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4 harmful chemical cleaners you probably didn’t know are in your handwash

Posted by Rakshit Ranjan on


Everything from ingredients linked to skin allergies, hormone imbalances and even breast cancer.

Reading food labels and steering clear of certain harmful ingredients like edible oil or transfat may have become common practice in a lot of households, but do you examine the ingredients in your handwash?



The mantra during the coronavirus pandemic across the world has been simple - wash your hands thoroughly and sanitize regularly. The Centre of Disease Control calls handwashing a “do-it-yourself vaccine” and a simple yet powerful way to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others. Reading your handwash label has become more important than ever before.

The thought that your friendly, regular-use handwash or soap might be contaminated and harming you can send jitters down anyone’s spine. The truth is, there are several chemicals in your handwash, even the so-called “natural” ones. These chemicals have long-term effects on your skin and internal organs.

Let’s have a look at the chemicals you should avoid as you wash regularly:

So what’s in your handwash?

  1. Parabens

    What is it: Parabens is a chemical that is used to prolong the shelf-life of products. It can be found not only in your handwash, but also in your skincare products.

    Why is it harmful: It mimics oestrogen, thus disrupting your hormone balance. This excess oestrogen can lead to an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumours - linking it to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

    How to spot it on your label: Check the ingredients for butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. When in doubt, write to the company or brand to enquire about the ingredients

  2. Triclosan

    What is it: It is an ingredient added to soaps, bodywashes and toothpastes to reduce bacterial contamination and has anti-bacterial qualities. In 2016, the US FDA banned the use of Triclosan due to its harmful effects and lack of benefits.

    How to spot it on your label: Triclosan can also be found in children’s toys, baby pacifiers, detergents, shampoos and lip gloss. It can also appear as Biofresh, Microbans and triclocarban in different products.

  3. Synthetic dyes OR Colourants

    What is it: Give the colour to your hand wash.

    Why is it harmful: Depending on which dye is used, they are found to be linked to eczema, toxicity disorders and even certain types of cancers.

    How to spot it on your label: Check the ingredients label - often the last mentioned ingredient mentioned as CI followed by a number to identify the dye. For example, Dettol hand wash mentions CI11710, Lifebuoy mentions CI45100.

  4. Propylene Glycol or Glycol Distearate

    What is it: Propylene Glycol is a penetration enhancer while Glycol Distearate is a pearlescent i.e. gives a pearl-like appearance when you wash your hands.

    Why is it harmful: Known to be skin irritants.

    How to spot it on your label: Check the ingredients of Dettol hand wash or Lifebuoy soap, you can spot these online in any of their Amazon pages or once you have purchased these hand washes. You will spot Propylene Glycol and Glycol Distearate mentioned respectively.

The answer?

Read your labels. Start today, where you don’t get clear answers - avoid those products.


Look for alternatives

While the thought is scary and the situation seems grim, there are products out there which are free of these chemicals. Start exploring your options and switch to something that is better for you and the environment.

Make the change. Join the Koparo family today.

Checkout our natural, chemical-free and safe hand wash here.

hand wash hand washing harmful chemicals lifestyle & wellness natural handwash safe handwash safety toxins

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