I'm sure you've all noticed the bare shelves at grocery stores where household cleaners should be. We're all stocking up on Lysol disinfectant sprays and Clorox wipes like it's the viral apocalypse. And while it's great that we want to clean all the things, do you know what's in your cleaners?
Listen, I’m not going to get all high and mighty and be like, “Stop using Lysol immediately! AAAHH!!” That’s not how I roll.
But after some pretty serious health issues with my daughter last year caused by medicine, I’ve learned to pay more attention to what we’re putting in our bodies, whether that’s through ingesting medicines, inhaling sprays and cleaners, or through our skin by coming into contact with various products.
So, with all the hype around over-the-counter household cleaners and disinfectant sprays, I did some research on my own and found some disturbing information.
Today I’m going to share some information with you about Clorox Wipes, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, and Thieves Household Cleaner. All of the information and grading system in this post comes from a third-party, unbiased source called EWG, Environmental Working Group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You can use this site to check the scores of any product in your home for your own personal research.
Let’s start with Clorox Wipes. Until a few weeks ago, I had these in my own home and used them to wipe down my groceries as they came into the house, and to wipe off the countertops after putting the groceries away.
When conducting a search on EWG’s site for Clorox Wipes, these are the results:
Every single one of them receives a grade of “D”. I’m going to click on the product called “Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Fresh” to dig deeper.
This gives us more information about specific concerns, as well as information about the ingredients.
EWG shows the following for Clorox Disinfecting Wipes:
- Moderate concern for asthma/respiratory issues
- Some concern for developmental reproductive toxicity
- Low concern for the environment
Let’s look at the ingredients to further break this down.
These chemicals (alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonim chloride, alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chlorides C12-14 and C12-18) are used in everything from nasal sprays to cleaners, spermicidal creams to ointments, and are also used to clean algae from swimming pools, as well as a preservative.
There is mounting evidence of respiratory and asthmatic side effects from this substance, but pharmaceutical companies and cleaning companies continue to use it in abundant amounts.
“There is acknowledgement that more data are required on its safety, efficacy and effectiveness,” according to Wikipedia “especially with relation to:
- Human pharmacokinetic studies, including information on its metabolites
- Studies on animal absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion
- Data to help define the effect of formulation on dermal absorption
- Studies on developmental and reproductive toxicology
- Potential hormonal effects
- Assessment of the potential for development of bacterial resistance
- Risks of using it as a contraceptive method”
LYSOL DISINFECTANT SPRAY
Lysol Disinfectant Spray comes in various fragrances and promises to kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria, but at what cost?
When you research Lysol Disinfectant Spray on EWG’s website, here’s what you get:
The list of results shows several fragrances, all of which receive a staggering grade of “F”.
Let’s take a deeper look by researching the “Citrus Meadows” fragrance of Lysol Disinfectant Spray.
EWG shows the following concerns for Lysol Disinfectant Spray:
- Moderate concern for asthma/respiratory problems
- Some concern for skin allergies & irritation
- High concern for developmental & reproductive toxicity
- Low concern for cancer
- Moderate concern for the environment
I’m sorry, but that sounds terrible to me, particularly the “high concern for developmental & reproductive toxicity”. Let’s look at the ingredients.
Mipa-borate is essentially boric acid. Boric acid is an endocrine disruptor (hormone disruptor), may damage fertility and the unborn child.
Ammonium hydroxide is very toxic to aquatic life (think about where these chemicals eventually end up). It’s also highly likely to cause skin burns and eye damage, and can likely cause respiratory issues, even asthma.
Myristalkonium saccharinate causes respiratory issues, and, when tested on animals, causes reproductive toxicity.
Ethanolamine can cause skin irritation, asthmatic allergies, and central nervous system depression.
Butane can be an endocrine disruption, cause cancer and reproductive issues.
When I stop to research these products that I have had in my own home for years, it makes me sick to my stomach. Many of these harmful chemicals are approved by the FDA to be used not only in household cleaners, but also as additives in our food. We are ingesting these toxins through our skin, our mouths and noses, and even eating them.
THIEVES HOUSEHOLD CLEANER
Thieves household cleaner is made by Young Living. I didn’t want to look up the benefits on Young Living’s website – I wanted a non-biased grade from EWG, just like the ones I received when researching Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Clorox Wipes.
Thieves household cleaner receives a grade of “B” from the EWG.
Let’s get the breakdown for that grade.
The only concern is “some concern” for skin allergies and irritation. So far, so good. Now let’s check the ingredients.
Sodium Methyl-2 Sulfolaurate
There is a small chance this ingredient could negatively impact aquatic life.
Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Eucalyptus Radiata Essential Oils
These naturally occurring essential oils are derived from plants and are 100% therapeutic grade essential oils. As with all essential oils, there is a chance some people may experience skin irritation.
While the EWG site lists other potential issues with these oils, they are generalizations that pertain to oils that are NOT 100% therapeutic grade oils.
Here is the ingredient list directly from Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner:
DIY THIEVES HOUSEHOLD CLEANER
I love the Thieves line of products from Young Living, but I prefer to make my own Thieves household cleaner. I’ll know exactly what goes into my cleaner, and what my family will be using and exposed to.
DIY THIEVES HOUSEHOLD CLEANER RECIPE
For an 8 oz. glass bottle, combine:
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp. Castille soap
- 8-16 drops Thieves essential oil blend