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What are the harms of using conventional chemical cleaners?

Updated: Sep 27, 2023


chemical ingredients of common household cleaners

As we know that humans are creatures of habit, we don’t generally change the way we do things. Our consumption habits are also affected by this ingrained trait in us and we don’t usually give much heed to what are the ingredients of the products we use. On the surface it looks fine and safe as it doesn’t have any immediate consequences in some cases. But it surely does affect the health and wellbeing of ourselves and also the environment. It is always suggested to read and research about the ingredients and when you do so it keeps you informed about the chemicals you bring to your house. This sure might as well scare you because these are the chemicals to which you, your family and pets are exposed to.

There are several consumer goods that contain ingredients with toxicity levels ranging from low to high. Let that be a topic of discussion in another blog. This article is directed towards informing you about the constituents of the cleaning liquids you use daily in your homes and other living & working spaces. Although, every conventional cleaner is loaded with toxic chemicals, the scope of this blog remains limited to dishwash detergents, handwash liquid and room fresheners. Some of the chemicals which are used for cleaning liquids are used in more than one product.

In the next sections, chemicals added in commonly used cleaning products will be discussed with their possible harms to us and the nature.


I. What are the chemicals used in Conventional Dish wash liquids?

Do you believe eating organic covers you from the dangerous chemicals? Then you might need to think again. The dishwash gel or bar which you have been using since the time you started using these products are using chemicals which are surely not safe if ingested. Some common chemical ingredients used in your favourite dish wash gel are as follows:

1. Sodium LAS (Sodium Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate)

It is one of the most commonly used surfactants in the cleaning industry. It can be found in detergents, dish soaps, spray cleaners, shampoos, toothpaste etc.

Potential harms:

- Skin irritation especially for individuals with sensitive skin

- Eye irritation leading to itching and redness

- Potential carcinogen

- Non -biodegradability leading to accumulation in environment causing harm to other organisms


2. Disodium EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetra acetic acid)

It is commonly used as an ingredient in dishwashing liquids as a chelating agent. It reacts with metals ions present in hard water to form stable, water-soluble metal complexes. The metal ions interfere with the working of the cleaning agents in the dishwashing liquids.

Potential harms:

- Skin and eye irritation

- Allergic reactions including itching, swelling and hives


3. Triclosan

Triclosan is common antimicrobial and antifungal agent used in a variety of products. It is banned in several countries from being used as an active ingredient in consumer products.

Potential harms:

- It can affect the functioning of endocrine system which is responsible for hormone secretion and regulation

- Skin and eye irritation

- Accumulation in the environment causing harms to aquatic and land organisms likewise

- It has shown potential carcinogenic effects in certain studies


4. CI 19140 (Tartrazine or Yellow 5)

It is a widely used in many household cleaning products and cosmetics as a yellow colorant. It makes the products more appealing to use. Some studies have warned against its use in consumer products.


5. CI 42051 (Blue 5)

It is a synthetic blue colorant commonly used in a wide range of consumer products like dishwash gels, cosmetics etc. Its potential harms are similar to any chemical dye which are used in consumables like that of Yellow 5.

Potential harms:

- ­These synthetic colors have linked to several allergic reactions

- Migraine headaches

- Potentially carcinogenic

All these chemicals have similar potential side effects, ranging from mild to severe. It can have adverse effects on humans and environment likewise.

Hence, next time when you casually wash your dishes with your usual dish wash gel, think twice and take special care in rinsing away the excess gel from your dishes. Or else, you can check organic products made from natural alternatives of the chemicals. Check the link below to explore a healthy alternative!! Zerodor CARE Natural Dishwash Liquid

II. What are the chemical ingredients of conventional Hand wash liquids?

Since the beginning of COVID-19 hullabaloo and adversities we faced because of the lockdown and whatnot, you can see for yourself that you are now more conscious about washing hands and sanitation in general. We have made it a habit to use handwash liquids or gels before eating. We usually go with what we have been habituated to, we chose the handwash we see most often in commercials or we buy from the brands which are familiar.

Hence, as the topic of this blog goes, some chemical ingredients of commonly used handwash liquids are discussed below:

1. Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

It is primarily used in handwash liquids as a foaming agent. In addition to its cleaning properties, ALS is also relatively inexpensive and readily available, which makes it an attractive ingredient for manufacturers of personal care products.

