What You Need to Know About Irritant Substances in Home Care Products

Some customers get frightened by hazard symbols on eco-products labels. However, there is nothing to be afraid of, and ecology has little to do with these pictograms. 

The information on product labels helps make thoughtful decisions about the purchases. But the sentences and pictograms are not as easy to understand as it may seem at first glance. Thus, PROBIOTIC CRAFT has launched a series of blog posts to educate on the home care products labeling (find the first blog post here). This month we’re covering the topic of irritant (toxic or corrosive) ingredients in products’ formulas. 

Potentially Irritant Substances

Let’s learn about the two symbols that are most often put on the labels of cleaners, laundry liquids, and dishwashing solutions.

Toxic materials symbol on the left and corrosive materials symbol on the right

The exclamation mark (left)  warns about toxic materials that can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system or cause dizziness. 

The corrosion mark (right) indicates substances that corrode metals and can irritate the eyes or burn the skin.

In addition, potentially irritant products’ descriptions include phrases such as “irritates the skin”, “causes severe eye irritation”, and “wear protective gloves / protective clothing/eye protection/face protection”.

Active Ingredients or Why do Cleaners Clean

Whether developed by the chemical industry or nature, effective home care solutions contain active compounds. They penetrate and remove old stains from the surfaces, break down the dirt or dissolve grease on the dishes.

Our ancestors used active ingredients to ensure cleanliness much before the chemical industry developed. People utilized materials that they could find in nature or simply prepare at home. Soda and vinegar were probably among the most widely used cleaners. However, they were also potentially irritant to the eyes, skin or respiratory system.

As time went by, people learned to make more complex, concentrated, highly effective cleaning agents in chemistry labs. Thousands of different products with their specific formulas appeared for sale. It has become increasingly difficult for consumers to understand their compositions. Gradually, a need to create a unified system that explains the consequences of incorrect concentrated product use arose.  

To ensure the complete safety of consumers, the EU has adopted the product labeling regulation. It obliged home care solutions manufacturers to inform the customers about the possible negative consequences of improper concentrated product use.

Woman in white shirt holding hands

The origin and the amount of active substances (therefore, the extent of their effects) varies among the home care products. However, the obligation to show pictograms and information remains the same for all in the category. Therefore, if you see warnings about the toxicity or corrosion, it does not mean that you should immediately put the product on the shelf. You should better look at its ingredients and how active/aggressive they are.

Wrap Up

Sometimes our customers ask, “if your product is organic, why does it have those awful signs and sentences on the back label?”

We answer: the warning icons on the labels of household cleaners do not specify whether the products are organic or not. They inform about the active compounds the products contain. Also, there is no reason to be afraid of these icons. 

If you want to know whether the products are eco-friendly, vegan, organic or sustainable, look into the ingredients list or check for specific labels, such as Ecocert or V-Label.

We create natural, eco-friendly cleaning products and they are all approved by dermatologists and allergists. Some of them have even more skin-friendly formulas than regular body care products. However, shampoos or soaps do not have to display warning signs. But on PROBIOTIC CRAFT’s bottles (just as on other cleaning products labels), you will notice the mentioned icons and sentences warning about the effects of misusing the concentrated product.