Common Household Cleaning Products That Can Damage Your Liver

Written by Donna Patterson

Household cleaners that can damge your liver

Did you know the cleaning product you use in your home could be killing you slowly?

Unfortunately, it is quite true. Just Google the health hazards of the products you use at home and you will be can be surprised that so many of them contain dangerous or even cancerous compounds.

In this blog, I share just a few of the dangerous household cleaning products that can liver damage. You will also find some healthier cleaning options to use as alternatives.

Why? The liver along with the kidneys are a major part of the detoxification system of the body. The liver removes toxins and filters poisons in the body. The liver is also part of the digestive process and helps extracts energy from out food.

In other words, when the liver is not functioning properly, our entire body is at risk.

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Every day, we are exposed to many chemicals/toxins that enter the body by absorption, ingestion, or inhalation through the skin. Regular use of cleaning products and agents further enhances this toxic burden. Most of these toxins are fat-soluble and can be stored in fat or muscle tissue for years. They enter the bloodstream and require detoxification by the liver to remove them. This puts additional stress on the liver and supporting organs to filter the toxins.

Various common household cleaning products can irritate the eyes and throat, cause headaches, severe liver damage, and other health problems, including cancer. Few of these household cleaning products release dangerous chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other harmful cleaning agents include bleach and ammonia.

Common harmful cleaning products that damage the liver include carbon tetrachloride, a dry cleaning solvent called vinyl chloride (used in plastics).

Household Cleaning Products To Avoid

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The labels on cleaning products can be misleading, and many cleaners labeled “natural” or “mild” are other than that. Here are some of the most commonly used harmful ingredients to avoid to protect yourself, your family, and our precious planet.

Carpet or Upholstery Cleaners

Carpet cleaners have naphthalene, which is known to cause liver damage and cataract formation when exposed for extended periods. Perchloroethylene in carpet cleaning items is cancer-causing and can cause neurological damage, headaches, dizziness, renal dysfunction, and other problems resulting from even short-term exposure.

Air freshener

I fully understand that homes should smell good, but air fresheners are just one of many sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), according to the Environmental Protection Agency. They can cause instant headaches, memory loss, dizziness, visual impairment, and respiratory tract infections. Over time and with regular use, VOCs can cause severe damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Deodorants also contain phthalates, formaldehyde, and 1.4 dichlorobenzenes (carcinogenic agent).


Bleach is a highly corrosive substance that can affect the respiratory system when inhaled. It can also irritate the skin and eyes and cause burns. Inhalation of bleach can cause lung edema, coma, and vomiting. It is suggested to wear rubber gloves and a dust mask when using bleach.

Drain Cleaner

Most chemical cleaners contain lye and various other chemicals known to cause burns to the eyes and skin and even blindness. Ingesting a small drain cleaner can cause severe damage the throat and stomach and can even be fatal.


The following states some main compounds in detergents and the hazards associated with them.

Musk Nitrite: These chemicals in detergents can accumulate in breast milk and be transmitted to babies.

Benzene Fume: Liquid detergents are easily inhaled and can have chronic effects on the central nervous system and cellular mucosa.

Xylene: in dishwashing liquids have been shown to cause immunosuppression in rats and are easily inhaled by the rising vapor from the sink. If you do not wash the dishes thoroughly, these toxic cleaners will be administered.

Disinfectants: Often contain formaldehyde, ammonia, ethanol, and chlorine, which can cause organ damage and depression.

Multipurpose cleaning agent: Associated with rashes, dermatitis, and chemical burns. 

Negative Side Effects of Detergents

Detergents dissolve fat and can be very harmful to fat parts of the body, such as fat that protects the brain, endocrine glands, and your organs. Chronic long-term exposure to detergents can increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, and dementia. You don’t want detergents to destroy your brain cells and fat nerves. Detergents are present on washed clothing and bedding and regularly expose the skin to these residues, causing breathing problems, rashes, sensitization, and irritation.

Surfactants can break down into heterologous estrogens or nonylphenols, which are “estrogen mimics.” That can disrupt the reproductive and endocrine systems. This is thought to upsurge the risk of estrogen-dependent cancer.

Non-toxic Cleaning

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What can I do to protect myself?

Being aware of all the harmful toxins contained in these products will help reduce their use and exposure. Alternative products can replace those that do not pose the health risks associated with traditional products. This is beneficial in that it is inexpensive and does not require checking the labels of harmful chemicals. You also have the option to make your own. Clean the product with baking soda, lemon, vinegar, borax, and more.

Try buying a natural, biodegradable product that does not contain chemicals. These are readily available online or at health food stores. Free of harsh chemicals, these little berries cleanse your clothes without invading your body with toxins.

In addition to switching to chemical-free products, it is beneficial to work on improving liver health. The liver’s detoxification pathway removes toxins that have accumulated in the body.

Most household cleaning products are relatively safe to use as directed, and the product’s toxicity level depends on the dose of the product used. Do not exceed the amount indicated on the label and duration of exposure to the product. By doing so, you can minimize the harmful effects of cleaning products.

Beware of Greenwashing

If a supermarket cleaning product claims to be “green,” biodegradable,” or “natural,” it does not necessarily mean that it is non-toxic. In 2010, environmental consultancy TerraChoice Group generated a report called “The Sins of Greenwashing.” For example, “CFC free” is common. The team found that more than 95% of so-called green consumer products commit at least one “greenwashing crime,” including making potentially valid but insignificant environmental claims.

Some DIY Cleaners You Can Try

 woman cleaning.  Is It

Clean your home cheaply and safely with the following recipes:

Carpet Shampoo-Mix 3/4 cup of plant-based liquid soap, 3 cups of water, and ten drops of peppermint essential oil. Rub the foam over the dirty area with the help of a damp sponge. Allow it to dry entirely before evacuating.

Laundry Soap-Try “soap nuts” prepared from dried fruits of Chinese cranberry trees. Natural groceries and reusable soap nuts available online are in cotton bags that go into the washing machine with your clothes.

Dusting – Avoid polishing furniture. Use a microfiber cloth instead. Made from synthetic fibers, it is then split into hundreds of small microfibers that catch dust more efficiently than regular rags. If necessary, you can also use a small amount of olive oil as a fine abrasive.

Symptoms of Liver Damage

According to Healthline, general liver damage symptoms may include the following:

  • Jaundice: Yellow skin and eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Pale, bloody, or black stool
  • Swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Itchy skin
  • Easy bruising

How Can I Maintain A Healthy Liver

The best ways to maintain a healthy liver include but not limited to:

  1. Drinking adequate water to flush out toxin and maintain hydration.
  1. A healthy diet
  1. Consuming healthy fats.
  1. Make gut health is top priority: using digestive enzymes and probiotics
  1. Regularly cleanse or detox your liver.

In conclusion, the liver plays an important role in the body from removing toxins and waste from the body to utilizing nutrients to provide energy and much more. Although the liver has a regenerative capacity, it can become overwhelmed and stressed by the constant onslaught of harsh chemicals, toxic substances, environmental pollutants from the compounds we use and are exposed to every day.

Hence we must be more vigilant as to what we choose to eat, use on our bodies and in our homes. We may not be absolutely free from dangers, but those healthy choices can go a long way to improve the health and safety for us and our families.

If you have been feeling funky and out of sorts lately or just have not taken a cleanse or detox in a while and looking for an easy way to detox your body and support a healthy liver, then click HERE to start your wellness journey. This nutrition recommender will help choose the right option for you based on science and your lifestyle.

Start here to take the quiz.

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