The Dirty Truth About Household Cleaners

May 31, 2019 | Healthy Home

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.


Toxic chemicals are lurking in your cleaning supplies.  And we mean really toxic stuff.

Our grandmothers didn’t have all of the cleaning products we have available to us today and they mostly used common household products like vinegar and baking soda to clean their homes.  However, at some point we were sold on the idea that everything in our home had to be free of any germs, even our toilet bowls (because we drink out of them?  Not sure about the reasoning for that.  The chemicals found in most toilet bowl cleaners are far more dangerous).

Today, in the name of cleanliness, we expose ourselves, our children, our pets and our environment to things like 2-Butoxyethanol, Triclosan (the active ingredient in “antibacterial” soaps), diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) (sudsing agents), nerve-damaging butyl cellosolve, sodium hydroxide and many more.

But there are safer alternatives out there.  Of course, the safest thing is to go back to the way grandma used to clean. We mentioned baking soda and vinegar, both are very safe to use.

Try making your own cleaners with natural ingredients.  We love this great blue glass spray bottle that comes with recipes written right on the side to make it easy for you!

There are also plenty of books filled with recipes for cleaning products and other household items.  A few to try are:

Green Clean: Natural Cleaning Solutions for Every Room of Your Home by Jill Potvin Schoff


101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home: A Nerdy Farm Wife’s All-Natural DIY Projects Using Commonly Found Herbs, Flowers & Other Plants by Jan Barry

The Art of Natural Cleaning by Rebecca Sullivan

Safe readymade cleaners.
If you would prefer to buy readymade cleaners, a good place to get information is the Environmental Working Group’s website, where they rate household cleaners of all types with grades from ‘A’ to ‘F’.  Here you can search for cleaning products that are rated ‘A’ or check on the safety of your current cleaning products.  Some of the all-purpose cleaning products that rated an  ‘A’ are:

Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

Biokleen All Purpose Cleaner

Meliora K All Purpose Spray Cleaner

Another great cleaning product we love is Thieves Household Cleaning Concentrate from Young Living.  If you love the smell of Thieves essential oil, you will love this cleaning product!  We carry both a bottle of the Thieves cleaner and small, single use packets as well (good for making one spray bottle of cleaning solution).

A word of caution:  when searching for more natural cleaning products, beware of “greenwashing.” If a cleaning product at your supermarket proclaims itself “green,” “natural,” or “biodegradable,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nontoxic.  The EWG’s website gave the popular Green Works cleaning supplies a grade of ‘F.’  (Yeah, this one fooled us too.)

In future posts we hope to tackle other toxic household items such as cookware, sunscreen, cosmetics and air fresheners.  (Hint: stop using Febreze!!!)

To get you started, here is a simple recipe for an all-purpose cleaner.