5 Harsh Chemicals Hiding in Your Cleaning Products

As consumers, we innately trust the products lining store shelves. We assume products like our household cleaners are safe because we expect brands to do their due-diligence and not sell us a harmful product. After all, cleaning products are meant to protect us from harm, right?

Unfortunately, the average household cleaner from the store boasts 62 harsh chemicals. Exposure to these chemicals over extended periods of time results in the body storing large quantities of these chemicals in our tissues. As a result, this can lead to developing cancer, reproductive problems, hormone disruptions, asthma, neurotoxicity, and more health problems.

We can’t always control what we are exposed to on a day-to-day basis, but consumers do have the ability to eliminate many harsh chemicals hiding in their household cleaners by switching to natural, plant-based alternatives like Fawn Organics Laundry Detergent and All-Purpose Cleaner, meant to clean and protect without harsh chemicals.

Take a look at the common household chemicals never found in our cleaning products:


Phthalates are a type of plasticizer, which are synthetic chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and durable. Phthalates are also used as a dissolving agent for other chemicals. Phthalates are incredibly common in household cleaners, but they are often hidden in the label under the term “fragrance,” so many people do not even know they are being exposed to them.

Many phthalates are known hormone disruptors that interfere with the production of testosterone, altering hormones and regular reproductive function. Continual phthalate exposure has been linked to altered hormone levels, reduced male and female fertility, low birth weights, bad allergies and asthma, and even irregular behaviors in young children.

Since manufacturers aren’t required to list phthalates in their ingredient lists, look for labels that say “phthalate-free” like Fawn Organics!


Formaldehyde, a highly flammable, colorless gas, is commonly used in laundry detergents as a low-cost preservative and as an anti-bacterial agent. In 2011, formaldehyde was officially classified as a known human carcinogen, yet it was not banned from use. According to the CDC, breathing in and smelling even small amounts of formaldehyde increase people’s risk of developing cancer. People easily come into contact with formaldehyde by inhaling fumes from cleaning sprays or by absorbing it through the skin from laundry detergents.

Long-term exposure to formaldehyde can lead to severe asthma and allergies, death of body tissue, nerve palsy, cancers like leukemia, and low white blood cell counts. Short-term side effects to formaldehyde may include skin irritation, watering eyes, a runny nose, and sudden headaches. No antibacterial or preservative is worth these risks—choose natural alternatives instead!


Parabens inhibit microbial growth and, as a result, are often used as a cheap preservative to extend shelf-life in laundry detergents and other cleaning products. Numerous studies have found parabens to mimic estrogen in the human body. What does this mean? By mimicking estrogen, parabens disrupt normal hormone function and trigger an imbalance that results in the growth of tumors. Once parabens penetrate the skin, they remain within the tissue and even increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, resulting in premature ageing. The long-term effects of parabens are still being studied as well as its link to breast cancer, but it’s safe to say that people should try to avoid paraben exposure if possible.


Ammonia is extremely common in household cleaners, and people can usually detect it by its noxious odor alone. Ammonia is a prized ingredient in household cleaners because it cleans surfaces without streaking, disinfects surfaces, and cuts through tough grime and stains.

However, ammonia can burn the nose, throat, and respiratory system when inhaled. It can cause corrosive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach if ingested, and it can severely irritate and damage the skin or eyes upon direct contact. When ammonia enters the body as result of breathing, swallowing, or absorbing it through the skin, it will react with moisture to create ammonium hydroxide, which destroys and damages cells in the body upon contact. Severe exposure to ammonia can lead to blindness, lung damage, and even death.

Chlorine Bleach

Given its noxious fumes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that chlorine bleach is an equally powerful skin and lung irritant that can cause permanent tissue and vision damage. Chlorine bleach is used in laundry detergents to disinfect clothes, remove stains, and make white clothes appear brighter by converting UV light into visible light. However, chlorine bleach is incredibly toxic to marine organisms and humans alike. In fact, safety data sheets from major bleach manufacturers say personal protective equipment is required when using it. However, as consumers, we never receive these warnings in advertisements.


These are only 5 common chemicals used out of the hundreds in our cleaning products. It is difficult to go on using these same name brand products knowing these toxins are polluting your home and your body. Protect your health and your family’s health by switching to natural, plant-based cleaning products. Fawn Organics makes sure going green has never been easier and better for your health! Our powerful plant-based formula gives your home and clothes the deep clean they deserve without any harsh chemicals or health risks. Explore Fawn Organics Laundry Detergent and All-Purpose Cleaner for a safe, effective alternative.


What caused your switch to green cleaning products? Tell us about your experiences or drop your questions below!

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