The bathroom is a breeding ground for bacteria so it is understandable why many of us think using conventional anti-bacterial products to clean is the logical way to go. However, research has shown that along with killing germs some germ killing sprays appear to weaken fertility by negatively affecting sperm production and ovulation in mice.
Health researchers are concerned about specific chemicals used in cleaners—including popular brands like Lysol, Clorox, Fantastik, Febreze, Formula 409, Mr. Clean, Spic and Span, and Simple Green—called quaternary ammonium. Quaternary ammonium compounds (called Quats for short) are also used in algae-killing swimming pool chemicals, lumber treatments, anti-static laundry products and some cosmetics. Quats are also commonly used in hair conditioners, shampoos, and even lotions, to create a slippery feel to the hair and skin.
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According to the Chemical Safety Database, Quats have the potential to cause skin and respiratory irritation, causing allergic reactions and some have been found to be endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with hormone function. Quats are also toxic to our sea friends so they are not good for the environment when washed downstream.
Here are some examples of quaternary ammonium compounds:
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Vegetable Oil Quaternary
Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride
SLN’s Take Home Message
Getting rid of germ-killing bathroom sprays may help reduce fertility issues in both men and women as well as reduce your toxic exposure. To support your efforts with creating a non-toxic home, purchase non-toxic bathroom cleaners or make your own cleaning products. And remember, open the windows while cleaning!
DIY recipes for bathroom All Purpose Cleaner
- Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water
- Use 50/50 vinegar/water solution to clean tile, counters, cabinet fronts, glass and soap scum.
DIY recipe for bathroom Bathroom Mold and Mildew
- Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle. Spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using the shower.
See more non-toxic bathroom cleaners here.