Chemical Based Cleaners: The Ugly Truth

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

Have you ever wondered what chemicals reside in cleaners that you use at home?

Prolonged exposure to chemicals in household cleaners have been known to lead to cancer, hormone disruption, headaches, asthma, skin irritation, and other nasty side effects.


Let's start with some tips and tricks for identifying those potential harmful substances. Chemical cleaners are made up of many harmful, non-natural substances. But how can you quickly identify one?

1. Fragrances

Does the word "fragrance" pop up in the list of ingredients or even in the label of the product you're using? That product most likely has chemicals in it. According to the Environmental Working Group, 3163 ingredients hide behind the word "fragrance". Companies often use the word "fragrance" to get out of declaring certain harmful substances. As many many different compounds go into producing a particular smell, it makes it very difficult for fragrances to be regulated. Though not all chemical compounds are harmful, make sure to look more carefully into that bottle of cleaning agent.

2. Ammonia

Ammonia can be quickly identified by its pungent odour. Due to the efficacy of ammonia in cleaning, it can be found in many household cleaning products, such as glass cleaners, toilet cleaners, surface cleaners etc. Ammonia is potentially harmful in high concentrations, and breathing in ammonia can cause difficulty breathing, as well as respiratory problems. If you happen to have asthma, stay away from Ammonia containing cleaners, as it might trigger your symptoms. Ammonia is also often listed as Ammonium Hydroxide on the packaging of cleaning agents.

3. 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE, BCEE, or Butyl cellosolve)

You'd definitely want to stay away from anything containing this substance. 2-BE has been known to cause skin irritation, eye irritation, liver problems, kidney problems, and reproductive problems. In fact, this chemical substance is one of the toxic substances listed in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It is commonly found in glass cleaners, laundry stain removers, carpet cleaners, automobile cleaners, windshield wiper fluid, degreasers, oven cleaners, and rust removers.

4. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS)

QUATS are often found in disinfectants and surfactants. Research has shown, that these compounds can often lead to skin irritation, and they could also trigger airway allergies. Since QUATS are also anti-microbial agents, they have also been known to promote the breeding of anti-biotic resistant bacteria.

5. Phthalates (pdf)

Phtalates are not only found in cleaning agents, but also in many consumer products. Phthalates have been known to be linked to asthma, altered reproductive development, male fertility issues, ADHD, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes. It could even lower your IQ!


Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid exposure to all these harmful substances. I would recommend trying to making your own natural cleaners, or purchase perhaps one of UglyGood's Natural cleaners!

#Chemicals #Cleaning #NonNatural

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