Orangeville, ON (Caroline Davis) People use chemical-laden household cleaners and products around the home every day.

What they may not be aware of is the fact that many of these chemicals can be damaging to their health when inhaled. Skin irritations often occur when coming into contact with many chemical cleaners.

Many disinfectants contain phenol (aka carbolic acid) or cresol. These can attack the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas.

How can adding a load of chemicals to your home environment be good for your health and cleanliness? They may kill off the germs, but human beings are going to kill themselves off too, if they continue in this way. Many people aim to keep their homes a germ-free environment. If our homes are so germ-free, then our immune systems no longer have to work as hard. We run the risk of weakening our immune systems.

Another chemical-laden (and one of the most toxic of all) household product is oven cleaner. I have never used the stuff, as I remember the fumes when my mother used it when I was a child. That alone was enough to put me off for life! How right I was. Many oven cleaners release fumes which may affect the respiratory system. They contain ammonia and lye, which eat the skin. I prefer to use baking soda and water, sprinkled inside the oven and left overnight. In the morning, a good scrub finishes it off a treat. It does a wonderful job. Also, you don’t get any chemical residue odour the next time you use the oven.

Many artificial air fresheners release nerve-deadening agents. These can interfere with your sense of smell. Natural aromatherapy oils would be a much safer bet.

Respiratory illnesses such as asthma are at an all-time high. We should be looking to a more natural and gentle way of keeping our homes clean.

Using all-natural, non-toxic cleaning products is the best defence against dirt and grime. They keep our bodies healthy, are kind to the environment, and are not tested on animals. Everyone’s a winner.

Many companies claim their products are ‘natural’. It’s best to check the labels. They may only contain a few natural ingredients, while still being laden with chemicals.

Buying from a well-known ethical, cruelty-free company is the best way to go. Their products should be natural, safe, and non-toxic. They should also be environmentally-friendly and not tested on animals.