Most of us rely on household cleaning products to clean and disinfect our homes. While we may have grown up believing that chemical cleaning products are safe and effective, today we are far more aware of the potential health risks associated with their use.
The products we rely on to clean our homes typically contain harsh chemicals and potential toxins. While product manufacturers argue that small amounts of these chemicals are unlikely to cause adverse effects, those who want to reduce their exposure to chemical toxins are cleaning and disinfecting their homes organically.
Chemical Exposure Can Jeopardize Your Health
The cleaning products you rely on to clean and disinfect your home can contaminate the air you breathe. Potentially, toxic compounds can absorb into your skin during use and leave product residue on the surfaces you clean. Chemical cleaning agents pollute our environment and jeopardize our ecosystems.
While it's nearly impossible to rid your home of all potential toxins, selecting organic cleaning products will reduce your exposure. Limiting your exposure to toxins reduces the risk to your health. Just a few of the potential health risks associated with standard cleaning products include:
- Organ and nerve damage
- Lung damage
- Dermatitis and chemical burns
- Headaches and dizziness
- Some forms of cancer
The Potentially Harmful Ingredients in Household Cleaning Products
When you select a household cleaning product or all-purpose cleaner, it is likely that you make your decisions based on efficiency and convenience. You choose a product based on its perceived ability to get the job done, to get rid of dirt, grime, bacteria, and viruses. Unfortunately, many of the cleaning products available on department store shelves are filled with ingredients that are not always regulated or listed on product labels. Just a few of the chemicals and compounds shown to create health issues include:
This group of chemicals is commonly used in consumer products to soften and increase the flexibility of vinyl and plastic. Phthalates are also used to add fragrance to household cleaning products. It is quite likely that you will not find phthalate listed on any product label because product manufacturers are not required to list fragrance ingredients. If your product label includes the generic term "fragrance," there is a good chance the product contains phthalates. In laboratory studies, these known endocrine disruptors interfere with testosterone levels and cause early onset puberty.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs)
Quaternary ammonium compounds act as a surfactant and disinfectant. This antibacterial agent is commonly used in household cleaners. QACs are a known skin irritant and one of the leading causes of contact dermatitis. QACs are also known to cause respiratory disorders, including asthma, in otherwise healthy people who are exposed to quaternary ammonium compounds on a regular basis.
While ammonia is a naturally occurring compound, the ammonia in your cleaning products could be natural or man-made. Because ammonia evaporates quickly without streaking, this powerful irritant is commonly found in window and all-purpose cleaners. Ammonia is highly toxic; inhalation can cause life-threatening accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Those regularly exposed to ammonia are at higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis and asthma.
Many people believe chlorine is safe for cleaning because so many of us rely on chlorinated tap water. Chlorine bleach is about six percent chlorine and a common ingredient in household cleaning products. The use of chlorinated products exposes your family to toxic fumes. Chlorine can also absorb through your skin. While chlorine is a potent respiratory irritant, it may also disrupt thyroid function.
Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent typically found in many cleaning products labeled as antibacterial. The overuse of chemical antibacterial agents can result in antibiotic-resistant microbes. Triclosan endangers algae when it makes its way into rivers and streams. This antibacterial agent is currently under investigation as an endocrine system disrupter and carcinogen. In 2016 the FDA banned the use of triclosan in several over-the-counter products including hand soaps and body washes.
Cleaning Your Home with Organic Disinfecting Agents
Your all-purpose cleaner does not need to contain harsh chemicals to clean effectively. You can reduce your risk of exposure to harmful chemicals when you choose to clean your home with natural, organic cleaning products. Just a few of the natural ingredients shown to be effective for safe, non-toxic cleaning include:
Thyme oil has been used medicinally throughout history and has a long list of potential health benefits. Thyme supports healthy immune system function, as well as benefitting the nervous system and respiratory function. When used for cleaning, thyme oil is proven effective against household contaminants due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Thyme oil, and its derivative thymol, is particularly effective in the kitchen for eliminating salmonella and other foodborne pathogens.
With a fresh, lemony aroma, lemongrass oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to relieve pain. Many people rely on lemongrass oil to relieve headaches, alleviate muscle pain, or reduce a fever. Studies show that lemongrass oil also fights free radicals and reduces cholesterol. When used as an organic cleaning agent, lemongrass oil is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. Essential oil enthusiasts use lemongrass oil to neutralize airborne viruses, disinfect surfaces, and even repel insects.
Rosemary essential oil has been used for centuries to enhance memory, concentration, and provide neurological protection. This herb has also been used since ancient times to alleviate muscle pain. When used in aromatherapy rosemary can reduce the effects of stress by reducing cortisol levels. Rosemary is a popular aromatic essential oil and an excellent option for cleaning due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Cleaning Your Home with RMR Organic
You do not need to continue using harsh chemicals and potentially toxic compounds to keep your home clean. For safe, natural, organic cleaning, try RMR Organic Cleaner and Treatment. Our ready to use formula is safe to use on almost every surface around your home, including fabric, wood, tile, fiberglass and even concrete.
RMR Organic Cleaner and treatment is used by many hospitals, schools, nursing homes and hotels for non-irritating, non-toxic cleaning. This safe all-purpose cleaner leaves no harmful residue, requires no wiping or rinsing, and leaves behind the inviting fragrance of natural botanicals.