The cleaning products we buy, we believe are there to help protect our spaces and our family. However, household cleaning products including soaps, polishes, and grooming supplies, often include harmful chemicals, and some even are flammable and corrosive. Unfortunately, products advertised as “green” or “natural” may contain ingredients that can cause health problems. Fortunately, you can limit your exposure to those risks and this article will focus on how cleaning supplies and household products are harmful to our health and provide safer cleaning alternatives to use.  

How do cleaning supplies and household products affect our health?

Many cleaning supplies or household products can irritate the eyes or throat, or cause headaches and other health problems. Some products release dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds(VOCs). VOCs are chemicals that vaporize at room temperature. Studies link exposure to chemicals from cleaning supplies to chronic asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Cleaning supplies and household products that contain VOCs and other toxic ingredients can include but are not limited to

*NOTE* Never mix bleach or any bleach-containing product with any cleaner containing ammonia. The gases created from this combination can lead to chronic breathing problems and even death.

How to avoid using poisonous products?

One thing to pay attention to is reading all labels and ingredients on cleaning supplies, household products, and anything you consume before you buy them. Choose products that do not contain or have reduced amounts of VOCs, fragrances, irritants, and flammable ingredients. Avoid using air fresheners altogether.

Manufacturers are not obligated by U.S. law to list all ingredients in consumer products. Therefore, products that are labeled “green” don’t necessarily mean that they are safer, so we suggest doing more research on a product from a reliable source before investing. 

Safer Alternatives

With just a few basic ingredients, you can create household cleaners that are safer to breathe, non-toxic, and eco-friendly. In general, a safer cleaning alternative that does the trick is often mixing warm water and lemon juice or castile soap, baking soda when needing to scrub, and white vinegar and water for cleaning glass. 

Whenever using any cleaning product, make sure to keep the space ventilated and not use the products in a small enclosed space.

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