Until about 5 years ago I was really guilty of buying cleaning products that were new on the market for 2 main reasons, to clean my house and leave a nice aroma.
I didn’t think about the ingredients they contained, whether or not it was vegan friendly or, to a certain degree, how much it cost; all I was interested in was the smell.
Why is this? Why are we so keen to surround ourselves with nice fragrances?
Scents affect your mood, they can take you back to a specific date in time, stir up memories lost deep in the back of your mind, give you comfort and even act as a warning – the human sense of smell is amazing.
So it is not surprising that a huge number of people love their home to smell nice; candles, room sprays, plug in diffusers, cleaning products, wax melts, potpourri, incense sticks – the list goes on.
One of the popular cleaning products, famous for it smells, is Zoflora disinfectant.
Zoflora has been around since 1922 but has risen in popularity recently with a lot of the increase being attributed to Instagram star Sophie Hinchcliffe, better known as Mrs Hinch. With over 2 million followers, when Mrs Hinch announced that Zoflora was her go-to product for cleaning her home, Zoflora started flying off the supermarket shelves.
I totally get it; I want my house to smell good, like, REALLY GOOD but I also am becoming increasingly aware of the effect some of the ingredients in cleaning products can have on humans, animals and the environment. Knowing these things now makes me think twice before reaching for the most popular brand or following the latest trend.
In this article I wanted to look at the ingredients contained in Zoflora and the effects that these can have on our bodies, our pets and what happens when they are tipped down the sink.
It is not my intention to ‘spread hate’ about a popular product, that’s not cool. Zoflora is a great product in its own right. The purpose of this article is to highlight points with the ingredients within this product that consumers may not be aware of, and allow them to make an informed decision.
Is Zoflora toxic?
Products are given a classification called a ‘hazard class’; the products are tested to determine if their composition is:
- A skin irritant
- An eye Irritant
- Hazardous to aquatic life
The classifications are shown within the products SDS sheet (Safety Data Sheet) with a number running from 0-4:
0 – Minimal hazard
1 – Slight hazard
2 – Moderate hazard
3 – Serious hazard
4 – Severe hazard
These classifications are indicated on the products packaging in the form of a symbol:
Zoflora has been given the following classifications:
Flammable – 2 (Moderate hazard)
A skin irritant – 2 (Moderate hazard)
An eye Irritant – 2 (Moderate hazard)
Hazardous to aquatic life – 3 (Severe Hazard)
What ingredients are in Zoflora?
I am not about to list each and every ingredient contained in all the Zoflora scents, this would not make for very stimulating reading. Instead, I have looked at the ingredients in each disinfectant and given you the most commonly used chemicals across the range:
If you want to see ALL the ingredients in the Zoflora products, here is a link to their SDS (Safety Data Sheet)
Linalool: This chemical is a component of many essential oils so it is not surprising that it is contained in over 60% of the Zoflora range. On its own, in its pure form, Linalool has been found to have Antiproliferative effects (suppress cell growth) in cancerous cells.
However when oxidized it can become an irritant to the skin in some people.
Linalool can be absorbed through the skin and by inhalation which can cause drowsiness and dizziness.
Linalool is used as a pesticide and sometimes a bug repellent.
If disposed of incorrectly Linalool is very highly toxic to certain freshwater amphipods.
Hexyl-cinnamaldehyde: Used as a fragrance additive, this chemical gives products a ‘Jasmine’ fragrance. Hexyl-cinnamaldehyde is considered to be an allergen as it has been known to cause reactions with skin and in some cases, contact dermatitis.
Hexyl-cinnamaldehyde is contained in 52% of the Zoflora range.
Butylbenzyl Propionaldehyde: this substance may damage fertility or the unborn child; it is harmful if swallowed, harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects, is suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child, causes skin irritation and may cause an allergic skin reaction.
Butylbenzyl Propionaldehyde is contained in 32% of the Zoflora range
Due to the dangers associated with this chemical I have listed which Zoflora scents contain Butylbenzyl Propionaldehyde:
- Bluebell woods
- Hello Spring
- Honeysuckle and Jasmine
- Summer Bouquet
- Summer Breeze
- Twilight Garden
Tetramethyl acetyloctahydronaphthalenes: A synthetic ‘woody’ fragrance also known as Iso E Super is contained in 16% of Zoflora products. It is low in toxicity to humans, causing skin irritants in some however it is very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.
Limonene: can be found in cleaning products as a solvent being effective to remove oil from surfaces. It is also found in cosmetics and personal care products, even as a paint stripper as an alternative to turpentine.
If Limonene comes into contact with skin it may cause irritation however is relatively safe. It is flammable in liquid form and as a vapour and if disposed of incorrectly, toxic to aquatic life.
Limonene is found in 40% of the Zoflora range
Citronellol: is found in citronella products, commonly known are citronella candles used for repelling bugs and mosquitos. Apart from the risk that some people may have an allergic reaction on their skin, Cironellol is relatively safe to humans and the environment.
Citronellol is found in 36% of Zoflora products
Is Zoflora safe to use around pets?
Like any cleaning product, the instructions for use should be followed very carefully. Zoflora have a ‘pet safe’ product however precautions still need to be taken making sure the dilution ratios are correct, your pet is not directly exposed and also that they are not able to walk or roll around on wet surfaces.
There was a case recently where a cat was left with surface burns and swelling after being exposed to Zoflora, you can read the article here:
Zoflora state: “When correctly diluted, Zoflora disinfectant may be used where most pets are kept. It will kill bacteria and eliminate unpleasant odours. Do not allow pets to lick or walk on newly treated surfaces. Keep them off until dry. When disinfecting pet toys/feeding bowls, rinse thoroughly after disinfection and dry before returning to the animal. Not suitable for use in vivaria or other housing where reptiles are kept.”
They also have a handy pet hub on their website with FAQ’s specific to different pets:
All though some of these ingredients may not be initially harmful, toxic absorption happens over a period of time. The use of products containing these chemicals, daily, weekly and even monthly can increase the chances to cause harm.
We wrote an article recently about safe kitchen cleaners, you can find that here:
I read an interesting story recently about a woman, Beth Greer, who lived an active lifestyle, exercising regularly, eating mostly organic food and generally taking care of herself. She suffered from a pain in her shoulder so consulted her chiropractor and doctor. After an MRI scan it was revealed that she had a benign tumour in her chest, this was pressing on nerves causing the pain in her shoulder. Due to where the tumour was located, it transpired that it was not going to be easy to access and also quite tricky to remove. Beth opted to not have surgery, instead she started investigating her condition and decided to start cutting out all the toxins in her life; cleaning products, soaps, shampoo, make-up and only eating unprocessed foods.
9 months later what she discovered was phenomenal; her tumour had gone. Even though she could not attribute the success to one thing only, she soon realised that all the toxins that had previously been in her life, had been helping the tumour grow.
Today Beth is a consultant helping people detoxify their lives
You can read more about Beth and the work she does here:
Making changes in the products we use, the food we eat and how we stay healthy and active can seem like a daunting task.
Where do you start?
Where do you find the time?
Maybe you have you made some changes but don't know what else you can do?
We have a free weekly email that could help you along the way; one email each week with helpful suggestions to detoxify your life one step at a time – interested?
There are a few links in this article that you might have missed so I have popped them here for you: