Our bleaches, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, softeners, polishes, glass cleaners, air fresheners, disinfectants and detergents certainly get the job done!

However, there are many concerns among home owners about other aspects of these types of products. Is it really safe to use products to clean our homes that have very clear warning signs on the side of their bottles? Could they be damaging our health and that of our children and pets? Here we look at some green alternatives to standard cleaning products and show you how you can make the switch without compromising the cleanliness of your home.

What’s hiding under your sink?

We assume that many of the chemicals that we purchase from the supermarket are safe but in fact they often contain highly toxic chemicals which, if you can, you should try your best to avoid, or at least limit your exposure to them as much as you can.

Most estimates put the average amount of toxic chemicals in a household to be at least 60 and what’s more if we are exposed to them frequently then we can increase our chances of reproductive problems, breathing problems like asthma, hormone interruptions and cancers. Even in the short term using products without proper protection can result in burns, sore eyes and skin or breathing irritation. So when you are purchasing these products which chemicals should you take extra caution when handling? The warning labels on bottles can give you some indication but here are a few concerning chemicals to keep an eye out for.


Ammonium hydroxide is a common chemical found in several different types of cleaning products. Ammonia can be found in multi-purpose, glass and window cleaners, shining waxes and oven or drain cleaners. Ammonia is a natural substance, however high levels can cause irritation to the eyes and skin.


Butoxyethanol, or 2-Butoxyethanol as it is officially known, is an all purpose cleaning solvent. Users of this product are encouraged to dilute it before use as the chemicals are so strong and are linked to eye irritation and blood cell damage.


One chemical on this list that you are more likely to have heard of before is Chlorine thanks to its wide spread usage in swimming pools. However, you might not notice Chlorine in some cleaners as it can also go under the guises of hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite. Chlorine can cause irritation to the lungs when breathed in and can be a nuisance to those with breathing problems such as asthma or emphysema.