How To Spot Whether Products Are Clean, and What Chemicals to Avoid

If you’re like everyone else, products are probably a very important part of your life. You use them to clean countertops, scrub floors, wash your face and do your hair. But do you really know what chemicals you’re exposing yourself to each time you use your favorite products? Again, if you’re like most people, your answer is probably “no.”

Most people assume that companies manufacture products responsibly and use only ingredients that are safe. In a perfect world, this might be true. But the truth of the matter is that some products meant for everyday use are actually very harmful. Fortunately, there are ways you can quickly spot whether products are clean and safe to use. Here’s how.

Household Cleaning Products

Have you ever tried mopping a floor with just plain water? It takes a ton of elbow grease and doesn’t work very well. Household cleaning projects help make everyday tasks so much easier, but at what cost? Some chemicals in popular household cleaners

  • What to look for: Whenever possible, look for products that contain “green” ingredients. That means plant-based ingredients. Keep in mind, though, that not all “natural” products are non-toxic. That’s why you should always check the ingredient labels to see what’s really in the product.
  • What chemicals to avoid: You should always avoid products that contain any of the following ingredients:
    • Ammonia
    • Butyl cellosolve
    • Naphtha
    • Phenols
    • Formaldehyde
    • Propylene glycol
    • Perchloroethylene
    • Hydrochloric acid
    • Sodium hydroxide
    • Petroleum distillates
    • Sodium lauryl sulfate
    • Sodium hypochlorite
    • Trichloroethane
    • Sulfuric acid

The chemicals shown here can cause a variety of health issues, from nervous system depression to fatality. It’s never worth it to use these ingredients in your house.

Facial Care Products

You’d think facial care products would all be made with safe ingredients, since they’re used on one of the most delicate areas of your body. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Not all skincare products are created equal, that’s for sure. That’s why you need to be hyper-aware of the ingredients in all of your favorite facial washes, scrubs, etc.

  • What to look for: When purchasing products to use on your face, look for ingredients you can recognize on the label. Natural components like vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10 and essential fatty acids are all signs of a good product.
  • What chemicals to avoid: You should never put products on your face or skin if they contain the following ingredients:
    • Dibutyl phthalate
    • Formaldehyde
    • Diethylhexyl phthalate
    • butylparaben
    • Isobutylparaben
    • Propylparaben
    • Isopropylparaben
    • Mercury
    • Thimerosal
    • Triclosan
    • Toluene
    • Carbon black
    • Asbestos
    • PFAS
    • Lead

These chemicals should never be used anywhere near your body, much less on your face. They can cause reproductive harm, birth defects, and have even been linked to cancer.

20 Replies to “How To Spot Whether Products Are Clean, and What Chemicals to Avoid”

  1. Thanks for this information. My husband and I are in the process of changing all our cleaning products to natural save products. We just started – your information will help.

  2. Thank you, very informative, im aware of most items , but its great to enlighten and educate for ones health, mind, body and soul!🌹

  3. Thank you. Truth is that it has been many years now that I am aware of chemicals and all the E ‘s and I am taking care to avoid using products which including them.
    However, it is always good to read more of specialists knowledge.

  4. Thank you for the information. I have been using “green” chemicals and cosmetics and it useful to be able to check the ingredients.

  5. Its said that knowledge is power. Thank you for giving us (me) the power to keep health by giving me information about the safety or the common products we have on market.

  6. Thank you for this very helpful information. These bad chemicals is what makes our bodies toxic and we don’t even realize it.

  7. Going to check my face creams now, I already use green cleaning products. Great information!❤️

  8. Thanks. I try to use only products I ‘could eat’ on my skin, like coconut oil, glycerine, lemon juice, etc. But I know that I still have some way to go before feeling our home is really green. Good info especially for reading labels (for discarding toxic products already present).

  9. This is great to have these lists
    I’ll take them shopping with me until I’m only buying safe products.

  10. Question: is Mrs. Meyer’s products as clean as they claim? Also, is there any difference between Bronner’s Castile Soap and other brands?

  11. Hi Pamela. Thanks for your question! To find out details about specific products I think you may have the best luck checking the website of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). There you can look up most products and see results for how “safe” the ingredients are. Hope that helps!

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