Chemicals to Avoid in Household Cleaners

Chemicals to Avoid in Household Cleaners

Sarah Coffey
Mar 10, 2008
We picked up a copy of the National Geographic Green Guide at the grocery store, in part for their list of chemicals to avoid in household cleaners. This week during the Cure, we're taking a closer look at green cleaning supplies, which means deciding what we do and don't want in our homes... Chemicals to Avoid According to National Geographic's Green Guide: Ammonia: cuts grease Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum and known to cause asthma Green Alternative: vinegar Chlorine: disinfects Why Avoid It: lung and skin irritant, lethal if ingested, releases mercury Green Alternative: vinegar, lemon juice, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil Monoethanolamine: helps cleaners penetrate grime Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum, irritates respiratory system Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants Glycol Ethers: dissolve soil Why Avoid It: causes nerve damage and infertility, air contaminant Green Alternative: water, eucalyptus oil Alkylphenol Ethoxylates: helps cleaners penetrate grime Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants Phthalates: synthetic fragrances Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams Green Alternative: baking soda deodorizers, essential oils Triclosan: disinfectant in antibacterial cleaners Why Avoid It: forms possible carcinogen, builds up in soil and fish Green Alternative: vinegar, hot soapy water For tips on which green cleaners to buy, check out the National Geographic Green Product Guide here. Image via Morguefile
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