Are Cleaning Supplies Hurting Your Health?

Cleaning your home regularly is a common routine for most people. A clean home helps keep away germs and other gross things brought into the home. However, are cleaning supplies hurting your health? Continue reading to find out how these cleaning products you use in your home are affecting the health of you and your family.

Harmful ingredients

A woman wearing protective gear while cleaning

Ammonia – This is one chemical that can become dangerous when inhaled, ingested, or with skin or eye contact. Ammonia is a corrosive chemical. High concentrations of this chemical can cause a lot of damage. Lower concentrations cannot cause quite as much damage but are still unhealthy. Many all-purpose cleaners contain this harmful chemical and glass cleaners as well. Low levels of ammonia can cause nose and throat irritation. Contact with skin can cause and eyes can cause irritations, while higher concentrations of ammonia can also cause skin burns or permanent eye damage. Be sure to also never mix ammonia with bleach. This can cause a potentially fatal gas called chloramine. If you are using products that contain ammonia, be sure to wear rubber gloves, ventless goggles, and a long sleeve shirt. Having water nearby in case you need to flush it out of eyes or off skin is also important.

Lye – Lye is a very dangerous chemical found in oven cleaner. The corrosive elements in it can burn both your skin and eyes. When swallowed, it can even become fatal. If using oven cleaner with this ingredient, be sure your skin, eyes, and face are protected with gloves, goggles, and a face mask.

Sulfuric acid – This chemical is extremely dangerous. It is highly corrosive and can even become explosive. It is found in drain cleaners and mixed with lye, so when using this product be sure to have plenty of ventilation, gloves, goggles, and a face mask. Contact with skin can leave burns and cause irritation or blindness in the eyes. Like other harmful chemicals, it can cause holes in your stomach and even death if ingested.

Formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p-dichlorobenzene and aerosol propellants – These chemicals are all found in many air fresheners. They can all irritate the throat, eyes, and skin. This is especially true for people who suffer from allergies. Most air fresheners that contain these chemicals are also flammable. Be sure to keep them away from any open flames.

Chlorine and alkyl ammonium chlorides – These chemicals can cause breathing problems when inhaled. They are usually used in both mold and mildew removers. To avoid this, be sure to use a mask when using these cleaning products.

Healthier alternatives

Baking soda – To create a safe and homemade air freshener, baking soda can help! One way to suck up the odors in a room is to keep a glass jar full of baking soda out. Many people will cover the jars with things like burlap cloth or add essential oils.

Distilled water and vinegar – For an ammonia-free glass cleaner, you can use distilled water and vinegar along with other ingredients. Some people will add rubbing alcohol to the mix and others add dish soap. For a better smell, some people will even add a few drops of their favorite essential oil.

So, are cleaning supplies hurting your health? They certainly can be. If you can replace your dangerous cleaning supplies with safer alternatives, it is smart to do so. However, many cleaners are difficult to replace with safer alternatives. It is most important that you use caution when using any cleaning products. When storing cleaning products, keep them away from food and out of reach from young children and pets.

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018511/

https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html

https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/cleaners_and_health

https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/chemical_terrorism/ammonia_tech.htm