternium and imidazolidinyl can cause contact dermatitis. Fabric softeners work by leaving a residue on the fabric which never completely washes out therefore giving you constant exposure to toxins. It can cause allergic reactions through skin contact and inhalation. It may also contain carcinogenic coal-tar dyes, ammonia and very strong chemical scents. When fabric softeners are exposed to hot water, heat from dryers or ironing, vapours may be emitted which can be deeply inhaled, increasing their impact.

And from my experience, once you give up the heavy chemicals and scents, you will not be able to stand the strong over powering chemical smells conventional products leave on your clothes anyways and you will enjoy the fresh naturally clean smell your clothes have!

Laundry Stain Spray and Pretreater

Most conventional laundry stain treaters contain benzene, toluene and xylene, all neurotoxins, as well as formaldehyde, a carcinogen, and chlorine, a sensitizer.

You can make your own pretreater with this recipe that I use.

Stain Remover
1/2 cup Maggies Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Soap 
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients in a dark colored spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray liquid onto the stain and let sit for a few minutes. Then wash as usual.

Presoaking in a solution of oxygen bleach is another good way to get out tough stains.  With all my young kids very stained clothes, I have hardly ever had anything that oxygen bleach would not take out.  And you can make the solution quite strong for really tough stains if you need you.



Most conventional disinfectants use highly caustic chemicals like sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite and phosphoric acid that can burn eyes and skin. Breathing vapours can burn lungs. Disinfectants may also contain phenols which can damage DNA as well as the liver, kidney and nervous systems, cresol, a suspected carcinogen and respiratory toxin, formaldehyde, a carcinogen, sensitizer and suspected central nervous system depressant, and chlorine, a lung irritant.

Vinegar is a great natural disinfectant.  Straight 5 percent solution of vinegar—the regular kind you can buy in the supermarket—kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of viruses.  Just put some in a spray bottle and use in your kitchen and bathroom.  The smell of vinegar will disipate after a short while so you dont have to worry about it making things smell.  And If you want a better smelling spray to begin with, then you can use this recipe which contains cinnamon or tea tree oils(which are also an anti-microbial agent).

Cinnamon (OR tea tree) Disinfectant
12 drops cinnamon oil (or tea tree)(approx. 1/8 tsp. or 0.6 ml)
12 drops emulsifier
1 cup vinegar
Put emulsifier in container. Add oil and blend. Add 1cup vinegar. Shake before using.
And for the most superior, heavy duty germ killing available in an environmentally friendly, non-toxic form you can use PureGreen24.  It is complete safe and even EPA approved for use on children toys and not only kills almost every germ but kills germs for 24 residual hours after you spray the surface of any hard surface!!  When disinfecting really counts, you wont find a better product.  I spray this on my toilets daily and know that my toilets are continually germ free and dont have to worry when the baby touches accidently touches it when we in the bathroom getting the older girls ready for bed.
Order at GoFreeGoGreen

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Many conventional toilet bowl cleaners are often highly caustic and form toxic gases when mixed with water.  They can cause liver and kidney damage, coughing and breathing difficulties, severe eye, skin and respiratory irritation and may cause asthmatic attacks. 

A Simple, Natural Alternative is spraying or pouring regular white vinegar in your toilet bowl.  Simply let it sit for a while and then use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl clean.  My bowls are spotlessly clean using this and I have very hard water and bad iron rings when not cleaned so I know it works well.

Lime, Mineral and Hard Water Stain Remover

A lot of lime and hard water stain removers contain highly caustic sodium hypochlorite and phosphoric acid which are very irritating to lungs and dangerous for people with asthma and heart disease.

When I was looking for something to eliminate the horrible hard water stains from our very hard water, that would be safe for my black granite countertops I discovered that Vinegar works extremely well at dissolving hard water deposits and leaves my counters and faucets spotlessly clean. 

For counters and faucets simply spray down with vinegar on a daily basis when wiping them down and for more tough and thick deposits soak a rag in vinegar and wrap around the faucet or area that needs to be cleaned.  Leave a while then wipe away. 

For shower heads and faucet heads you can unscrew them and let them sit in a cup or bowl of vinegar for a while then wipe and rinse clean.  Or you can pour some vinegar in a plastic bag and secure around the head with a rubber band and leave for an hour or overnight and then wipe and rinse clean.