Natural Cleaning Tips: What You Should Know About Chemical Cleaning Products

by Ross Bridgeford

Natural Cleaning Tips: Why You HAVE to Avoid Chemical Cleaning Products

natural cleaning tipsI have a question for you. As a species (yes, us humans) we understand more about the human body than ever, and we understand more about how to cure disease and illness than ever – so why is it that there are more people than at any other time in history suffering from degenerative diseases?

There is no doubt about it – all data points to the fact that there is a clear correlation between the rise in degenerative disease (cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc.) and our advancement as a race. It seems that the more advances we make, as a species, the more ill we become. The more we understand about how to cure illness and disease, the less we seem to know about how to prevent it. The more time goes on, the sicker we get.

So I have another question for you.

What do you think the cause of this is? Is there one cause? Or is it a mix?

I personally think it is a mix. Off the top of my head I can think of these potential factors:

  • Our diets have generally become worse because of the convenience of eating unhealthily
  • We exercise less generally because of the entertainment on offer to us now, and because the vast majority of jobs and careers no longer involve being active and on our feet
  • The rise of certain foods such as unhealthy oils (margarine, white sugar, flour pasta etc)
  • The increasing and continued use of drugs such as tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs
  • The increase of electricity/potentially harmful devices such as mobile phones, wireless internet/keyboards/laptops etc
  • Our continued over-reliance on prescription drugs for every cough, cold, headache and hangover
  • Increasing stress and busy, time-poor lifestyles

And then this one:

Our lives are filled with chemicals. Toxic chemicals.

We use them every day, putting them on our body (deodorant, shampoo, make-up), in our body (toothpaste, mouthwash), on our clothes (detergents) and all over our homes (cleaning products).

And according to Mercola:

“Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.

Once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down.”

After a significant amount of research here are my thoughts and feelings on why you should ditch the chemical products in your home and go for natural cleaning instead – for your house and body!

Every day we face a barrage of environmental toxins that can invade our body through the air we breath, our skin and the substances we ingest. Our skin is our largest organ, with 2.5 million sweat glands covering our body. In fact, just one square inch of skin has 650 sweat glands, 65 hair follicles, 234 feet of nerves, 57 feet of capillaries, 19,000 sensory cells, 94 sebaceous (oil) glands, 1250 pain receptors, 13 cold and 78 heat receptors, plus immune cells.

Our skin is not only designed to protect us from the outside, but also to let things in too. Sunlight, for example, is absorbed by the skin and benefits us in a number of different ways, including in the synthesis of vitamin D.

However, the chemicals and toxins we are putting on our skin every day could be doing more harm than good. Make-up, moisturiser, deodorant, detergents from clothing and washing, shower gel, soap, shampoo all contain potentially harmful ingredients to which continued exposure to could be highly detrimental to our body.

I know that it is not practical to avoid every potential hazard, and some argue that it is actually beneficial to make our immune systems work a little every now and then. However, I am firmly of the opinion that in our modern lives we simply come into contact with far too many unnecessary environmental toxins and pollutants, which further contribute to the stress we put our body under through our diet and lifestyle.

I really recommend you do your own research on this too, but here are some of the nasties I found lurking in our everyday products:

Shampoo & Shower Gel - Most popular shampoos and shower gels contain concerning chemical substances. I have long ditched the high-street shampoo for natural, chemical-free products and I’m so glad that I did. Ingredients in shampoos have been linked to hormone disruption (alkyphenols), cell mutation and immune system suppression (Sodium lauryl sulfate) and nerve damage methylisothiazoline). Methylisothiazoline has also been strongly linked to cancer, liver disorder and neurological disease . Most shampoos also contain formaldehyde which is a proven carcinogen.

UPDATE: we are proud to offer pH Miracle’s range of natural shampoos and conditioners! Click here for more info.

Deodorant – This is the one I would urge you to avoid more than others. The problem starts with aluminium, which is present in the majority of popular brand deodorants. Aluminium in these products has been directly linked to increase risk of many cancers, most prominently breast cancer. Aluminium has also been linked with neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, motor skill degeneration and bone fragility. Other toxic substances found in many deodorants include Ethanolamine that is a corrosive chemical that negatively affects the liver, kidney and nervous system. It is also an irritant that can lead to many skin allergies.

