How Clean are your Cleaners

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Raise your hand if you remember a cabinet in your parent’s kitchen filled with bottles embellished with Mr. Yuk stickers. And we knew whatever brightly colored liquids in those bottles were not safe, to drink, to touch, to smell, or just generally be around. And that instilled the tradition to keep that cabinet on lockdown for each generation to follow. We had a cabinet of cleaning supplies that was dangerous and we should not be near it. 

Wait… what? 

First off, why are we cleaning the surfaces that we eat off of, cook off of, and live on with chemicals that we should lock away in the cabinet?

Ahhh cleaning day, well in my house with two toddlers, every day is cleaning day. For the amount of chocolate milk splatters I clean from my walls, I sometimes think my kids are practicing to recreate a Jackson Pollock painting. And for as much fun as they have making messes, they enjoy trying to help me clean it up twice as much. And that is why I need the products I am using to be safe. 

When I was pregnant with Alessia, I began my journey towards cleaner and greener cleaning products. I knew I wanted to use non-toxic products when pregnant, well, because I was told to. But it really got me thinking. If I am supposed to use “better for you” products when pregnant, why am I not using them all of the time?

So, let’s get down and dirty with nasty facts of popular cleaning products. 

Did you know that the average household contains over sixty toxic chemicals?

We’re exposed to them routinely and obliviously. Ingredients found in our favorite household products have been linked to hormone disruption, breathing trouble, disease and even cancer.

Chlorine, Ammonia, and Formaldehyde

These are just a few of the dangerous chemicals that can be found in our cleaning routines. But, we have been hearing about these nasty three for years. The hidden chemicals are what we need to watch out for.


Phthalates, are often found in products that are fragranced and are known endocrine disruptors. A safer swap are products that are either fragrance free or scented naturally with pure essential oils.


Triclosan is a chemical with antibacterial properties, and for years it has been used to formulate the products that we use daily. It can be found it soaps, detergents, even toothpaste. Now what can be so bad about something that is antibacterial? Especially after the year we just lived through. Well, research has shown that triclosan can be harmful to your immune system. That seems pretty counter productive. Swap out products that list triclosan as an ingredient with simple soaps and detergents with short lists of ingredients. And if you rely on hand sanitizer often, opt for an alcohol based product without triclosan.

Sodium Hydroxide

The last hidden chemical I want to talk about today is Sodium Hydroxide. Well that doesn’t sound so bad. But the name can be deceiving, many other sodium compounds are safe. But sodium hydroxide is not and is more commonly known as lye. It is extremely corrosive, If it touches your skin or gets in your eyes, it can cause severe burns. Another dangerous way to be exposed to sodium hydroxide is inhalation. You can get the same benefits of sodium hydroxide without the nasties with baking soda and little bit of muscle. See you can get your arm workout in, and save your skin and lungs from chemicals at the same time!

Here is a quick rundown of some common sodium compounds

Sodium bicarbonate – aka Baking soda – good

Sodium carbonate – aka washing soda – good

Sodium Hydroxide – aka lye – bad

Now that you have heard all of the bad, it is time to hear some good. I have spent a lot of time researching products that are better for my family, and I want to share them with you. And I have stocked the shelves in my store just to do that. 

If you are local to Western Pennsylvania, Peach + Park has a refill station lovingly referred to as the BYO bar. You can find cleaning products for all areas of your home that have been curated specifically because of their safe ingredients. Come check it out!

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