15 Regular Items That Aren't Exactly Harmless

Jordan Claes
Coffee machine.
Unsplash | earlybird coffee

When it comes to common household items, most of us don't think twice about the possibility of a worst-case scenario. But the fact of the matter is there are plenty of products inside your home that may warrant a second glance.

Below is a list of 15 regular household items that are far from harmless. Be sure to arm yourself with knowledge and help to ensure that you aren't putting yourself or the ones that you love in harm's way.

Chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach.
Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

Chlorine bleach can be incredibly harmful to both your skin and your eyes. Over a long period of time, bleach has been shown to lighten skin pigment, as well as cause permanent tissue damage. Also, when mixed with ammonia, it creates a toxic gas.

Non-stick pans and cookware

Omelet falling off a non-stick pan.
Unsplash | Cooker King

While Teflon is generally considered to be safe, there are dangers that can arise from overheating. Once temperatures reach over 500-degrees Fahrenheit, the coating starts to break down and releases toxic fumes into the air.

Extension cords

Pile of extension cords.
Unsplash | Brook Anderson

When used correctly, extension cords are perfectly safe. The problem, however, is that the vast majority of us are using them improperly. Extension cords should never be covered, or left in a tangled heap on the floor. They must also be replaced at even the slightest sign of wear.

Aerosol cans

Stephen Colbert spraying aerosol cans.

According to Signature Filling Company, the VOCs that are contained in aerosol sprays contribute to the formation of what's known as "ground-level ozone." On top of that, the metallic steel from the can contributes to hazardous waste build-up.


Pile of balloons.
Unsplash | Gaelle Marcel

Traditional balloons never break down. As a result, they are often mistaken for food by unknowing and unsuspecting animal creatures. On top of that, mylar or rubber balloons can also get caught in powerlines, causing outages and even fire in some circumstances.

Cotton tote bags.

Woman tying up her hair while wearing a cotton tote bag.
Unsplash | Mediamodifier

The efficacy of cotton tote bags in relation to their positive impact on the environment has been greatly exaggerated. For instance, a single organic cotton tote bag would have to be used 20,000 times in order for it to offset its environmental impact.

Keurig coffee cups

Woman destroying Keurig.
Giphy | Veep HBO

Here's a staggering statistic that's bound to keep you up at night. Right now, at this very moment, the amount of discarded K-cups currently in landfills is so vast, that they could wrap around the entire planet — ten times over.

Antibacterial soaps

Antibacterial soap.
Unsplash | Anastasia Nelen

Back in 2016, the FDA banned 19 antibacterial additives commonly found in handsoap. The main ingredient in 3/4 antibacterial soaps is called triclosan, which has been proven to impact hormone signaling and other biological processes in animals.

Wet wipes

Package of wet wipes.
Unsplash | Natracare

According to the Marine Conservation Society, there has been a 400% increase in wet wipes found along coastlines over the past decade. Wet wipes also lead to the formation of "fatbergs," which in turn can lead to build-ups of raw sewage.

Flea and tick products

Scene from 'Cat-Dog'.
Giphy | NickRewind

Public health scientist Miriam Rotkin-Ellman says that “Flea collars are designed to release a toxic substance that kills fleas on the pet’s fur. However, it also can get on the bedding, it can get on kids’ hands, it can go all sorts of places.”

Lead paint

Lead-based paints
Unsplash | Sarah Arista

If you live in an old home — pay attention. Exposure to lead paint can cause dizziness, high blood pressure, and diminished motor skills. It can also cause irreversible damage in young children, such as decreased intelligence, behavioral issues, as well as certain learning disabilities.

Protective footwear

PPE shoe covers.
Amazon | Amazon

Back in 2014, a study was conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Their findings show that shoe covers worn in critical care areas were ineffective as far as helping to prevent infections caused by common ICU pathogens.

Toilet bowl cleaner

Scene from '30 Rock' cleaning toilet.

The active ingredient in most toilet bowl cleaners is hydrochloric acid. This chemical is incredibly harmful if ingested, and may even cause death if it is swallowed by small children and/or pets. It can also cause damage to your eyes as well as your kidneys.

Gas-powered space heaters

Gas-powered space heater.
Unsplash | Achudh Krishna

While it's true that gas-powered space heaters are far more powerful and effective than their electric counterparts, they can be incredibly dangerous. Gas-powered heaters should never be used inside the home, as they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.


Pile of mothballs.
Gardening Know How | Gardening Know How

Prior to the commonly held belief, mothballs should never be placed inside a closet or in the pockets of any clothing garment. The gas that mothballs emit can cause a slew of respiratory problems and they can also contribute to water and soil contamination.