Hidden dangers are lurking in every home and can be found under our sinks, and wherever else we choose to store our cleaning products. There are many toxic chemicals found in our everyday cleaning products that we need to be aware of.


This toxin can be found in many household products that have any kind of fragrance. These products include air fresheners and dish soap. The fragrance is an umbrella term to mask what is actually in these products because many companies don’t actually have to disclose what makes the scent.

Phthalates are endocrine disruptors, and while exposure commonly occurs through inhalation, you can also become exposed to this toxin at home through skin contact. Our skin readily absorbs what is put on it and has no safeguards in place to help protect against these kinds of toxins.


Pesticides contain permethrin, diazinon, propoxur, and chlorpyrifos. All of these toxin chemicals can cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Insecticides also contain many of the same pesticides that are used in flea and tick treatments. When this toxin comes in contact with food, our dish towels, silverware, and countertops, we can begin to experience the symptoms mentioned above.


Ammonia can be found in the home via polishing agents commonly used for bathroom fixtures and jewelry as well as in many glass cleaners. Ammonia evaporates easily and doesn’t leave streaks, which is why people purchase it to polish these items and to clean windows and mirrors. However, it is a strong irritant and can cause breathing problems when inhaled. With prolonged exposure, you could also develop chronic bronchitis and even asthma. Ammonia becomes a poisonous gas when it is mixed with bleach.


This toxin is found in many scouring powders we use to clean with as well as toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, and even tap water. Exposure can be through skin contact as well as through fumes. The effects of chlorine exposure can be acute or chronic, and you may experience respiratory irritation and thyroid disruption.

Sodium Hydroxide

This toxin is commonly found in oven cleaners and drain openers. Sodium hydroxide is also known as lye and is a corrosive material. When it comes in contact with your skin or eyes, it can cause serious burns, and when inhaled, you may experience a sore throat that lasts for several days.

Safer Alternatives and Easy DIYs

For much safer alternatives to using bleach and other household products in the home that contain many of these toxic chemicals, you can turn to some more natural DIY options for cleaning the home.

Basic Sink Cleanser

What You Need

  • ½ c baking soda
  • 6 drops of essential oil
  • ¼ c vinegar

For this recipe, you can choose lavender, rosemary, lemon, lime, or orange essential oils. Simply rinse your sink with warm water, sprinkle the baking soda infused with your essential oil into the sink and pour approximately ¼ c of vinegar in as well. Once the mixture stops fizzing, you can then scrub the sink with a sponge and then rinse.

All-Purpose Cleaner

What You Need

For this recipe, combine all the above ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well. This is an all-purpose cleaner that can be used to clean the floors, sinks, and countertops in the home.

Tea tree oil is known as a natural disinfectant and also contains antiseptic and antiviral properties. It is useful for both cleaning and deodorizing when diluted with water in a spray bottle as described above. It is a much safer alternative to the many toxins found in most commercial household cleaners.

Meta: Knowing which toxic chemicals to avoid in the home is important for your health and safety. You should also have a few more natural cleaners on hand that harness the power of essential oils.


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