Household Cleaners and Your Health

Household Cleaners and Your Health

Cleaning is important –  it limits our exposure to harmful bacteria, germs, molds, and more in our homes, schools, and businesses. Even so household and industrial cleaning products often contain dangerous chemicals. You probably never thought about it, but those everyday household cleaners you use can be harmful to you and your family. The truth be told, household cleaners can kill germs and get out those difficult stains, but at what cost?

Irritation, Allergies, Headaches, and Poisoning

That’s right, some household cleaners have resulted in irritation, allergies, headaches, and even poisoning. Throat, airway, and eye irritation are among the top complaints of users of household cleaners with powerful fumes. These cleaners can trigger allergies, asthma, and red, watery eyes. In addition, should the cleaners splash accidentally in your eyes the damage can be serious. Household cleaners and detergents can also cause skin reactions, even eczema in some individuals. Headaches and nausea have also been connected to common household cleaners and air fresheners. Recent studies have linked cleaners’ fragrant ingredients, known as phthalates, to disrupted hormone levels. Some cleaning supplies are flammable or corrosive. On top of all this, household cleaners and detergents act as poisons, causing irreversible harm, particularly to children.

What to Avoid

Because of toxic ingredients in many household cleaners, so-called green cleaners are on the rise. Of course, green, or not, there are a number of cleaners that present you with better options for keeping your home clean without harming you or your family’s health. Here are the products you will want to avoid, or at the very least, use them sparingly and according to labeled instructions:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – though considered organic compounds, propylene, benzene, ethylene, and styrene contribute to air pollution daily. VOCs are found in aerosol sprays, household cleaners, disinfectants, air fresheners, some craft supplies, and more.
  • Ammonia – most often found in polishing agents, jewelry cleaners, and window cleaners, ammonia, which is typically inhaled, is hazardous particularly for those with breathing difficulties and asthma. In addition, ammonia mixed with bleach, another popular cleaning agent, can quickly become toxic gas in your home.
  • Phenol – this toxic chemical is a common ingredient in a number of very popular pine-scented cleaners and disinfectants (and others). It has been shown to cause an imbalance in the bacteria in your home actually prompting the growth of harmful bacteria. Phenol has also been linked to heart, circulatory, respiratory, liver, kidney, and eye damage.
  • Nitrobenzene – found in furniture and floor polish, this toxin, if inhaled causes breathing problems, and if ingested can cause death. Nitrobenzene has also been linked to cancer and birth defects.
  • Hydrochloric Acid/Sodium Acid Sulfate – both of these chemicals are common ingredients in toilet bowl cleaners and can cause chemical burns on skin and permanent damage if splashed in the eyes.
  • Bleach –  contrary to popular belief, bleach is not a great all-purpose cleaner, but instead a powerful chemical which can cause issues with your eyes, skin, and respiratory system.

These are just a few of the more harmful ingredients used in today’s cleaners. If you are cleaning your home, be sure to check the labels on your products and take the necessary precautions to guard the health and safety of your family. Remember, safer, environmentally friendly options are available and Signature Maids is always ready to help with safe and affordable whole home cleaning for you and your family.