On the surface, they’re great at what they do, repelling dirt, dust, and grime with nothing more than a spritz and some elbow grease. But many of these cleaners contain toxic ingredients that, while safe in small amounts, could have unknown long-term side effects–like phthalaltes, which help products hold onto fragrances, but may cause birth defects; volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which lower indoor air quality and can be connected to respiratory problems; phosphates, which break down dirt but can also affect algae when they enter the water supply; petrochemicals, or petroleum-based by-products that have been linked to cancer; and chlorine bleach, which disinfects but can cause serious health problems.
Many of these ingredients are the same compounds you are working to eliminate from your furniture, beauty routine, and laundry processes; if they don’t have a place in your living room, medicine cabinet, or closet, they shouldn’t be in your cleaning supplies, either.
Avoiding Toxic Ingredients in Cleaners
Since the EPA doesn’t require manufacturers to list every ingredient in a household cleaner, it can be hard to know exactly what you’re getting. Look for supplies or kits that are plant-based and fragrance-free, and that promise to not contain the chemicals listed above. Products that don’t test on animals are a plus, as are ones that are biodegradable as well as biocompatible (biodegradable means they’ll break down into their original ingredients, which is fine unless those ingredients aren’t natural; biocompatible products break down into water that’s safe for reuse). And be wary of companies that claim their product is “99% natural”–there’s no way of knowing what might be in that unlisted 1%.
You can always be certain with Le Savonnier Marseillais you are getting 100% natural ingredients.