Chances are, if you go shopping for cleaning products, you generally will assume because they are on the shelf, they are safe to use in your home. However, many household cleaners people actually contain harmful toxins. To help with your cleaning supply purchase, avoid using toxic household cleaners by steering clear of these harmful  ingredients:


  • Alkylphenol Ethoxylates

Alkylphenol Ethoxylates are typically referred to as APE’s. They are man-made surfactants commonly used in household cleaners (such as detergents, personal care products, pesticides, and more). Commonly known ingredients include nonylphenol, nonylphenol ethoxylate, nonoxynol, octylphenol, octylphenol ethoxylate, octoxynol and more. This moderately toxic group of ingredients are suspected to alter endocrine functions (meaning they can interfere with the creating or utilization of various hormones).


  • Ammonia

Ammonia is a common compound found in many household cleaners, smelling salts, or fertilizers. However, it is highly toxic when inhaled or swallowed. It is a known trigger for asthma, and when used together with bleach can create a toxic gas which is known for causing grave damage to the lungs.



  • Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach is one of the most commonly used cleaning products and is often used as a disinfectant. It is known by a variety of names, such as chloramine, hydrochloric acid, hypochlorite, or trihalomethanes; and is toxic if swallowed. Many chlorine bleach byproducts have also been associated with certain cancers and respiratory problems.



  • Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is used in a variety of cleaning and beauty products, as well as glue, adhesives, and even some baby wipe brands. It is used to help preserve a number of household products and is a known carcinogen. Formaldehyde is also known to cause reactions similar to allergies, such as burning eyes, skin rashes, stuffy noses, and more. To help avoid this seriously toxic ingredient, avoid any products containing: bronopol, Diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium 15, or sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.

  • Phenols

Phenols are an ingredient typically found in air fresheners, disinfectants, laundry products, and more. These chemicals are known for causing kidney damage, liver damage, muscle weakness, paralysis, pulmonary distress, respiratory arrest (when something causes you to quit breathing or for your lungs to quit exchanging air correctly), severe burns, skin irritation, or tremors.

  • Phthalates

Phthalates are found in both cleaning supplies and fragrances. They are known to alter endocrine function, is considered a possible carcinogen, and has even been linked to reproductive issues (such as reduced sperm count) for men. Many of the phthalates toxic household cleaners include: dish soap, toilet paper, air fresheners and more.



  • Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium Hydroxide is in many drain openers, oven cleaners, and other household cleaners. It is commonly known as lye. This highly corrosive ingredient can cause severe burns if it gets on your skin or in your eyes, as well as a sore throat if inhaled. It is also suspected to cause allergies, asthma, eczema, endocrine abnormalities, and more; making any products with this antibacterial agent one of the more toxic household cleaners.  

  • Triclosan

Triclosan is one of the main ingredients found in most antibacterial cleaning products. While it will kill bacteria, it kills both good and bad; and thus contributing to bacterial resistance.  

When purchasing household cleaners, it’s easy to think because they are on the shelf for sale, these cleaning products are safe for use. However, lurking inside many of these options cleaners are extremely dangerous toxins. From sodium hydroxide to phenols, you need to ensure you are aware of these dangerous ingredients to help keep both you and your family safe while cleaning your home.