Laundry Detergent - Laundry detergents trouble me because of the amount of time you are exposed to them. Many chemicals are left behind on your clothes after washing, especially if you use conditioner that is designed to stay on your clothes! Different brands all use different detergents to try and get the cleanest clean and the edge over their competitors, so I have listed a few of the most common toxins to look out for:

  1. Petroleum distillates (aka napthas): linked to cancer, lung damage, lung inflammation and damage to mucous membranes.
  2. Phenols: these are featured in many household products and are highly toxic, a suspected carcinogen and are rapidly absorbed by the body.
  3. Optical brighteners: Can cause skin allergy, toxic to fish and can cause bacterial mutations.
  4. Artificial fragrances: Cause allergies, skin and eye irritation.
  5. Ammonia: Causes burns, cataracts & corneal damage. Studies have shown that long-term repeated exposure can lead to problems inlcuding bronchitis and pneumonia. Ingestion can lead to stomach and oesophagus ulcers.
  6. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: when repeatedly in contact with SLS severe eye, skin, and respiratory irritation can occur causing quite some discomfort
  7. Diethanolamine: this common detergent is listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pesticide and a hazardous air pollutant, and yet it is allowed in detergents and most cosmetics. Research has linked it to endocrine system disruption, as well as brain and nervous system effects. It has also been listed as a human skin toxicant and a respiratory toxicant by the EWG.

Oven Cleaner – Oven cleaning sprays are hardcore. The warning labels on these should be enough to put you off! Even before I became interested in my health I was still scared of oven cleaner – and after accidently inhaling some my fears were confirmed. Steer clear of this stuff. Just one look at an example warning label should be enough to put you off:

DANGER: CORROSIVE. BURNS SKIN AND EYES. HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED. May irritate respiratory tract. Contains about 4.5% sodium hydroxide (lye). Avoid contact with skin, eyes or clothing. Wear long rubber gloves and eye protection when spraying and wiping. Do not spray toward face. If product contacts person, immediately follow First Aid procedures. Avoid breathing spray mist.

Oven cleaners ofen contain lye and ammonia, both of which eat the skin. There is often residue left behind which is then cooked with your food. I’m getting nervous just writing this stuff.

There is much more scary information out there on everyday products such as toothpaste, make up, skincare, conditioners, furniture polish and a whole host of other products that we use every single day and put on our body, breathe in and absorb through our skin.

This, to me, is pretty scary and I think it is pretty clear that this is definitely impacting the state of our health as a species.

It is so easy, and not actually more expensive, to switch to natural, chemical-free products. I really recommend you give it a try. I made the switch eight or so months ago and it has been pretty easy – I didn’t find it hard at all. I just shop for certain products in certain places and don’t get everything from the supermarket any more.

And as a bonus, these products are all much more gentle on the environment too. So are natural cleaning products worth it? I would say – absolutely, yes – stop using chemicals in your home and on your body and start going natural instead!

Further Reading: Natural Cleaning Tips

Natural cleaning tip #1: How to clean your oven naturally
Natrual cleaning tip #2: Organic association on how toxic your household products are
Natural cleaning tip #3: How to use household products to make natural cleaners
Natural cleaning tip #4: Naturally cleaning your bathroom
Natural cleaning tip #5: alkaline ionized water is fantastic for cleaning vegetables, but even better is the acid water uses that the ionized pH 3 water has. The acid water is totally antibacterial, antiseptic and so can be used to clean all of your kitchen, bathroom, do sterilising and more! Plus it’s great for your skin.

Natural Cleaning Tips for your Body!

UPDATE we are now extremely proud and delighted to be able to offer the pH Miracle range of natural body products.

These are amazing value lasting over 3 months per bottle, and contain a wealth of luxurious cleansing and healing ingredients such as Avocado oil, Colloidal Silver, Wheat Grass, Lavender Oil, Aloe Vera, Green Drink Extract, Sodium Bicarbonate, Potassium Bicarbonate and Flower Essence.

We have also had a whole load of positive reports back from people using these products. A major source of toxicity are the range of toiletries and cosmetics that you use on a daily basis.

You may be ingesting or absorbing many toxic chemicals through your skin. Here is our chart of the worst offenders in our everyday skin and body products – I really urge you to check this out.

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Natural Cleaning Tips: What You Should Know About Chemical Cleaning Products by

About Ross Bridgeford

Ross Bridgeford is known as THE Alkaline Diet Expert...especially when it comes to implementation and making the alkaline diet REAL in your life. He has been living, learning, teaching, coaching and loving the alkaline lifestyle since 2004 and has written over 650 articles, alkaline recipes, videos and guides on how to live alkaline and stay alkaline for life.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise August 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

My husband was diagnosed with cancer at age 37. He started on chemo, but that was so awful, we changed to homeopathic treatment and now he is doing great. Hopeful to hear the news that he is cancer free very soon! I am always interested in learning ways to be healthier, and this is something that came up very quickly in my studies, so for him and the sake of our 5 children, we have switched to homemade or eco- products for all cleaning and hygiene. Our skin is the largest organ we have, as well as the largest filter, and we do need to be careful not only what we put IN our bodies, but also ON our bodies. It’s amazing to me the amt of criticism we get for our change in diet and other changes, but they do not have to live our lives, which have been hell for the last 8 months. So, thank you for all the work you do and the time you invest and the face that you share what you’ve learned with others.

