Cleaning and Laundry
Facts About Cleaning & Laundry Products
Indoor air is more seriously polluted than the outdoor air, even in the largest and most industrialized cities.1
Laundry and fabric softener products contain undisclosed hazardous chemicals with known health risks.2,5
Cleaning products, especially those with germ killing properties, are harmful to health.6
Air fresheners actually worsen indoor air pollution by adding toxic chemicals to the air.4
Analysis of fragranced products reveals undisclosed chemicals with known irritant and neurotoxic properties.3,5,7
Consumers need to make every effort to ensure work, school, and home environments are clean, comfortable, and
safe. It is not sufficient to trust that products have been adequately tested before they go to market. They have not.
Domestic Household Products to Avoid
All Fragranced Products
Fragranced Laundry Detergents, Fabric Softeners, and Dryer Sheets
Window Cleaning Solution, All Purpose Cleaners, Sprays, and Aerosols
Fragranced and/or Anti-Bacterial Vacuum Bags and Trash Bags
Commercial or Industrial Chemicals and Concentrated Products
Clean is the absence of dirt and grime that leads to odor. Toxic chemicals and strong fragrances merely cover up odors at the expense of health. There are many safe and effective cleaners.
Domestic Household Products to Use Instead
Laundry - borax, baking soda, or fragrance free laundry detergent
Fabric Softener - white vinegar in wash or towel wet with peroxide, tennis shoe, or tennis ball in the dryer
Air Fresheners - white vinegar, open windows, adequate ventilation, fresh herbs, and tea
Windows - white vinegar or water & squeegee
All Purpose Cleaning - white vinegar
Scouring Powder - baking soda or borax
Disinfectant - peroxide followed by white vinegar in separate cleanings.
Fragrance Free Products
Don’t Be Greenwashed! Just because a product is ‘green’ or ‘all natural’ does not mean it is nontoxic.
To download detailed brochures with inexpensive and safe household cleaning ideas, see:
General Cleaning http://www.mcs-america.org/general.pdf
Kitchen Cleaning http://www.mcs-america.org/kitchen.pdf
1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2010, April 26). The Inside story: a guide to indoor air quality. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidest.html.
2. Anderson RC & Anderson JH. Respiratory toxicity of fabric softener emissions. J Toxicol Environ Health. 2000 May 26;60(2):121-36.
3. Anderson RC, Anderson JH. Acute toxic effects of fragrance products. Arch Environ Health. 1998 Mar-Apr;53(2):138-46.
4. Anderson RC, Anderson JH. Toxic effects of air freshener emissions. Arch Environ Health. 1997 Nov-Dec;52(6):433-41.
5. Steinemann AC. Fragranced consumer products and undisclosed ingredients. Environ Impact Asses Rev (2008), doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2008.05.002.
6. Hahn S, Schneider K, Gartiser S, Heger W, Mangelsdorf I. Consumer exposure to biocides--identification of relevant sources and evaluation of possiblehealth effects. Environ Health. 2010 Feb 3;9:7.
7. Heather Sarantis, MS, Commonweal; Olga V. Naidenko, PhD, Sean Gray, MS, and Jane Houlihan, MSCE, Environmental Working Group; and Stacy Malkan, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance. 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/files/SafeCosmetics_FragranceRpt.pdf
Toxic chemicals emitted by dryer sheets and scented laundry products and health hazards
Steinemann, AC et all. Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health (2011).
Steinemann AC. Environ Impact Asses Rev (2008), doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2008.05.002.
Steinemann AC. 2008. Environ Impact Asses Rev REVISED 8/2010
Toxic Reference Databases
"Cleanliness may be next to godliness for some. It's certainly next to impossible for others. With today's super-powered cleaning products, it also can be next to poisonous." - Nickie Polson
This site is for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the examination, diagnosis and treatment of a licensed physician and no such claims are inferred. MCS America will not be responsible for misuse of this information or the misuse of any information provided by it’s member organizations. Articles, citations, links and information are not necessarily the opinion of MCS America and printing does not constitute endorsement.
Science & Medicine