Many of the things we bring into our home in order to clean, will actually create a more toxic environment due to their harsh ingredients. Of course that’s not the case will all cleaning products, but a large number of them are toxic and unhealthy to be around.

Ammonia and bleach are two common ingredients that are quite toxic (particularly if they are mixed) and yet we often have them spread over most surfaces around our homes on a regular basis. Besides surface cleaners, there are also toxic toilet cleaners, drain uncloggers, air fresheners, scrubs, and stain removers. The number of cleaning options available to us is astonishing, all with their own unique chemical laden-product.

With a little ingenuity and time, you can usually make up your own homemade mixtures of vinegar or baking soda to do most of these jobs with almost no chemical reside left behind. If you don’t have the time to make your own cleansers, there are some really good products on the market that you can use to keep your home toxic free.

Generally speaking, you want to use products that are free from “volatile organic compounds” (aka VOCs). These are the worst for leaving fumes and chemicals in the air to irritate the lungs and skin. Since even rather healthy cleaners do have chemicals, they are seldom labeled as organic. Instead, look for Green Seal certification as one way to find healthier options.

Seventh Generation, Bio Kleen, Dr Bronner’s, Earthrite, Shaklee and Green Works are a few very well-known brands that avoid phosphates and bleach. These products are usually made with plant-based materials and natural oils. But to be sure, always check the labels on each product before you buy it.

Things to specifically avoid: phosphates, formaldehyde, phenols, hydrochloric acid, ammonia and bleach. Bleach is chemically named sodium hypochlorate, so you should watch for that in the ingredient lists. If the bottle is labeled as a hazardous liquid, then you might not want it in your home.