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Anna Rapotu August 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

I’ve been aware of this for many years and only use eco friendly cleaning products and washing detergents, I can’t stand the overpowering smell of regular detergents.

I also think that we have become lazy, (the cillit bang adverts illustrate this perfectly!) People have got used to these super harsh chemicals dissolving grease and dirt with minimal effort when things can be easily cleaned with little products and a good dose of elbow grease! Also steam cleaners are great and use no products.

There are loads of natural products in the Uk, waitrose sells a good amount if there is no health food store near you. The co op has their own range of eco friendly detergents which are good too. I personally love faith in nature products, simply washing detergent and jergens body lotion (although the aloe vera one has parabens in it :()

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Catherine August 2, 2012 at 10:07 am

Hi there – great article, but the link the “worst offenders” isn’t working

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Zydrunas December 16, 2010 at 11:14 am

Great article. Thanks!

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Amy July 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm

thanks for puttin the shitters up me i shall never wash, eat or brush my teeth again >:(

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house cleaning atlanta July 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm

As an owner/cleaner of a house cleaning service I often wonder about all the cleaning products I and my staff are being exposed to every day. That is why I decided to start offering green cleaning to customers. Making the switch is easy. Granted green cleaning agents are not as effective as traditional cleaners but you can use them with much peace of mind. Not only do I feel better for the physical benefits but also for the environmental benefits of using these green products.

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Ross April 30, 2009 at 3:47 am

Hi Charlene x3

I personally believe that it is not beneficial to your health to breathe in chemicals. However, I would recommend seeing a natural health practitioner (possibly an iridologist) to see if there is anything going on.

Thanks
Ross

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Charlene April 30, 2009 at 12:03 am

Can cleaning products cause nerve damage.

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Charlene April 30, 2009 at 12:02 am

Does breathing in household cleaning products for an extended period of time cause nerve damage?

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Charlene April 29, 2009 at 11:58 pm

I have been in the household cleaning business for over 20 years and have been breathing in all types of household cleaners. Could these products cause nerve damage? Thank You!

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Art February 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Does this mean I have to go down to the river and bash my shirts clean with a rock?

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Ross February 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Hi Tracey

I’d disagree – have you tried the Ecover brand (available in most supermarkets)?

Also – research what you can do with just baking soda, lemon and vinegar – it is amazing!

Ross

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Tracey February 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm

This is all very well, but what do we use as alternatives, especially in the UK where alternative/healthy products are not nearly as easily available as opposed to the USA! I tried using a household cleaner that was chemical free and it was RUBBISH! Hardly cleaned anything at all.

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Ross January 10, 2009 at 1:51 am

Hi Katie and Gem

Thanks for your positive feedback!

It is great to know that there are others out there who think and feel the same as you isn’t it?!

I hope you’re both having a fantastic week
Ross

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Gem January 8, 2009 at 1:30 am

Hi Ross, your articles are brilliant, thankyou!
I have a severe salicylate allergy to chemicals, artifical colours, flavours, preservatives, fragrances and foods, so I do find our chemical society and created environments very hard to live in.
Luckily there are alternatives I can use in my home, but places like shopping malls etc will not be my friends until the social perceptions of what is ‘normal and necessary’ for a good life change.
A good cleanser for around the house is to use bi-carb soda and vinegar, and there are a few good laundry and dishwashing products out there. crystal deoderants are a good alternative if you find you are sensitive.
It’s great to have so much info like your articles available online, I guess all we can do is “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
In some ways my allergy could be viewed as a blessing, cause it forces me to prepare food myself using fresh healthy ingredients, and means I have to avoid all the nasty chemicals and additives or else – which is what I’ve always loved to do even before my allergy developed. Maybe I just have an allergy to modern society ;-)
I’ve been on a bit of an excessive dairy and sugar binge lately, so perhaps that has added to my allergy being a bit more sensitive,
Thanks again for all the info on your site!

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Katie January 6, 2009 at 8:36 pm

So wonderful to hear some common sense! For years I have wondered why lathering our bodies in toxic chemicals had become ‘the norm’. I changed to natural products early last year and feel so much better for it – some days I have so much energy I’m almost bouncing off the walls!

I encourage others to give it a go. Product markets are created by consumer demand, so consumers are the ones who can eventually change what companies produce through their purchasing.

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