As fall transitions to winter and balmy weather turns frigid, we will likely be spending more time indoors. Winter brings a period of indoor hibernation that allows us to savor all the cozy comforts of home—but it can also lead to depleted indoor air quality if the cleaning products we use are chemically based.
As winter approaches and we shut screen doors and windows, we have to be mindful of the cleaning products we use. A simple spritz of conventional cleaner can leave pollutants suspended in your indoor air for hours or even days after use.
An all-natural multi-purpose cleaner is indispensable to any household’s cleaning arsenal. A good Multi-Purpose Cleaner will easily wipe up grime without tough scrubbing or sticky, streaky residue left behind. They can conveniently clean a variety of surfaces safely and effectively all around the home, such as: countertops, painted walls, stovetops, appliances, floors, bathroom and kitchen surfaces, and more.
However, as you clean all over your home this winter, it is important to make sure your multi-purpose cleaner contains nontoxic, natural ingredients to keep your indoor air quality clean and safe for your family to breathe in. What ingredients should a truly natural multi-purpose cleaner not contain?
Preservatives are used in everything from food, cosmetics, medicines, personal care products, to cleaning products to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria and to extend the shelf-life of the product. The premise of preserving the quality of a product is great. However, preservatives become a problem when they include toxic chemicals that can lead to severe health issues.
Two toxic preservatives to avoid in natural multi-purpose sprays are methyisothiazolinone (MIT) and benziosothiazolinone (BIT). Both of these chemicals are still used in cleaning products to this day—even in cleaning products that claim to be natural— along with a host of other toxic preservatives.
MIT is an antimicrobial and common synthetic preservative used in cleaning products to extend shelf life and kill bacteria. In 1998, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found MIT to be a highly corrosive chemical that is toxic when ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin. As a result, the EPA created safety guidelines for those working with the chemical to protect manufacturing workers, such as wearing protective clothing, eyewear, gloves, and more. However, no such guidance was issued to consumers purchasing the cleaning products that contained MIT. There is strong evidence and concern for MIT as a human skin toxicant, allergen, and immunotoxin.
Benziosothiazolinone, another toxic preservative, is often used in conjunction with MIT in cleaning products like multi-purpose sprays. Both chemicals are linked to allergies, lung irritation and toxicity, and potential neurotoxicity.
Toxic Cleaning Agents
2-Butoxyethanol is also a common chemical specifically in all-purpose spray cleaners, but it is also found in products like herbicides, hydraulic fluids, enamels, and paints. It is a clear, colorless chemical often used as a solvent. Solvents in cleaning products are meant to soften and disperse grime, so people can remove build up without tough scrubbing.
2-Butoxyethanol can easily enter the body through the lungs by breathing in vapors or by coming into contact with the skin. Even short-term exposure to high levels of 2-butoxyethanol is linked to lung, liver, and kidney damage. Chronic exposure to 2-butoxyethanol has been associated with nausea, tremors, neurological effects, and anemia. In addition, animal studies reported reproductive and developmental risks from inhalation exposure alone.
It’s safe to say that this cleaning agent should be avoided in the cleaning products you bring into your home, especially in the winter season when it is less likely to be ventilated and filtered out.
Artificial Fragrance and Unnecessary Dyes
Dyes and synthetic fragrances contain a whole host of unknown toxic chemicals. Both dyes and synthetic fragrances are often unnecessary additions to cleaning products as they add no real cleaning power. Synthetic fragrances and dyes are often hidden under a “proprietary” blend of chemicals, usually tagged as “synthetic fragrance” on the label. This can lead to many unknown health effects, including skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, intense allergies, and disruption of hormones and reproductive capabilities. Natural multi-purpose cleaners should have natural fragrance options that are safe and still smell good.
Bleach is a praised household antibacterial primarily used to clean and disinfect surfaces and kill bacteria or viruses. But as powerful as it is at disinfecting, it is an equally powerful skin and lung irritant that can cause permanent tissue and vision damage. Exposure to bleach can occur immediately though breathing, ingestion, or skin contact. Direct contact can result in irritated eyes, blurry vision, throat irritation, skin irritation, coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath. Bleach reacts with our biological tissues, causing this irritation and even cell breakdown. In addition, if a homeowner mistakenly mixes two cleaning agents with ammonia and bleach, they can accidently create deadly chloramine gas.
Don’t get us wrong—we think disinfecting surfaces is important! But there are safe, plant-based options that still get the job done!
A Safe, All-Natural Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Reliable, safe cleaning products are indispensable to every family’s household. Fawn Organics is nontoxic and safe enough for every member of your family— from babies to grandparents. Our plant-based formulas are completely free of unnecessary dyes, chemicals, and perfumes to keep your home clean and family safe. You can deep clean your home without worrying about your family breathing in industrial chemicals or harmful vapors.
Shop Fawn Organics natural Multi-Purpose Cleaner and enjoy an uncompromised, family-first, and planet-first formula without toxic preservatives, toxic cleaning agents, toxic disinfectants, artificial fragrances, or dyes.