Could Scrubbing Your Toilet Be Damaging to Your Health?

By  //  August 25, 2022

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While it may sound like a convenient excuse to get out of weekly chores, the truth is that household cleaners are typically filled with damaging chemicals that affect lung capacity, development of asthma and respiratory conditions, skin allergies and infections, developmental and reproductive concerns, and are also dangerous for the environment. 

But before you give up entirely on keeping your house clean, take heart – there are plenty of better-for-you options available on the market these days. And no, you don’t have to clean with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide if those scents are difficult for you!

In recent years, the world has become absolutely obsessed with keeping clean; does anyone else remember when bleach wipes were impossible to find? Unfortunately, the way that the average American goes about sanitizing their homes and bodies, is to liberally apply carcinogenic and irritating cleaning solutions that are doing much more long-term harm than good.

A study by The University of Bergen in Norway found that using an average household cleaner once a week equated to smoking 20 cigarettes per day when measuring lung function after exposure for 20 years.

When compared to women who clean as their occupation, women who clean their own homes were actually worse off – most occupational home cleaners follow all recommended safety precautions, including wearing gloves and masks during exposure to chemicals.

And while it’s well-known that direct ingestion of products like chlorine bleach can cause death, very few people stop to consider the effects of inhalation or topical absorption of the same products. Considering that our skin is our largest organ and the basic importance of lung function, this is especially shocking.

This information may have you ready to toss all of your traditional cleaning products, but of course, you will need to find adequate replacements. And with all of the mislabeling, the lack of government testing and regulation, and confusing marketing techniques that are out there, this may be harder than it sounds. You may be under the impression that a product cannot market itself as “clean” or “green” unless it meets certain standards, but that is simply not the case.

The last time that the U.S. government tested cleaning agents for safety was in 1976, and yet 62,000 chemicals are approved for use today. There is also rampant mislabeling, with many companies hiding a variety of chemicals under ambiguous terms like “fragrance” and “preservative.” So how do you determine what’s really safe and what’s not? And of course, educate yourself on the types of ingredients that should be an immediate red flag.

Ingredients to Stay Away From

Just because your mom and your grandma cleaned with bleach, does not mean you should! Wellness companies like Melaleuca, among others, have committed to a “never” list of ingredients that you should stay far away from. These include:

■ Chlorine Bleach

■ Ammonia

■ Formaldehyde

■ Phthalates

■ Abrasives

■ Phosphates

■ Parabens

■ Quaternary Disinfectants

While you may get that spic-and-span clean look that you’re seeking, the dangers attached to these chemicals are too great for you to allow them into your home.

Buyer Beware

Melaleuca products aren’t the only ones that are guaranteed to never use these harsh chemicals; well-known consumer brands like Seventh Generation, Honest Company, Green Works, and Method have all committed to more natural ingredients. And yet many of the products by these companies can still cause skin irritations and allergies, respiratory damage, and are harmful to the environment.

When choosing a brand or brands to clean with, look for items that stay away from well-known fragrances and dyes that cause allergic reactions.

Take an unassuming item like toilet bowl cleaner; for most of us, we never come into direct contact with the cleaning solution. It is applied to the inside of the toilet bowl, and a lid separates us from the cleaning agent the majority of the time. But the average toilet bowl cleaner contains chlorine bleach, and scrubbing it into the bowl still requires inhalation of that bleach. 

This is why it’s so important to find a line of cleaning products that you know, love, and trust. For generations, those names may have been Clorox or Lysol, but it’s time to start researching Melaleuca products, a brand known for its eco-friendly cleaners, for items like Safe & Mighty Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Even Green Works isn’t a suitable choice in this department, so do your research on individual products instead of assuming that marketing has your best interests at heart.

Your Health Matters

Finding trustworthy products that work as well as traditional cleaning agents may sound like a tall order, but take heart – they’re out there. And as you work to replace your old faithfuls with natural alternatives, you can rest easy that your health will thank you for years to come.