Collage of household cleaning priducts

Cleaning products often include harmful chemicals that may cause indoor air pollution, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. People use cleaning products to remove dust, dirt, allergens and other infectious agents found in homes and workplaces, but what they don’t always know is that they could be introducing dangerous pollutants into their indoor environment. The exposure to such harmful cleaning products could lead to mild effects like skin irritation, eye irritation and headaches, or more serious effects, such as cancer, especially after using them for a long time. Fortunately, there are ways to limit your exposure to such products.

How cleaning supplies cause indoor air pollution

There are two main ways cleaning products can cause indoor air pollution. The first occurs when you use cleaning products that are manufactured using toxic substances, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Using such products releases pollutants into the air, which, when inhaled, can have adverse effects. Cleaning supplies containing VOCs or other toxic substances can include detergents, dishwashing liquid, dry cleaning chemicals, chlorine bleach, furniture and floor polish, rug and upholstery cleaners, and aerosol spray products. The second way in which cleaning products can be hazardous is when they come into contact with other products in your home. Many cleaning products are made with safe chemicals, but when mixed with other chemicals, they can react and release toxic gases. For example, you should never mix bleach with any cleaner containing ammonia. The gas released from this combination can cause chronic breathing problems.

The effects of indoor air pollution from cleaning products

The effects of using harmful cleaning supplies can vary depending on the person and the amount of time they have been exposed to them. Some of the more immediate effects include coughing, wheezing, eye irritation, throat irritation and headaches. Some people can also have allergic reactions to some of the ingredients used in cleaning products like formaldehyde or Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). This is why it is always recommended to do thorough research before purchasing your cleaning products. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, or those who have been exposed to harmful cleaning products for a long time can experience worse effects like chronic respiratory problems and cancer.

How to prevent indoor air pollution from cleaning products

The best way to prevent indoor air pollution from cleaning products is by avoiding them altogether. Warm water and soap are enough for most household cleaning tasks. You can use baking soda for scrubbing or a mixture of vinegar and water to clean glass. If you must use cleaning products, you’ll need to be careful when buying them. Always read labels and ingredient lists so that you can choose products with low amounts of VOCs, irritants or flammable ingredients. However, since cleaning product manufacturers in the US are not obligated by law to list all their ingredients in consumer products, you should be careful when interpreting vague or generic claims by manufacturers in their adverts or product labels. Just because a product is labeled “green” or advertised as “eco-friendly,” it does not mean that it has no pollutants. When using cleaning products, make sure your home is well-ventilated to prevent toxic substances from building up in your indoor environment. 

Cleaning products make it easier for people to keep their living spaces looking clean and smelling good, but it’s important to be mindful of the products you use. This will ensure that your home not only looks clean, but is also free from toxic substances that could be detrimental to your health. 

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