Avoid These Deadly Household Cleaning Products (and Try These Safe Alternatives)

We all love a clean house — but, at what cost? Many household products are plagued with harmful (read: potentially deadly) chemicals that, over time, can damage our health and the health of our families. Luckily, with natural products transforming from progressive to the new norm, plenty of safe alternatives can be just as effective, if not more so, than your beloved Windex and bleach.

From DIY cleaning products to natural alternatives, we share some of the most popular safe alternatives to deadly household products.

1. Instead of glass cleaner, try a mixture of warm water and white vinegar

Woman cleans her window with a cloth.

Save money by making your own homemade glass cleaner. | Mariana-Rusanovschi/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Glass cleaners are full of harmful chemicals. Take Windex, for instance. Windex contains ammonia, a strong, colorless gas considered irritating and corrosive to the body. If you inhale it, you may feel an immediate burning sensation in the nose, throat, and respiratory tract. If you touch it, you can experience rapid skin irritation and burns. If you get it in your eyes, you can get severe eye damage and you could even go blind.

Long story short: Try to avoid household products with ammonia as much as possible. Instead, mix one part distilled white vinegar with one part warm water in a spray bottle. Shake it up, spray it on the glass, wipe away with a lint-free cloth, and voila!

2. Instead of surface cleaner, switch to a natural surface spray

The Honest Co. Multi-Surface Cleaner

A gentle surface cleaner can prevent allergies and irritation. | The Honest Co.

Like glass cleaner, many conventional surface cleaners contain harmful, life-threatening chemicals. So, instead of reaching for the Clorox, go for a more natural surface spray, such as Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner. Free of harsh chemicals, the spray is biodegradable, non-toxic, and pH balanced. The powerful, safe surface spray is an excellent alternative to your usual spray.

3. Instead of shower cleaner, try vinegar and baking soda

A man cleans his shower with a soft rag.

No more harsh tub chemicals | Di_Studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Did you know that you can clean your shower using ingredients you already have in your kitchen? It’s true! Homemade shower sprays are not only effective, they’re non-toxic! To remove tough stains from your shower, all you need to do is create a paste with baking soda and vinegar, and then scrub with a gentle brush.

4. Instead of wood polisher, try olive oil and lemon juice

Clean and smooth wood

Make your wood furniture shine with simple kitchen staples. | poplasen/iStock/Getty Images Plus

If you think Windex is bad for your health, just wait until you hear what wood polish can do. Thanks to nasty chemicals (petroleum distillates, nitrobenzene, and other carcinogensfurniture polish can be dangerous to your health.

Instead of using a harsh furniture cleaner, make your own by mixing one cup of olive oil with one-third cup of lemon juice. Combine the polish in a spray bottle, spray the surface, and use a clean polishing cloth to get the job done.

5. Instead of disinfecting wipes, try natural all-purpose wipes

A woman uses wipes to clean her counter.

Multi-purpose wipes are softer and more gentle than disinfectant wipes. | DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Think disinfecting wipes are in the clear? Think again. Just like glass and surface cleaners, disinfecting wipes can be full of nasty, harmful chemicals. Rather than expose yourself to these chemicals, opt for a more natural all-purpose wipe, such as Seventh Generation Disinfecting and Cleaning Wipes. Formulated with natural botanicals to clean and disinfect surfaces, this is one household product you’ll feel good about.

6. Instead of bleach, try this DIY alternative

A couple cleans their home together.

Mixing up your cleaning supplies can be fun. | DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Bleach may be a staple in your laundry room, but its chemicals are extremely harmful to both you and the environment. Instead of using bleach, try a DIY alternative, such as this one from Don’t Waste The Crumbs:
¾ cup of hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup of lemon juice
10-15 drops of lemon essential oil
¾ cup of baking soda
7 cups of water

Combine all ingredients in a container that holds at least one-half gallon of liquid and shake well. When you’re ready to use, add one cup per laundry load and wash with hot water.

7. Instead of dish soap, try castile soap

A pile of dishes ready to be washed

There is a better alternative to your dish soap. | Paul Michael Hughes/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Castile soap has many – we repeat: MANY – household uses. But one of our favorite ways to use the natural soap alternative is to wash our dishes. Thanks to its ability to naturally clean surfaces, castile soap works to remove oils, grease, and leftover food on all your kitchen items.

8. Instead of an air freshener, try an essential oil diffuser

Essential oils and other natural ingredients

Essential oils will make your home smell like a dream. | DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

If you love the smell of a fresh, clean home and often reach for chemical-ridden air fresheners, this one’s for you. There are many amazing uses for essential oils, but one of our favorite ways to reap the cleansing, aromatic botanicals is through an essential oil diffuser. For a fresh, clean scent, try diffusing a citrus essential oil, such as, lemon, sweet orange, or bergamot.