What’s in a Name?: Commercial Cleaning Ingredients and Their Impact on Your Family’s Health

Commercial cleaners leave little clarification for the public. In order to demystify a couple main ingredients found in the majority of cleaning products, I thought it only fair to research the chemicals used and their harmful effects on consumers.

Ammonium Chlorides

Ammonium chlorides are prevalent in the majority of household cleaners today.  Here are ingredient names that will be listed on cleaning product labels:

  • Benzalkonium chloride
  • Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride
  • Dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride
  • Dialkyl methyl benzyl ammonium chloride
  • Didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride
  • Lauryl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride

Michigan State University composed a report and included these findings  regarding ammonium chlorides:

The use of these materials in spray products and plug-in air freshener products is particularly
worrisome in terms of increased chemicals in the air and exposure to both the persons using the
products as well as the individuals who are using the space. A recent CDC report considers disinfectant
spray-fog technique to be an unsatisfactory method. The results of a recent longitudinal study from the
European Community Respiratory Health Survey, which found the highest risk of development of new
onset asthma among consumers, usually women, who used three or more spray products in their homes
four or more days a week, highlights the concernabout spray cleaning products in general.

The study confirms that ammonium chlorides cause asthma.

Products including ammonium chlorides:

  • Scrubbing Bubbles Heavy Duty with Fantastik
  • Scrubbing Bubbles Antibacterial
  • Lemon Fresh Pine Sole All Purpose
  • Clorox Disinfectant Wipes, Lemon Scent
  • Pledge Multi Surface II Antibacterial Everyday


Fragrance is another harmful substance on the list of many household products. Fragrance is found in fabric softeners, laundry detergent, dish detergent, Windex, all purpose cleaners, deodorants, perfumes, and air fresheners.
The ingredient “fragrance” is composed of petroleum based man-made chemicals according the Committee on Science & Technology.  The Committee continues to state:
Petroleum based  chemicals are being found to cause significant attritional effects to the nervous system and immune system after prolonged exposure. Illnesses identified in the medical research include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders, immune system weakening, autoimmune disorders, asthma, allergies, infertility, miscarriage, and child behavior disorders including learning disabilities, mental retardation,  hyperactivity and ADD (attention deficit disorders).

Other Ingredients

This content is most disconcerting. As much as 99.78% of the product content can go unspecified and will read “other ingredients”. We have no idea what else is in the bottle, let alone what is entering our homes, our bodies, and our environment.

Take control of what is in your home!

Here’s how:

1. Go old fashioned!

Use organically derived ingredients to sustain the health of our earth and bodies. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Google baking soda, vinegar, and lemons and see how you can naturally remove stains, rust, and paint. Don’t forget about the products that have been around since your great grandma. 20 Mule Team Borax is one example of an environmental friendly product that has been around for generations and can be used in a variety of ways.

2. Don’t be scared of germs.

Our modern culture is crazed over “Killing 99.9% of bacteria” and being germ-free. Our bodies have tons of bacteria – healthy ones! Conventional commercial products play off fear tactics and while they may kill bad bacteria, they destroy the healthy ones, too! The products are actually so potent, they are conditioning antibiotics to become ineffective. Do yourself a favor and instead of trusting commercial products, become healthy yourself. Eat right, sleep well, and exercise. Build your own immunity and continue growing healthy bacteria to fight sickness for you.

3. Find Alternatives

Maidorganic offers a line of cleaning products that is effective and not in any way harmful.  Natural products can still mean chemically produced and pollutant potent. Maidorganic creates their product by hand with each pronounceable ingredient shown on every label.


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