Potential harms:

- Eye irritation, reddening, burning and watering

- Skin irritation

- Respiratory problems in some people

- It can strip hair of its natural oils leaving it dry and brittle

- It is non-biodegradable and can accumulate in the environment where it causes harm to the wildlife

- Some studies suggests that it has carcinogenic effects.



2. Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH, Iye or Caustic Soda)

It is used in skin care products as a pH adjuster to ensure that the product is at correct pH level for cleaning. It also functions as an emulsifier and cleaning agent.

Potential harms:

- It can cause eye and skin irritation

- It is hazardous to environment when released into environment.


3. Tetrasodium EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid)

Its primary function is as a chelating agent. Other reasons for using it in handwash are its preservative and foam enhancing property.

Potential harms:

- It can cause eye irritation and skin irritation for people with sensitive skin

- It is not biodegradable and persists in the environment for a long time and contributes to pollution.


4. MCI (Methylchloroisothiazolinone)

It is a commonly used preservative used in several personal care products to prevent microbes from degrading the product. Due to its side effects several brands have launched MCI-free products by using alternative preservatives.

Potential harms:

- Skin and eye irritation

- Allergic reactions such as itching, redness, swelling and rashes

- In rare cases can cause hives and anaphylactic shock


5. Parfum

They are a mixture of wide variety of synthetic aroma chemical which helps to impart a fragrance to the product. They also include alcohol-based solvents and chemical fixatives which helps to prolong the smell.

Potential harms:

- Eye and skin irritation especially for sensitive skin types

- Such chemical fragrances are one of the most common causes of allergic dermatitis.

- Strong scents can trigger headaches, dizziness and coughing.

It is very much your decision which type of chemicals you expose yourself to. As we don’t generally buy such products for just our personal use but for our family which includes kids and elders. It may happen that you are using chemical handwash for your entire lifetime and experience no side effects. It is like smoking cigarettes; they don’t have very serious effects on everyone who smokes them. The information provided in this blog are for making you aware of the potential side effects of using conventional cleaners. You can also make homemade handwash liquids which is the best option out of many alternatives. Or else you can try natural eco-friendly handwash liquids sold by several brands. For checking one such product check out the link - Zerodor Care Natural Handwash Liquid.



III. What are the chemical ingredients of conventional room freshener spray?

Who doesn't like a soothing flowery smell in their indoor living spaces? A good room freshener can instantly change the ambiance of your home, office or car. It has the power to uplift our mood and increase our productivity. What we need to know more about these fragrant sprays are their ingredients because it is what we are inhaling every second when we are in the room. It can be said almost certainly that you are having a room freshener not more than 5 feet away from where you are sitting right now. It can also be said with surity that you have been using the same freshener spray from many years. But have you ever tried to read about their ingredients and their harmful effects? And how they might effect the well being of your loved ones, not to forget our furry friends.

Hence, we have tried to list the ingredients of your favorite room freshener spray and what are their potential harms with prolonged use. The list of some harmful ingredients are as follows:

1. Hexyl Salicylate – Artificial floral smell

2. Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde (Lyral) - artificial floral smell

3. Cis-3-Hexenyl Salicylate – Artificial leafy scent

4. Hexyl Cinnamal – Floral scent

5. Methyl Ionone – Woody, floral scent

6. Coumarin - Artificial vanilla scent

The above mentioned chemicals are all synthetic fragrance commonly used in room freshener sprays. What they do is that they mask the foul smell.

Potential harms:

- Apart from skin irritation and allergic reactions, these chemicals causes disruption of hormonal balance in the body

- They are neurotoxic and has the potential to damage the nervous system

Apart from these chemical artificial scents, there are many chemicals in trace amounts which are toxic when inhaled. Hence, for you own safety and that of your loved ones, it is always recommended to use something natural or herbal. Best things to be used are definitely ones which are prescribed by ayurveda like essential oils, tulsi leaves, bay leaves, frankincense and camphor. These products if available, should be your first choice. But, the drawback of using such scents are that they are not usually long lasting and what they do is that they mask the smell. One alternative we would like to suggest is our natural room freshener spray- Natural Freshener Spray.

The decision is always yours. You are the one who decides which chemicals you expose yourself and your family. #shopsensibly #shopresponsibly

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