Skip to content



What Chemicals Should Be Avoided in Cleaning Products?

It’s easy to overlook danger to humans when selecting chemicals to include in cleaning solutions. Manufacturers and developers become more concerned about the ability of their products to clean than how they affect consumers’ skin, sensory organs, internal organs, and biological systems.

There are potentially harmful toxic chemicals inside many common cleaning products. It’s possible to create cleaning products that use safe and natural ingredients, but some of the most highly effective cleaning chemicals are, unfortunately, also highly dangerous to humans.

Check your list of ingredients for any of these dangerous chemicals. If you spot any of the following chemicals in your cleaning products, beware of the product’s danger to humans.

Perchloroethylene (PERC)

Perchloroethylene is a chemical found commonly in fabric cleaners, including those that dry clean clothes and pull food and beverages from carpets. It’s a potential carcinogen and neurotoxin if inhaled consistently over time, which can happen as you continually clean carpets or pick up clothes fresh from the dry cleaner.


Formaldehyde can be found in some heavy-duty cleansers. It has been connected with the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that slowly eliminates the brain’s ability to control the body.

It can also cause damage to the nervous system in different ways than ALS does. In some cases, it can shift the balance of chemicals in the brain, which may lead to depression, mood swings, headaches, insomnia, irritability, and attention deficit.


2-Butoxyethanol is a common ingredient in multi-purpose cleaners and window sprays. You may recognize it by its sweet, slightly floral scent. It is a glycol ether solvent that helps break down dirt and oil.

Extended exposure to 2-butoxyethanol can cause high-grade liver and kidney damage, narcosis, and pulmonary edema.


Ammonia works as a polisher and glass cleaner, and while it is highly effective at leaving a streak-free shine, it also irritates human tissue. If you have lung or breathing problems, you’ll notice pain and discomfort quickly. If you don’t, prolonged exposure will still affect you and can cause permanent damage to your mucous membranes and cardiovascular system.

Sodium Hydroxide

Most people know already that oven cleaners are relatively heavy-duty cleaners. So are clog removers and drain cleaners, and it’s because they use lye, or sodium hydroxide, to corrode baked-in food and clumps of dried and hardened hair and skin.

Even mild contact with skin or inhalation can cause severe reactions with sensitive areas. You may feel a burning sensation in your throat or on your skin for days following use of sodium hydroxide.


The same chemical used to clean pool water is concentrated in scouring powder, laundry whiteners, toilet bowl cleaners, and mildew removers. Prolonged exposure can disrupt thyroid function, irritate skin, and cause chronic dryness.

Cleaning (and Making Cleaners) Safely

Many consumers are now taking advantage of the natural cleaning power of household items such as baking soda and vegetable soaps, and manufacturers are responding to the demand to create naturally safe cleaning products free of toxic chemicals. Avomeen’s cleaning product testing services are ideal for those who want to create cleaning products that are incredibly effective and reliably safe.