Toxic Chemicals Found In Your Home’s Cleaning Products


There are many harmful chemicals that can be found in many different types of cleaning products. Whether it is your laundry detergent or fabric softener to your dish soap and bathroom cleaner there are many toxic chemicals in these products. This is a list of commonly used toxic chemicals in our everyday cleaning supplies.


This is a preservative found in some laundry detergents and general purpose cleaners. This chemical is usually present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol)are listed on the ingredient labels.
Short term exposure to this chemical can cause skin, eye, nose and throat irritation.
Long-term exposure can increase your chances of developing myeloid leukemia or cancer of the nose or pharynx

Phthalates (abbrv. DBP, DEHP, and DEP)

These are a group of chemicals used in plastics to soften and increase its flexibility. These are generally in cosmetics, personal care products, cleaning products or other plastic and vinyl products.

High levels of phthalates can increase endocrine-disrupting behavior.

Perchloroethylene or “PERC”

This can be found in carpet cleaners, upholstery cleaners, dry cleaning solutions and spot removers. This is most common in dry cleaning shops.

Short-term exposure to high levels can cause severe shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, confusion, fluid buildup in lungs and eye irritation.

Long-term exposure can cause kidney, liver and CNS damage as well as the potential for memory loss, confusion, respiratory failure, and dry skin.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds or “QUATS”

These are commonly used in surfactants, fabric softeners, wood preservation, disinfectants, antimicrobials and most products commonly labeled antibacterial.

This can help breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria and can cause dermatitis.


This product is commonly found in scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whiteners and household tap water.

Immediate health effects of chlorine exposure are skin, eye and airway irritation, breathing difficulties, sore throat, cough, chest tightness and wheezing.

Sodium Hydroxide

This chemical is found in oven cleaners, drain openers, cellophane, soaps, detergents, paper and pulp.

Effects of contact with this chemical is mouth, nose and throat irritation, can burn the eyes and skin and could possibly cause permanent eye damage.


This chemical has many names including, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylene glycol butyl ether, ethylene glycol n-butyl ether, Butyl Cellosolve, butyl glycol, butyl Oxitol, glycol butyl ether, Dowanol EB, Gafcol EB, Polysolv EB and Ektasolve EB.

This chemical is most commonly found in household cleaners, paints, lacquers, thinners, inks and spot removers.

What Can I Do To Make My Cleaning Products More Green Friendly?

You can choose to buy products that are:

  • Organic
  • All-Natural
  • Fragrance free
  • Have short ingredients lists
  • Simple