The 11 dangerous chemicals to ban from your bathroom

You wouldn’t think it but in fact, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home –

You wouldn’t think it but in fact, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home – we keep most of our cleaning chemicals, plus products containing all sorts of nasty stuff. And don’t get us started on the mould!

Everyone knows bleach and ammonia are potent and potentially lethal, but there are many more chemicals you should be wary of. Here’s 11:

1. Triclosan

Found in: antibacterial soaps, and some shampoos, deodorants, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and cleaning products.

You may have seen the advertising in recent years that says antibacterial soaps will get rid of 99.9 per cent of germs, but in fact regular old soap does the same. The difference?
Pump soap contains an active ingredient called triclosan. It has been linked to liver toxicity, thyroid dysfunction and higher incidence rates of food allergies and hay fever in children. Other studies have linked triclosan to allergic contact dermatitis.

2. Cocamide DEA

Found in: Lathering shampoos

The Center for Environmental Health found a chemical linked to cancer in dozens of shampoos, many of them the more expensive brands. The ingredient, cocamide diethanolamine (or cocamide DEA), is a chemically modified form of coconut oil used as a foaming and thickening agent.

When buying shampoos it’s best to check the ingredients and make sure that shampoos you buy do not say “cocamide,” “cocamide DEA,” or “cocamide diethanolamine” on the side of the bottle.

3. Sodium hydrate

Found in: Drain cleaner

When your drains become clogged, it can be tempting to use a chemical drain cleaner, however the active ingredient in drain openers is lye, also known as caustic soda, sodium hydrate, or sodium hydroxide. And even though lye has been used by people to cure food and make soap for eons, it is not good to have around the home.

Here is a DIY drain cleaner recipe.

4. Phthalates

Found in: Air fresheners and toilet paper

Everyone wants their house to smell nice but you don’t have to use chemicals to do it. Phthalates are found in bathroom fragrances however you may not find it on a label – it could be disguised as an ambiguous ‘fragrance’.

Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors i.e. chemicals that can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Unlike the digestive system, the skin has no safeguards against toxins, so the absorbed chemicals go straight to organs.

Try these all natural fragrance options.

5. 2-Butoxyethanol 

Found in: Window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.

2-butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in many window cleaners and gives them their sweet smell. It belongs in the category of “glycol ethers,” a set of powerful solvents that can cause sore throats when inhaled and in extreme cases can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage. An unventilated bathroom can mean you’re exposed to the dangerous chemicals much more than is safe.

This recipe for a DIY multipurpose cleaner will save you money.

6. Chlorine

Found in: Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, household tap water.

Chlorine isn’t just found in the pool – we can be exposed to it in a variety of places in the home. You are most commonly exposed through fumes and your skin when you clean with it, and also when you take a shower or bath. Chlorine is a respiratory irritant and may be a serious thyroid disrupter.

Make your own DIY toilet fizzing bombs here.

7. Isopropyl alcohol

Found in: hair colour rinses, body rubs, hand lotion, and aftershave lotions

Scientists believe that isopropyl alcohol has the ability to destroy intestinal flora, leaving the body’s major organs open to infection. At its most basic, isopropyl alcohol can cause headaches, dizziness, mental depression, nausea and vomiting if used in high concentrations.

8. Propylene glycol

Found in: makeup, toothpaste, and deodorant.

Stick deodorants have a high concentration of PG and direct contact can cause brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. When manufacturing staff work with it, they need to to wear protective gloves, clothing, and goggles. It makes you think twice before using it!

Here’s how to make DIY toothpaste and deodorant.

Tell us your thoughts below.

  1. Heartbreaking to think that a lot of these chemicals are inflicted on animals with their “product testing”. When you know, it sure makes you not use that product.

  2. My goodness….what is safe to use? One day should be using this product next day don’t use. Same with food…everything so confusing.

  3. It’s high time the manufacturers were made accountable for using these chemicals and putting people at risk, not only in cleaning products but also food. Perhaps then they would be more likely to tell us the truth about the products we use everyday, and or find an natural alternative that is safe for everyone.

  4. I’ve known about these things since 1994. So I changed as many as possible by using shampoos and conditioners, shower gels, toothpaste, make up and many other products that have no harmful ingredients. We’ve been extremely happy since then and an added bonus is no soap scum build up in the bath or shower recess. We even use them on Harri, our dog!

    • Mary could you please recommend and name some of the products you have replaced?

    • Trish, they are made by Neways! I get mine from a distributor but I think you can google them and get them direct. Think they are based in Adelaide and you can get them sent direct to your home. My friend gets ours and I generally put in a hefty order and it does us for a year or so! The trick is not to use too much as its not necessary! A little goes a long way! They have a very comprehensive list of products for the bathroom and for household use. Good luck!

    • I don’t use Neways, not for any particular reason, there are plenty of healthy products available.

  5. Of course there are chemicals in soaps, cleansers and shampoos; as the article notes lye has been a basis of soap since ancient times. Just use common sense when selecting and using bathroom items; surely we don’t want to revert to the Roman ways of using oil and body scrapers to get clean. I am careful with chlorine for the pool, which is far stronger than in any of those cleaners.

    • Rosemary Farley  

      Im like you Alan, use very little of anything, & if I do, very little. I saw a demo of Neways. Very expensive, but no doubt good. I tried hard to use natural products. Do use vinegar & tapwater & newspaer on windows but I guess that’s got something evil in it.

  6. We will just have to scrub ourselves down with a handful of sand and hope it has no crabs in it !!

  7. I have been saying for years that anticbacterial soap is bad for you. Also avoid anything that has a fragrance…if you can smell it it is in your system. not good. and dont get me start on those airfresheners and insect spray that release a spray every 20 mins OMG are you serious!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *