They can contaminate water, harm to the environment, cause damage by inhalation, be irritants by contact … We are talking about basic household cleaners (scourers, descaling agents, softeners etc). You think they are essential – but are they always?
Here are some of the worst ones that I’ve researched:
1.) Toilet cleaner. Toilet products are often more aggressive than other cleaning products, as they usually contain acids.
Those that come as blocks add contaminants to the water supply (their active ingredients head straight to the drain), and are they clearly dangerous for children, attracted by thei bright colours and playful designs, touch them and and then touch their mouths, or even eat the small blocks themselves.
In addition, according to a number of studies, they are not even especially effective, so in all, it’s probably best to just avoid them.
2.) Drain cleaners. These products are just as aggressive to humans as they are to the environment, due to the corrosive substances they contain to remove blockages, usually caustic soda.
They are effective, but there are more innocuous alternatives, notably prevention (avoiding using products that could cause a build up of material or a blockage), as well as installing removeable drainage valves.
If the blockage has already occurred, you can start by resorting to some of the old-fashioned manual alternative (the traditional plunger, compressed air or a flexible wire), taking care not to damage the drain pipes.
3.) Disinfectants and antibacterials. They are generally considered to be useless, and for many, counterproductive, creating an atmosphere of unrealistic asepsis and contributing to the creation of bacterial resistances.
In addition, the substances remain in the drainage water and are dangerous to flora and fauna.
It is not necessary to use these products to clean: simple detergent is plenty. It is not necessary to use a disinfectant: the detergent is capable of destroying harmful microorganisms.
It is advisable to always have a multipurpose product, one of those famous general cleaners products designed to remove dirt from most surfaces. These products can be used on different types of dirt, and also on different surfaces (floors and ceramics).
4.) Air fresheners. These products contain solvents that are potentially harmful to health, as they can cause or worsen conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and migraines … especially in weaker individuals.
The alternative is to allow fresh air to circulate and to air out all rooms regularly.