The Ancient Paths Family Farm

Getting Back to Basics in Health and Nutrition

Natural, Non-Toxic Cleaners and Personal Products

Posted by theancientpathsfamilyfarm on December 19, 2007

Smoke Stack Does this make you think of “clean”? household cleaners - toxic

Some of the worst culprits contributing to environmental pollution are found right under our noses – under our sinks even. Petroleum based household cleaners can contribute to air and water pollution and consumers are often concerned about potential health problems stemming from the use of such products. There are alternatives to the traditional cleaners that are safer, cheaper and just as effective.

What are common ingredients in traditional cleaners?

  • Ammonia is toxic when inhaled in concentrated vapors and is considered a hazardous waste. Ammonia is found is all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, laundry detergents and metal polishers.
  • Chlorinated cleaners can be especially toxic. Some cleaners contain dioxin, a known carcinogen that can build up in the food chain, is stored in fat, and is believed to affect the endocrine system. Chlorinated materials are used in bleach, dishwasher detergent, and toilet bowl cleaners.
  • Glycol ether is a central nervous system depressant and can poison the kidneys or liver. It is often found in all-purpose cleaners and some laundry detergents as well as personal products, more info is listed below.
  • Oxalic acid is caustic and corrosive to skin and mucous membranes. It is commonly added to cleanser, toilet bowl cleaners and metal polishes.
  • Petroleum-based detergents contain neuro-toxins and central nervous system depressants. Exotic-sounding chemicals like nonyl phenol and alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs) are found in detergent, furniture polish, cosmetics and household cleaners, and contain environmental impurities.
  • Phosphates are added to dishwashing and laundry detergents because it acts as a water softener. Phosphates are released into the environment through waste water and are not removed by waste water treatment systems.
  • Sodium Hydroxide or Lye is in most oven cleaners. It is a corrosive poison and hazardous waste.
  • Formaldehyde is found in some air freshners and deodorizers as well as cosmetics. In its liquid state, formaldehyde, present in the ingredients DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15, can be absorbed through the skin and nails. As a volatile organic compound, or VOC, formaldehyde evaporates when the product is wet; levels drop sharply once it’s dry. The EPA classifies it as a probable human carcinogen.
  • Ammonium hydroxide and Perchlorethylene or Trichloroethane and Sodium hypochlorite are found in spot removers.
  • Diethylene glycol is found in window cleaner.
bubbly burn
As alarming as the above information may be, it is also alarming to discover what resides in our personal care products – shampoo and conditioner, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, cosmetics, etc. These are things that we use on a daily basis, often times several times a day.
  • Triclosan encourages the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, according to studies.
  • So-called coal-tar chemicals are found in many “FD&C” or “D&C” colors used in makeup and hair dye. FD&C Blue 1 and FD &C Green 3 are carcinogenic, and impurities in other colors — D&C Red 33, FD&C Yellow 5 and FD&C Yellow 6 — have been shown to cause cancer when applied to the skin.
  • Widely used in shampoos, DEA is a suspected carcinogen, and its compounds and derivatives include triethanolamine (TEA), which can be contaminated with nitrosamines — compounds shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Contamination is more likely if the product also contains Bronopol.
  • Formaldehyde, listed above, is found in cosmetics.
  • Glycol Ether found in nail polish, deodorant, perfumes and other cosmetics, some glycol ethers are hazardous to the reproductive system. Other effects of overexposure include anemia and irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Avoid those listed on labels as EGPE, EGME,EGEE, DEGBE, PGME, DPGME and those with “methyl” in their names.
With all of this lovely information at my disposal I have tried to find household cleaners that will not make us sick or leave a negative impact on our property (septic system and livestock or garden) or in the health of our family. Sometimes science can truly be scary!

What We’ve Done In Our Home

Our family has switched all of our cleaning products and our personal care products to basic products that clean just as well as the traditional cleaners. What do we use?

Household Cleaners

  • Instead of a bleach product to clean counter tops, use hydrogen peroxide and water.
  • Instead of a powder abrasive cleaner, use baking soda. Add water to make it a paste to use instead of the liquid abrasive cleaner.
  • Instead of other general cleaning products, we use Natural Green Soap.

Personal Care Products

The Co-Op Advantage: All About Natural Cleaners NCGA

38 Responses to “Natural, Non-Toxic Cleaners and Personal Products”

  1. Debbie said

    I’m enjoying your blog very much! Lots of great info. I’ve shared the site with a friend with the hopes that she will be inspired to make some changes in her diet.
    My question is: do you use the plain “Natural Green Soap” as your shampoo, or do you use the “Natural Moisturizing Green Soap” as your shampoo?
    Thanks for doing all the research and making it easier for me to get some answers to some of my questions on staying healthy.

  2. Hi Debbie. 🙂 It was great to see you this evening!!

    I have been using the Natural Green Soap and have had great results so far. The Natural Moisturizing Soap starts with the same ingredients but also includes a few plant materials and oils as moisturizers. That is on my list for the next order – to see what the difference is in the two products.

    What is highly recommended is to use the soap with the Crystal Clear Neutralizer.

    I did get a few pages of more information related to the Natural Green Soap, the Natural Moisturizing Soap and the Crystal Clear Neutralizer the other day. I would be happy to share that with you if you’d like me to. 🙂


  3. Debbie said

    Yes, whatever you think would be helpful, I want to know. I’m thinking about getting some of this Green Soap for our personal cleaning… shampoo mostly, and a facial wash, (if it would be OK for that). I need to read the info on it again. Plus, I’d like to get that deodorant stone too. So any tips before I order would be great.
    Thanks. Debbie.

  4. Yes – it’s great on the skin anywhere. Shalom tells me that he has noticed his hair is softer and his skin isn’t as irritated as it used to be. Miriam has such long hair that she still uses conditioner after she shampoos so she doesn’t notice as much of a difference. Sara and Eliezar don’t tell me if they notice any difference but I have noticed that Sara’s skin isn’t as irritated as it often was. (sensitive skin is one more common factor Sara and Shalom share LOL) And remember, we’ve not even been using the Moisturizing Soap yet! I can only imagine the difference we’ll see when we switch to that next and keep the Green Soap for cleaning the house.

    I get constant comments from DH regarding the deodorant stone too. He tells me that he really likes that I’m using it and he always notes that I don’t smell like deodorant. ?? Miriam likes it. But a tip would be – don’t drop it on your tile floor because it’ll break. *sigh* The good news is that it still works when it’s all chipped up. 😉

    ~ Lisa

  5. Sherry said

    Received my order this week and started using the soap. I love it so far! My hair and skin feel so much cleaner, and the itch from the soap “leftovers” are gone!


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