How do cleaning products affect the environment?

How do cleaning products affect the environment?

Whether we like it or not, household cleaning products play a vital and consistent role in our daily lives. There are a variety of daily cleaning essentials that we use to keep our homes healthy, germ free and clean;  but how much do we know about the chemicals that they are made with? Or how those chemicals effect our environment? 

By now, you have probably thought about how the products you use affect your health and the environment.  Maybe you have already switched from commercial products to non-toxic alternatives, or maybe you are still wondering what all the hype is about? 

Let's take a closer look at how the substances in commercial cleaning products can pose devastating consequences to our health, the environment and wildlife around us. 

How do toxic cleaning products affect our air?

family sitting on a couch with a dog

Researchers in the US looked at levels of synthetic “volatile organic compounds”, or VOCs, in roadside air in Los Angeles and found that as much came from industrial and household products that are refined from petroleum as from vehicle exhaust pipes". Yikes! 

The chemical compounds in the air form a dangerous ozone that can be poisonous to the humans and animals who inhale it. 

Inhalation of this poisonous air can trigger respiratory and heart issues in humans as proven by scientists from American Lung Association, in addition to causing severe birth defects and reproductive problems.

How do toxic chemicals harm water sources? 

Women stai

There are many toxins found in our every cleaning products that are harming our aquatic environment.  Here are a few of the most damaging chemicals. 

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

  • Present in various cleaning products, such as air fresheners, chlorine bleach, detergent and dishwashing liquids, dry cleaning chemicals, and oven cleaners. 
  • Will cause rapid and excess growth of algae in water
  • Widespread harmful bacteria
  • Harms aquatic life as algae causes a loss of necessary nutrients as sunlight is lost and oxygen levels are depleted
  • Poisons the water, making it unsuitable for humans and animals
  • Turns the water into a slimy green color. 

Nonylphenol ethoxylates

  • Used to remove grease from surfaces, present in many detergents. 
  • Extremely toxic for aquatic animals and organisms (it injures the gills of fish and damages their skin which lets in harmful bacteria)
  • Has been detected on all sorts of seafood and drinking water sources, which shows the danger this poses to humans as well. 


  • Often found in cleaning and laundry products, as well as air fresheners. 
  • A toxin that is often not written on the ingredients list, as it is part of a list of products protected by a secret trade law, but is contained by most fragranced toxic cleaners. 
  • Very easily leached from cleaning products and have a strong ability to spread. 
  • Has been detected in rivers, sources of drinking water, soil, air, and even rainwater. 
  • Proven by scientists to affect reproduction in both humans and animals

How is our indoor environment affected? 

When you use toxic cleaning chemicals indoors, they also pose a serious threat to your personal health when they are inhaled, exposed to your skin and evaporated into the air we breathe.  To learn more about the dangers of toxic chemicals and their effects in your home, check out How cleaning products affect your home and How safe are cleaning products for children.

Consider switching from commercial cleaning products to eco-friendly alternatives you are helping to reduce the negative impact these products are having on our environment and our health.  

Benefits of using eco-friendly and non-toxic products

All natural Cleaning products

Choosing eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning products is an easy way to prevent further harm to our environment, the wildlife ecosystems, and to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy. 

But where do you start? 

In our Subscription Crates, we offer top quality natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic, vegan, biodegradable, and sustainable products that do not harm the environment or your family.  Our service takes the guesswork out of which products to use in your home, and we deliver exactly what you need, right to your door.

Choose from our Add Ons to customize your order and fulfill all your specific needs. The Clean Crate’s subscription has products that you use in your homes everyday, and is a simple healthier, environmentally friendly alternative. 

Research and writing by Alina Zhang, editing by Candice Kincaid