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The Ugly Truth: “Green” Cleaners

You expose yourself to hundreds of chemicals that have known, and possibly unknown, toxic effects, when the bathroom starts to look grubby and you pull out all the conventional brushes, sponges, sprays and bleach and start scrubbing.

Despite the fact that the use of any one cleaning product—green or conventional—in small amounts and with proper ventilation probably won't make you ill, they can cause very unpleasant influence on your health. Let’s take a little deeper and discover the ugly truth.


The majority of people use more than one cleaning product for the bathroom—there is one for the toilet, one for the mirror, perhaps one for surfaces, another to clean mildew from tiles and then tons of other "specialized" cleaning product options. It is a real problem, because of the repeated exposures to the chemicals in all of these products.

And that's just the story for humans. Factor in the overall planet's health, and it gets murkier.

Ingredients or poison?

Some chemicals commonly found in conventional cleaning products present known or suspected problems for the people that use them and the environment once washed down the drain.

Volatile organic compounds, used to enhance the performance of a product, can impair neurological functions, while other chemicals can act as respiratory irritants, carcinogens or reproductive toxins, depending upon the extent of exposure.

Phosphates can cause the eutrophication of rivers and other bodies of water, which can deplete them of oxygen and decrease water quality.

There is little regulation of cleaning chemicals, and there are virtually no labeling requirements to let people know what they are exposing themselves and the planet to.

Companies select ingredients for cleaning products to enhance their performance. However, we simply don't know anything about the majority of chemicals.

For example, phthalates, which are suspected to have adverse hormonal effects, help distribute dyes and fragrances and act as plasticizers. Other chemicals are used to keep a product stable on the shelf, while others, such as glycols, act like anti-freeze. Still other chemicals could simply be impurities left over from the manufacturing process.

With some 80,000 chemicals in common use, there are still some that could have as-yet unknown toxic effects.

However, there is not enough information on the health effects of the chemicals used in green products to know whether they are truly better for the health of humans.

Given the lack of firm data and reliable studies on many chemicals, however, the choice between conventional and green cleaning products may for many people be based on politics and sentiments more than health.

Is it necessary to go “green”?

Green cleaners come with some trade-off, though their ingredients may be more environmentally friendly. They're more expensive and may require more elbow grease to achieve the same level of visual cleanliness.

The only conventional cleansers that green products can't completely match in terms of strength are those that contain chlorine, such as bleach. In those cases, the green cleaners take a little more scrubbing but can get the job done.

You don't really need any chemicals to clean, because these chemicals make cleaning easier, but they don't make cleaning any better. You can make choice between “green” cleaners, natural and disinfectants.

Nevertheless, disinfectants could do more harm than good to humans. The scientists tested one popular disinfectant spray and found that it contained a chemical known to damage the reproductive systems in the offspring of pregnant rats, even in small amounts.

To clean your house, all you really need is some baking soda and vinegar- the natural cleaners. The main advantages of them are very simple to understand: they’re not only cheaper, but absolutely harmless to compare with popular and so dangerous chemicals. To see our air quality solutions, check out https://hsehomecomfort.com/services/air-cleaners/