The Dirty Dozen Cleaning Products

It is easy to overlook cleaning products as the culprit behind health problems. After all, they are improving the cleanliness of our homes, aren’t they? According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), they are frequently causing more harm than good. The organization routinely examines cleaning products to determine the worst health offenders. While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the worst culprits for Cleaning Product Hall of Shame:

Spic-and-Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner: This cleaning product contains nonylphenol ethoxylate which is banned in the European Union and cannot be used in cleaning products manufactured after 2012 in California. It can disrupt hormones and is toxic to aquatic life and persistent in the environment.

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Photo Credit: WikiCommons

Scrubbing Bubbles: While the manufacturer’s ad may show cute-looking cartoon bubbles working hard to clean bathrooms, this product contains up to 10 percent of butoxydiglycol (sometimes called DEGME), a solvent that is banned in concentrations over 3 percent in the European Union. It causes lung irritation and inflammation.

Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner: Mop & Glo also contains DEGME at concentrations up to 15 times the allowable amount in the European Union. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe indicates that this chemical is “suspected of damaging the unborn child.”

DampRid Mildew Stain Remover Plus Blocker: This cleaning product may contain up to 10 percent of 2-butoxyethanol, which is a solvent known to be hazardous to health and banned in cleaning products sold in the EU.

EASY-OFF Fume Free Oven Cleaner: Like Mop & Glo and Scrubbing Bubbles, this product contains between 5 to 10 percent of DEGBE, much higher than the 3 percent maximum amount allowed in the EU due to its ability to harm the lungs.

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Photo Credit: WikiCommons

Glade: While the product is designed to be sprayed into the air we inhale, the warning on the label says it all: “intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal.”

Air Wick: Also designed for spraying into the air we breathe, this “air freshener” carries the same warning about the dangers of inhaling the product being harmful or fatal.

Old English furniture polish: Like Glade and Air Wick, this product carries the same warning about being harmful or fatal.

Spot Shot: Spot Shot also advises that “inhalation abuse of aerosol products may be harmful or fatal” although the product is designed for spraying into the air we breathe.

Drano Professional Strength Kitchen Crystals Clog Remover: The product can severely burn eyes and skin and can cause blindness or death. According to the EWG, the product can remain in the drain after use, creating the potential for “extreme hazard.”

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Photo Credit: Flickr

Walmart Great Value Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner: Your body may not find this product to be such a great value. The label indicates that it “will burn skin and eyes. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, mucous membranes and clothing. Harmful if swallowed. Avoid inhaling spray mist.” Anyone who has ever used a chemical oven cleaner knows that it is hard to avoid inhaling it, particularly when it is sitting in your oven.

CVS/pharmacy Fume-Free Oven Cleaner: While the product’s name suggests it is free of toxic fumes, the label warms “…vapor harmful. Open windows and doors or use other means to ensure fresh air entry during application and drying.” The label also indicates that the product contains a substance “known to the state of California to cause cancer.” That doesn’t exactly sound fume-free, does it?

For more information about common toxins in your home consult my book Weekend Wonder Detox.

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Photo Credit: ThinkStock


Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

I use vinegar water

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C3 years ago

Thank you for sharing this.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

I don't use any of these products.

Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

Wow! Will be avoiding these products from now on! Thank you for providing us with this valuable information.

Vikram S.
Vikram S3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Wow. Learned alot. Thanks.

Dianic Gipsy
Daisy G3 years ago

Very glad I've become green! Thanks for the reminder of how nasty store bought cleaners are!

sharyn w.
sharyn w3 years ago

So very true. There are alternative cleaning products. Like baking soda, vinegar, peroxide, Bon Ami, fragrant essential oils, salt, elbow grease, steam mops, handheld portable steam cleaners, very hot water, scrub brushes in all sizes(old tooth brushes, manicure brushes etc), non chemical scrubbing pads, cooking oil etc. A little research on the internet is quite helpful, even talking to your elder relatives, friends and/or acquaintances. Keep your family safe especially your little ones they depend on you.

Elena Poensgen
Elena P3 years ago

Thank you

Beverly C.
Cathy K3 years ago