Chemical Kitchen Cleaners may be Hurting Your Sexual Health (What to Use Instead)
Keeping a clean and hygienic kitchen is important for good health, but did you know that the chemicals in kitchen cleaners can have negative effects on sexual health? But don’t worry, there are natural alternatives the cleaning products with harsh chemicals. And they’re better for you and the planet. Here’s a deeper dive into how and why your cleaning products may be bad for your sex life and the kitchen-tested, chef-approved natural kitchen cleaners I can personally recommend instead.
Harmful chemicals found in common kitchen cleaners
There are a surprising number of chemicals found in household cleaning products that are linked with health problems. Many are found in negligible amounts, but three associated with sexual health problems that you want to watch out for include:
Phthalates are a group of chemicals commonly used in fragrances and cleaning products. They have been linked to a variety of health problems, including reproductive issues, hormone disruption, and developmental problems.
Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical often found in kitchen cleaners and other personal care products. We don’t fully understand the impact of triclosan on the body but there is some evidence linking it to hormone disruption and has also been found to contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant commonly used in kitchen cleaning products. However, it does have some adverse effects, particularly in high concentrations. Exposure to high chlorine levels is linked with skin and eye irritation, respiratory problems, and other health problems including fertility issues.
How the chemicals in your cleaning products can hurt your sex life
There are a few ways chemicals used in cleaners can impact your sex life. First of all there is some evidence that endocrine disrupting chemicals (like some of those found in common chemical cleaners) may disrupt men’s hormone balance, thereby impacting sex drive. Another study performed in 2014 by Dr. Emily Barrett demonstrated that phthalates in common household items including cleaning products may be at the root of low sex drive in many women.
And in more bad news for men, it appears that some chemical compounds and solvents may also cause erectile dysfunction. In addition, there is evidence that the chemicals found in common household cleaners and personal care products can negatively impact fertility. According to a study published in Reproductive Toxicology, ingredients common in many household cleaners negatively impacted fertility in both male and female mice. The study did not examine the impact on humans. But this study, combined with previous evidence, raises a red flag on the impact of common cleaning chemicals when it comes to human fertility.
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How to recognize “good” cleaning products
Unfortunately, not all cleaners marketed as natural are created equally. Cleaning products are not required to list all of their ingredients. This means it is possible that a product could advertise as “natural” and “safe” and still have a potentially endocrine-blocking ingredient since these terms are not regulated.
But if you don’t know by checking the ingredients, how can you feel assured that what you’re purchasing is a “safe” natural kitchen cleaner?
There are a few ways to check if you’re getting what you hoped from an all-natural cleaning product:
- You can look for the EPA’s certification, the (DfE) label.
- You can also see if it denotes that the product is low VOC or no VOC, (low in or free of volatile organic compounds).
- Another good strategy is to look for kitchen cleaners that list ingredients and that they are things you can pronounce.
- And, if you’re also looking to support companies doing good work and working toward a healthy environment, you can also look for notations that the natural home cleaner is fair trade or biodegradable.
Some of the best natural kitchen cleaners
These are all tried and true products that we have used in our test kitchen and that I use in my home. They are not the only good natural cleaners but they are all-natural cleaning products that I can highly recommend.
For cleaning counters & high touch surfaces
Babyganics all-purpose surface wipes work extremely well for anyone who needs to wipe up a mess in a hurry. It is also safe for wiping down high chairs and eating surfaces. The wipes very handy if you like to frequently wipe down high-touch surfaces like refrigerator door handles and light switches.
For cleaning counters, I recommend Seventh Generation natural all-purpose cleaner. It’s one of a few brands I use but the reason I’m making it my recommendation is that it’s sold almost everywhere, it is not too expensive and does the job of a general cleaner and degreaser. (You can even use it as a tile floor cleaner however I don’t recommend it for hardwoods.)
Natural oven cleaner
Use Bon Ami powder cleanser for a non-toxic oven cleaner. But it isn’t just for ovens. It can also clean grime from most surfaces. It even gently cleans stainless steel. And it is the best natural oven cleaner I’ve ever tried. You can also use it for cleaning most kitchen sink and bathroom surfaces.
For cleaning dishes
For a natural dishwasher cleaner, I like Ecover citrus dishwasher tablets. They do a good job of scrubbing away stains in automatic dishwashers without ingredients that harm the planet. I do find that they are not as effective in some dishwashers. (The tablets left a film when I tried using them in a Bosch.) But I’ve found them effective in several dishwashing machines from other manufacturers including my current Kitchenaid.
For handwashing, you may have heard people say that Mrs. Meyers is the best. And I will say that Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Dish Soap does an excellent job on greasy pots and pans. It not only gets the pans completely clean but it doesn’t dry your hands. And it’s biodegradable.
That being said, it is one of the most expensive dish soaps on the market. For a slightly more budget-friendly option than Mrrs. Meyers, try ECOS Hypoallergenic Dish Soap, which does almost as good of a job and is equally gentle on skin.
But my preferred is once again from Seventh Generation. That’s because their liquid dish soap is fragrance-free and dye free as well as gentle on hands. I feel like I have to scrub a little harder with this soap on pans that have baked on grime than I do with the Mrs. Meyers but I love that I can finish washing dishes and still smell like me, not like a garden.
Natural laundry cleaners
And to clean those kitchen towels, I love Biokleen natural laundry detergent liquid. Their bac-out stain remover is also an amazing all-natural cleaning solution. And it is safe for most carpets and upholstery.
Homemade natural cleaners
Another option for keeping harsh chemicals out of your kitchen is to make natural homemade cleaners. Common kitchen products including baking soda, white vinegar and fresh lemon juice work extremely well to clean and disinfect. (If you didn’t know that white vinegar is a natural disinfectant, we bet you’re about to get excited about the possibilities of using this dressing base to clean all your high-touch surfaces.)
To make a natural all purpose cleaner, the basic recipe is to just put equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. If you enjoy fragrance in your cleaner, you can add a few drops of lemon essential oil or your favorite citrus oil to the bottle, then shake well before using. (Some experts also recommend adding a few drops of tea tree oil.)
But before you go crazy cleaning your kitchen with vinegar, you need to consider your surfaces. Surfaces such as marble and granite require more gentle natural cleaning agents. One of the best natural cleaners for granite is a combination of rubbing alcohol with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle of water.
You can remove stains, such as spilled turmeric powder, from most counter surfaces by gently scrubbing a paste made from baking soda and water on the surface until the stain lifts. But double-check that baking soda is ok to use on your surface before trying it.
Keep in mind that if you add essential oils, such as citrus oil to your DIY natural cleaner to give it a fresh scent, you’ll need to shake up the bottle of your homemade kitchen cleaner before each use as the oil will tend to separate from the cleaner.
RELATED: Why you should use castor oil for all-natural skin care
Kitchen photo by Good Soul Shop
This article was written in 2020 and most recently updated in March 2023.
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