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10 household cleaners you need to throw out today

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Leave the label reading to green cleaning companies

Popular cleaning products have become household staples that we don’t think twice about pouring down our drain or splashing on our kitchen counters. But what do these harsh chemicals do to our skin? What about our lungs and eyes when we release these concoctions (even formaldehyde and chloroform) into the air?

“Green” is more than a buzzword—it’s a commitment to using only the safest products. If you’re worried about the chemicals you’re bringing into your home, we’ve put together a list of 10 toxic products added to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Cleaner Database Hall of Shame. Keep reading to find out what’s really hiding under your bathroom sink.

1. Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner: Don’t be fooled by the name, this product from Simple Green is anything but. Despite the “non-toxic” claims on its labeling, this all-purpose cleaner contains a secret blend of alcohol ethoxylate surfactants (some chemicals in this family are banned in the European Union).

This 2-butoxyethanol is a solvent that soaks through the skin and damages red blood cells. What’s worse, the product is packaged in a spray bottle, leading some people miss the fine print that calls to dilute it. 

2. Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner: California actually has a ban on nonylphenol ethoxylate, an ingredient in this floor cleaner that is toxic to the environment and disrupts the hormonal system. Many brand name spray cleaners (such as Clorox, Fantastik and Formula 409 to name a few) are laced with ingredients including quaternary ammonium compounds or ethanolamine, chemicals that OSHA reports say can trigger asthma attacks—and even cause new cases.

3. Scrubbing Bubbles Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner & Extend-a-Clean Mega Shower Foamer: These bathroom staples should stay far away from your home. Containing lung-inflaming chemicals banned in the European Union at concentrations above 3 percent DEBGE, these products contain more than triple that at 10 percent.

4. Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Lime & Rust Remover: The label on this corrosive concoction warns not to squeeze the container when opening and to wear safety goggles, as it can cause irreversible eye damage. Did we mention it can kill you if swallowed? The child safety cap is critical to keeping it out of the mouths of children and pets.

Image courtesy of Compfight and Valerie Everett

5. Ajax, Dynamo and Bab Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergents: These brands contain formaldehyde, classified as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. government and World Health Organization. Formaldehyde can also trigger allergies and asthma. You won’t see formaldehyde listed on the ingredients label, though, because it’s only divulged in the technical disclosures for workers under the name "formalin".

6. Drano Professional Strength Kitchen Crystals Clog Remover: There’s a reason this product made the EWG’s hall of shame. For starters, the label says this product can severely burn eyes and skin, causing blindness or even death.

Also, the crystals may remain in the drain after use, creating an extreme hazard since using a plunger could bring corrosive splashback. Next, pouring any other product down the drain might trigger a dangerous chemical reaction.

And finally, the label also warns purchasers to "keep water out of can at all times to prevent contents from violently erupting or boiling out." Meanwhile, ignorant homeowners are storing the product under their kitchen or bathroom sink.

7. 2000 Flushes and X-14 toilet bowl cleaners: Yet another cleaner that’s “fatal if swallowed” (and a fun disk shape for kids or pets). The packaging warns customers to wear rubber gloves when handling, hold the disc away from the face and avoid inhaling the fumes. 

8. Final Touch Ultra Liquid Fabric Softener: These sheets contain quaternium-18 (dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride or DHTDMAC), another chemical banned in the European Union because of its negative impact on the environment. 

9. Comet Disinfectant Cleanser Powder: This seemingly simple product emitted 146 different chemicals, including some thought to cause cancer, asthma and reproductive disorders. The most toxic chemicals detected—formaldehyde, benzene, chloroform and toluene—aren’t even listed on the label. The EWG reported that little is known about the health hazards of most of the hidden chemicals. 

10. Whink Rust Stain Remover: If you use this product to clean white porcelain sinks, toilet bowls and colorfast fabrics and carpet, you might want to read the fine print: 

  • "May be fatal or cause permanent damage."
  • "Causes severe burns which may not be immediately painful or visible."
  • On technical information for workers, "will penetrate skin and attack underlying tissues and bone."

While the product’s literature advises workers to "use only with adequate ventilation" and to wear gloves, safety goggles and a face mask, consumers are only advised to wear rubber gloves.

Find a green cleaning company you can trust

You don’t have to worry about life-threatening chemicals when you go with Two Men & A Vacuum. We use only top quality green cleaning products and equipment to give you the best clean in town.

Our Dyson vacuum cleaners are certified allergy and asthma friendly™ by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 

We use Method cleaning products which are:

  • Formulated with safe ingredients (no phosphates or bleach)
  • Rigorously evaluated for health and environmental safety
  • Cradle-to-Cradle® certified for green package design and safe, effective formulation.

If you’re looking for the best cleaning service in Columbus, Ohio, call 614-300-7970 or email info@twomenandavacuum.com for a quote today. 

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