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Especially to those that hurt women’s health and pregnancy.

Certain chemicals in cleaning products pose special risks to women’s health, including infertility and breast cancer. Here’s what to watch out for—and what to use as safe cleaning alternatives.

Clean Glass & Mirrors Safely

Glass cleaners often contain glycol ethers like 2-butoxyethanol, and these solvents have been linked with low birth weight in exposed mice. To clean glass and mirrors safely, use two cups of water mixed with two tablespoons of vinegar

Tip: using a microfibre cloth definitely enhances the effectiveness of this solution.

Harm-Free Laundry

The phthalates that conventional laundry detergents normally contain have been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. There are many commercially produced phthalate-free detergents—just check the labels—but for the adventurous, there are recipes for DIY detergents online. 

Normally, you just need washing soda, finely grated soap, and lemon essential oil.

Natural All-Purpose Cleaners

Unfortunately, it is all too common for all-purpose cleaners to contain alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEOs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) surfactants. These chemicals may adversely affect women’s reproductive health, developing fetuses and young children.

To create a safe, natural alternative, just blend half a cup of distilled white vinegar with two cups of water and 20 drops of essential oils—whatever you want your home to smell like!

Disinfect Without Distress

Quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) are a group of chemicals that new research is linking to birth defects. And unfortunately, in the age of COVID-19, they are commonly found in disinfecting wipes

Fortunately, an alternative exists: fill a 16 oz spray bottle most of the way with rubbing alcohol or vodka, then add half a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide. And voilá! You have a non-toxic surface disinfectant.

Deep cleaning your home can be therapeutic, cathartic and meditative. But harsh cleaning products, choked with chemicals, silently strip you of this joy. It’s never too late to switch to non-toxic, natural detergents and cleaners. Save yourself and your family from the serious health hazards of the bright-and-shiny, store-bought cleaners. 

Follow these simple alternatives and put together a safe and sustainable cleaning caddy. These products are good for your family. Good for the environment. 

And good for the planet too!


  1. 2-Butoxyethanol The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Phthalates and Their Impacts on Human Health Healthcare (Basel). 2021 May; 9(5): 603.
  3. Exposure to Phthalates and Breast Cancer Risk in Northern Mexico Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Apr; 118(4): 539–544.
  4. Endocrine-disrupting metabolites of alkylphenol ethoxylates – A critical review of analytical methods, environmental occurrences, toxicity, and regulation Science of The Total Environment, ScienceDirect. 2018 Sept; 635(1): 1530-1546.
  5. Get the Facts: NPEs (nonylphenol ethoxylates) Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.
  6. Do we know enough about the safety of quat disinfectants? Consumer Safety, C&EN, American Chemical Society.