How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaners?

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Have you noticed the amount of Natural Cleaners at the Supermarket these days? Wondered why Name Brands are jumping on board of this "Natural" cleaning trend? Is there something we don't know about commercial household cleaners that we use in our home? Seems as though there is a lot about that "All Purpose Cleaner" under the sink that we are not being told.

According to the EPA, the air we breathe inside our homes could be as much as 5 times as polluted as the air outside. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality tells us that the average American uses 25 gallons of toxic and hazardous chemicals at home. Of the 17,000 chemicals found in household cleaners, only 3 out of 10 have been tested for effects on Human health. Many cleaning products contain petroleum products, which are slow to breakdown in the environment, non-renewable and can contaminate our air and water. Of these chemicals, many are flushed down system and make their way through our sewers to our creeks, rivers, and ultimately our ocean.

What type of chemicals are we using in our home environment? Commercial Spot Cleaners can be loaded with carcinogenic ingredients, neurotoxins, central nervous system depressants, and all of these are considered hazardous waste. Sodium Fluosilicate, Na2SiF6 A poisonous, white, amorphous powder; slightly soluble in water, and used to fluoridate drinking water and to kill rodents and insects, is commonly used in some commercial laundry detergents. Furniture Polishes can contain neurotoxins and other hazards to the environment. A closer investigation in household cleaners, commercial oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and metal polishes reveal a vast amount of chemicals that are used as pesticides and even fuel. Add the additional contact of these chemicals in the work environment and contact issues escalate. Is it any wonder that "occupational dermatitis" is the foremost source of work-related disease? Americans spend as much as $300 million a year in their quest for relief from contact dermatitis. Florists, domestic workers, hairdressers, food preparers, janitors, and employees in industry, construction, and health care are the people most at risk of contracting work-related contact dermatitis.

Common cleaning products may be more dangerous than the germs themselves. Often we forget that our largest body organ, our skin, absorbs whatever it contacts. Exposure to chemicals can be detected within a minute in all organs of the body. Many "cleaners" release their toxins as fumes. Mothers that breast-feed should be very cautious around household cleaners as many chemicals, like chlorinated products, can form orgono-chloride compounds that can be stored in fat cells and migrate into breast milk. Ask any parent how much contact a baby has with the rugs and floors in their home/day-care area, then consider the chemicals found in rug cleaners and spot removers on those same floors, and an awareness warranting caution emerges. Why are more and more pets being diagnosed with cancer?

The good news is that as awareness is being made about "commercial cleaners", more and more efforts are being made in the direction of "toxic-free Natural Cleaners". Diane Orcutt, of Hood River Lavender in Oregon, says "that with all the attention made to 'global warming' and efforts to protect our environment and our children, the path for natural alternatives to these toxic cleaners is being well paved." Orcutt goes on to say, "with the knowledge and side-effects of chemicals found in commercial cleaning products, one has only to step back a couple of generations before the man-made-chemical era and discover that the natural cleaners made from botanicals used for hundreds of years are still very powerful, and in some instances, even more powerful than modern cleaners. The focus on 'sustainable non-toxic all natural' cleaners is a conscientious statement of concern not just for one's self & family, but also the choice of minimal long-term effect on the environment."

Orcutt, who has "occupational dermatitis" from many years as a cosmetologist and esthetician, says the answer for her was as close as her certified organic lavender farm. "The hydrosol (linen floral water) that is created when steam-distillation is performed for lavender essential oil on the farm, is a very powerful natural cleaner and even cuts grease. The very definition of the name 'lavender' is 'to clean'. It is 100% botanical, biodegradable, safe to the environment including plants, animals, land and water, and also to the user. Because lavender is a natural antibacterial with antifungal properties, and has a long list of healing qualities, even for burns, it has been the answer for a cleaning product because of my dermatitis."

Orcutt goes on, "After years of practical usage and research with additional essential oils in our hydrosol, we have fine-tuned an amazingly powerful All Purpose Cleaner recipe that is 100% botanical, free of colorings or dyes, no phosphates, ammonia, butyl ethers or chlorine, and is very pleasant in aroma without synthetic fragrances. It is very effective as a spot remover, cuts grease, works well for dirt & buildup on floors, walls, countertops, sinks, tubs, toilets, kitchen, diaper pails, doorknobs, and even as a pre-soak additive in the laundry." Seems the power of Nature's own chemicals can provide solutions for household cleaning without the side-effects of contact to, or the unhealthy fumes of the chemicals used in commercial cleaning products.

The consumer now has a choice for what they bring into their environment. The alternatives to harsh chemicals are finding their way onto the shelves of our Supermarkets, and the consumer is beginning to making a conscientious effort to purchase these alternative products. The initial cost may be a few pennies more, but the savings are measured in home & personal health gain, environmental protection, and the satisfaction of knowing that one's home from floor to ceiling is free of toxins from industrial cleaning products.

A plethora of environmental & home-safe items can be found online with a simple Google search for the term: "natural cleaning products". Hood River Lavender's "All Purpose Cleaner" can be found online at Orcutt's website:

To learn more about the chemicals in laundry soap & cleaners currently in your home, simply go online to: and type in the chemical names in the page search bar.

For additional information contact:

Joel Orcutt

Hood River Lavender Farms



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