Cleaning Daily as Bad as a Pack a Day Habit

Keeping up with the cleaning can be a daily chore that’s pretty irritating. Cleaning is more than irritating; spray cleaning products can be dangerous to your health. One study found it could be as irritating as a pack a day habit.

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that daily use can be as bad for women as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 10-20 years. That doesn’t seem fair after all the cleaning.

The study followed 6,235 participants for 20 years and monitored their lung function. They found that those who used the sprays and other cleaning products daily had decline in lung capacity at a faster rate than those who did not. The kind of decreased lung capacity that a pack a day smoker has. Asthma was also more common in those who frequently used cleaners. It also was found to impact the lung function of those who used the products weekly.

When using spray cleaning supplies, they are absorbed through our skin and we also breath them in. If they are filled with toxic chemicals so are our bodies. They irritate our lungs and they can cause our bodies to become very sick.

Don’t Assume Your Cleaning Products are Safe

Many people assume any risky chemicals would be listed on the label but there is no regulation requiring cleaning supplies to list ingredients unless they are active disinfectants or potentially harmful. How many ingredients fly under the radar?

The Environmental Working Group has a website that grades products from an A- F and along with the grade you can see what factors led to the grade. They have rated and reviewed over 2,000 common household products for safety and the information they disclose on contents.

In the review they found, “53 percent of cleaning products assessed by EWG contain ingredients known to harm the lungs. About 22 percent contain chemicals reported to cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy individuals.” (2)

You can check out their guide for products you use and products you are considering using. Knowledge is the key to getting companies to stop using toxic chemicals in their cleaning products. If you don’t know what’s in it, you are going to keep buying the toxins because of their meaningless marketing claims. Don’t assume because it is green it is safe or that all products from a company are equally safe.

4 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Toxic Cleaning Products

  1. Choose your cleaning products wisely. Use the EWG website to look up cleaners and see if the products are nontoxic. It will keep you, your family and the environment cleaner.
  2. Plain soap and water are enough for most jobs. For tougher jobs use baking soda with water and add in a little elbow grease. Vinegar has been shown to be effective in disinfecting tuberculosis.(3)
  3. Skip the spray cleaners. If you can’t skip them, spray them into the cloth to limit the amount of chemical droplets you inhale.
  4. Use Norwex microfiber cloths to clean. The fabric is woven with silver that gives it antibacterial properties. Silver has been found to be effective in preventing infection and cross contamination in the home and also in hospitals. (4)

Take A Look in Your Cleaning Closet

Take a hard look at your cleaning supply closet to make sure it’s safe. Check out our article on what you can find in cleaning products. Who wants all the nasty chemicals and the lung capacity of a pack a day smoker?