It can be daunting to live a healthier lifestyle, and one of the last areas you may think to change is your cleaning products. Most modern cleaning products require certain chemicals and surfactants (or cleansing agents) to make them work, and you should know what they are and their potential affects. It’s also important to find ways to limit your exposure to these toxins, and learn about safe, effective alternatives.
Here’s a quick run-down of some common cleaning chemicals, along with some of the many places you may see them
DEA (Diethanolamine)—Found in more than 600 home and personal care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, bubble baths, lotions, cosmetics, soaps, laundry and dishwashing detergents. Suspected of carcinogenic activity (causing or contributing to cancer) or of being potentially dangerous or hazardous to health.
Propylene Glycol—The main ingredient found in anti-freeze; also common in shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, toothpastes, processed foods, baby wipes, and many more personal care items. Implicated in contact dermatitis, kidney damage, and liver abnormalities; can inhibit skin cell growth in human tests and can damage cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin, and surface damage.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)—Industrial uses include concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers, and car wash detergents. Also found in shampoos, liquid soaps, conditioners, cleansers, toothpaste, and children’s personal care products. SLS is found in nearly all toothpastes, and is absorbed through skin contact and retained for up to five days.
Talc—Chemically similar to asbestos, talc has been inked to ovarian cancer. It’s found in many body and baby powders, as well as many cosmetics.
Alcohol—Most mouthwash products have a higher alcohol content than most alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, etc). Mouthwash products with alcoholic content greater than 25 percent have been linked to cancers of the mouth, tongue, and throat. Alcohol acts as a solvent inside the mouth, making tissues more vulnerable to carcinogens.
Fill a spray bottle with water and a squirt of dishwashing soap.
Add 3–5 drops each of lavender, lemon, and pine essential oils.