AirMD's Green Blog

Cleaning Products: What to Know-Surface Cleaners

Simon Hahessy Says:

Continuing with our blog series of identifying harmful ingredients in common household cleaning products, the ingredient ethylene glycol monobutyl ether commonly found in all purpose surface cleaners is examined.

The name alone causes me concern especially when I tell you that this HIGHLY TOXIC SYNTHETIC SOLVENT is found in a wide range of all surface cleaners available on the market today.

What is the rationale behind putting a chemical solvent like this in cleaning products used to clean kitchen countertops and sinks? Is it to kill bacteria and viruses because if it is I am here to tell you that something as toxic as this is not required to kill bacteria and viruses. There are other green cleaning products that are safer containing natural ingredients that are as effective.

Health effects associated with exposures to ethylene glycol monobutyl ether include irritation of the mucous membranes and liver damage. Readily absorbed through the skin it is classified as a neurotoxin.

Exposure to this solvent as part of cleaning products ingredients is unlikely to have an immediate neurotoxic effect but it may overtime and repeated exposures to this chemical are not recommended and unnecessary.

Immediate effects to products containing this chemical include irritation to the mucous membrane. The mucous membrane includes all body cavities with openings to the outside. The moist layer of tissue lining the digestive, respiratory, urinary and reproductive tracts are considered the mucous membrane.

Although it is important to clean down surfaces in our environment to control the numbers of bacteria we are exposed to, there are other alternatives to strong chemical based surface cleaners like green cleaning natural based cleaners with germicidal properties.

Our efforts for living in a healthy indoor environment should include joining a community like AirMD’s to obtain the necessary information to live healthier, as well as having periodic evaluations of your living space completed. Together we can keep our families safe.

I just saw a commercial for Pledge Dust and Allergen so I googled it and found that it removes 84% of pet dander and allergens while you dust. In your opinion, do you believe this product would benefit my family and at the same time still be toxic?

Dec 26th, 2008
at 01:12 pm

You must be careful how you interpret the 84% removal of pet dander and allergens. If pet dander is present more than likely you have an animal and it will always contribute dander no matter how much you dust. The action of dusting resuspends most dust back into the air so the spray may never get the opportunity to act on the allergens. The best and safest way to dust and remove allergens is to use a damp microfiber cloth and ensure your air conditioning filters are rated MERV 11. Also most polishes and dust sprays have heavy chemicals that give off high concentrations of volatile organuic compounds that are not favorable for your health.

Dec 29th, 2008
at 02:09 pm

I was thinking of switching to green cleaners. Start using vinegar & baking soda. Do you have any advice on this? Do you know if it's just as effective as the chemical filled cleaners. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.Thnx

Cleaning products
Mar 03rd, 2009
at 08:43 am

Vinegar and baking soda is a good cleaner, however you have to make it up every time as there is no shelf life. We will actually have our own line of green products in three weeks using nano technology. Our products are safe and have no chemicals at all unlike other green cleaners on the market. We designed our product for people who suffer from multiple chemical sensivities.

Mar 03rd, 2009
at 08:49 am

What kinds of products will be available to the public through AirMD?

How will a consumer be able to purchase your products?

Robert Koch
Mar 03rd, 2009
at 11:29 am

The products available will include the following:

All purpose cleaner
Liquid hand soap
Floor cleaner
Window cleaner
Pocket sized hand cleaner/sanitizer

The consumer can purchase directly through our e-commerce site at and click on our "store" tab. Orders can also be placed over the phone 1-888-GO AIRMD (462-4763)

Mar 03rd, 2009
at 11:44 am

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