Cleaning Can Be Toxic: Our Non-toxic Choices

Standard cleaning products are bad for health, bad for the environment and not only kill bad bacteria but the good ones too. The majority of commercially-produced cleaning products have toxic ingredients that have been linked to cancer, allergies, reproductive harm, asthma, neurotoxicity and more. That doesn’t sound good, does it?

When we use cleaning supplies to make our homes safer for our families, they are absorbed through our skin and we breathe them in. If they are filled with toxic chemicals so are our bodies. They irritate our lungs and they cause our bodies to become very sick. It’s not safe for us or our families.

To name just a few on the nasty list.

Spic and Span Multi Surface and Floor Cleaner contains Nonylphenol ethoxylates. This is a known endocrine disruptor that is banned in the European Union. It’s toxic to aquatic life. It’s also been shown to turn boy fish into lady fish. (1) That’s not what we want to hear.

Scrubbing Bubbles This cleaner has an ingredient DEGBE, also known as butoxydiglycol, that belongs to a group of solvents commonly used in paints and cleaners known as glycol ethers. Short term use in high amounts can lead to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage.   It’s been shown in animal studies to cause reproductive and developmental effects from inhalation and oral exposure to the glycol ethers. (2) It’s nasty for the lungs too.

Mop & Glo Contains DEGME also known as methoxydiglycol, and this glycol ether has identified by The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe as being “suspected of damaging the unborn child.” This cleaner can contain levels 15 times higher than what is allowed in the European Union. (3)

409 All Purpose Cleaner This spray, along with many others, contains quaternary ammonium compounds which is a class of compounds that have anti-microbial and anti-static quality, so they are used in cleaners, disinfectants, laundry and personal care products. They are also known for causing asthmatic problems, reproductive problems and a recent study has found they can cause neural tube defects in rodents. (4)

Comet Disinfectant Cleanser Powder The Environmental Working Group performed an air pollution test that found Comet, “emitted 146 different chemicals, including some thought to cause cancer, asthma and reproductive disorders. The most toxic chemicals detected – formaldehyde, benzene, chloroform and toluene – are not listed on the label.”  (3)

Do Your Research

Many people assume any risky chemicals would be listed on the label but there is no FDA regulation requiring cleaning supplies to list ingredients. Comet doesn’t list over 100 on theirs and it’s not surprising that the most toxic ones were the ones left off the label. It’s also important to know that fragrance can mean a whole host of nasty chemicals because fragrance ingredients don’t need to be identified.

The Environmental Working Group has a website that grades products from an A- F and along with the grade you can see what contributing factors to the review. They have rated and reviewed over 2,000 common household products for safety and the information they disclose on contents. (5)

You can check out their guide for products you use and products you are considering using. Knowledge is the key to getting companies to stop using toxic chemicals in their products. If you don’t know what’s in it, you are going to keep buying the toxins because of their useless marketing claims. Don’t assume because it is green it is safe or that all products from a company are equally safe.

It’s long been recognized around Pathway To Wellness offices that cleaning products containing toxic chemicals are pretty nasty, so we have some experience in finding good alternatives. Toxic cleaning products are unnecessary for cleaning projects where a plain cloth, soap, water and/or elbow grease will do. Check out what our offices have to say for some great swaps for toxic cleaning products hiding in your cupboard.

There are various options from “where can I buy it crunchy” to “make my own crunchy.”

Non-toxic Choices: What’s in Pathway To Wellness Team’s Cupboards

DoTerra Essential Oils

Crystal Pranke, Client Training and Development- Pathway To Wellness Enterprises, Green Bay, WI I enjoy DoTerra’s OnGuard because of how versatile it is. It can be used for; kitchen counter/bathroom spray, wash items, and even laundry detergent! I use it to disinfect, protect, and promote healthy immune response to foreign bacteria and viruses.

Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner

Dr. Patty Tomlinson Long, Owner/Doctor of Chiropractic at Long Chiropractic – A Wellness Way Affiliate, Meridianville, AL I use the Thieves cleaner which is Young Living’s version of the DoTerra OnGuard.

Dr. Steffanie Nemitz Kohn, Owner/Doctor of Nemitz Family Chiropractic- A Wellness Way Affiliate, Benton, WI We use Thieves cleaner from Young Living for everything shower, tables, sinks, hands, everyone always comments how great our clinic smells and my house. I attribute it to the thieves blend of oils to help kill bacteria and odors! There is so much you can use the oil blend in different concentrations for washing fruit, washing veggies, deodorizing, air freshener, spraying indoor plants, and of course, for cleaning bathrooms, kitchens, floors, carpets, stains, laundry, glass, windows, and countertops!

ECOS Parsley Plus Cleaner

Shera Gantner, Chiropractic Technician/Lifestyle Educator- Dynamic Chiropractic & Wellness Center Fond du Lac, WI I love Parsley Plus cleaner from ECOS. I also use Seventh Generation and homemade essential oils spray.

Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaning

Briauna Utrie, Media Intern- Pathway To Wellness Enterprises, Green Bay, WI I love Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products that don’t have harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals are horrible for you. I hate the smell and what they do. I like that these products are natural, and it smells great, too!


Jade Rabideau, Office Manager- Springs Integrated Health, Colorado Springs, CO We love Norwex products. It’s just spray water not chemicals! I love it in my house and in our office!! I even use their laundry detergent!

Jill Feldner, Office Manager -Dynamic Chiropractic and Wellness Center, Fond du Lac, WI I use the Norwex cleaning clothes. I love them because they have no chemicals.

Vinegar and water

Dr. Jason Nobles, Clinic Director- Pathway To Wellness- Green Bay, Green Bay, WI We make our own mixture with 50% vinegar and 50% water. Some people don’t like the smell of vinegar, but it disappears fast. Suck it up buttercup. It’s better than chemicals.

Make Your Own

Heather Bladel- Pathway To Wellness Rockford, Rockford IL We make our own from essential oils. We also like Doterra’s Onguard cleaning concentrate, foaming hand wash, and laundry detergent.

Non-toxic Household

Christy Flynn, Original Wellness Way Mama- Pathway To Wellness, Green Bay, WI Norwex cloths for windows and mirrors for sure- no streaks!!! Also, Norwex cloths for stainless steel appliances. Essential oil blends and solutions for day-to-day cleaning, as well as Mrs. Meyers countertop sprays and Honest Company floor cleaner.
There are lots of great ‘clean’ and simple products that work great! Vinegar and water also is great to disinfect the entire house…just be careful not to use vinegar on hardwood floors, marble or granite countertops, or stone tiles.

Cleaning Doesn’t Have to Be Toxic

Make your house a nontoxic house when you clean. Pay attention to the products you are using as it does require research if you aren’t making your own. Products change and companies that are generally safe have products that aren’t.

Natural products without the harsh chemicals work. Vinegar, lemon, soap, hot water, baking soda and some elbow grease can work just as well. Vinegar has been shown to be effective in disinfecting tuberculosis. (6) Silver has been found to be effective in preventing infection and cross contamination in the home and also in hospitals. (7) Studies have also been done that show essential oils can be effective antimicrobial agents for food born pathogens and prevent contamination of people and foods. (8) (9)

Clean doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, smell like pine or bleach. It doesn’t have to smell like anything when you are done. It might be hard to get used to at first, but trust us, you will feel good without the toxins and so will your family.