Most people feel better after they clean their home.
There’s something satisfying about having freshly scrubbed floors, sparkling windows, and dust-free surfaces.
But a new study shows that the products you use to clean your house can have a devastating effect on your health.1
The chemicals in commercial cleaning sprays are so damaging to your lungs that using them regularly is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years, according to the study.
It was recently published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Scientists at Norway’s University of Bergen tracked 6,000 people who regularly used cleaning products for over two decades. They measured the subjects’ lung function by testing how much air they were able to exhale.
They asked participants how often they used cleaning products and compared their answers with their lung power. Women who used the cleaning products regularly had a dramatically decreased lung function. They also had higher rates of asthma.
Their lungs were so bad that they functioned like those of pack-a-day smokers, researchers said.
This is bad news for anyone who regularly uses chemical cleaning products.
Women seemed more affected than men. But researchers don’t know why.
Øistein Svanes is a doctoral student who led the study. “When you think of inhaling small particles from cleaning agents that are meant for cleaning the floor and not your lungs, maybe (lung damage) is not so surprising after all,” he said.
Scientists attribute the decline in lung function to damage that cleaning agents cause to mucous membranes lining the airways.
Over time, it gets worse.
The results confirm a similar study by French scientists in September 2017. They found nurses who used disinfectants to clean surfaces at least once a week had a 24% to 32% increased risk of developing lung disease.
The studies did not evaluate which cleaning ingredients are the most harmful. But the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit consumer organization, ranks the safety of hundreds of cleaning products.
Go HERE to access the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning. It grades the safety of household cleaners on an A to F scale. Stick to ones with an A rating.
7 Natural Alternatives to Chemical Cleaners
Another option is to make your own nontoxic cleaners. These natural alternatives can be just as effective as dangerous, chemical-laden products:2
- Vinegar: It eradicates scum, grease, and grime. Spray on shower tiles; let sit for 30 minutes; rinse. Wash linoleum with a 50-50 vinegar-water mixture. It works great on windows, too.
- Salt: It’s a natural abrasive. Use kosher salt and the juice from half a lemon on cutting boards to clean deeply.
- Baking soda: It’s a proven virus-killer. And it deodorizes and cuts through grime. Mix ½-cup baking soda with ¼-cup vinegar to clean toilets and drains.
- Straight lemon juice: It kills mold and mildew.
- Grapefruit extract: It has antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties. Combine 20 drops with two cups of water in a spray bottle to clean all surfaces.
- Olive or jojoba oil: Use them to polish your wooden floors or other surfaces. Mix hot water with the oil, white vinegar and lemon essential oil. White vinegar also doubles as a natural fabric softener.
- Toothpaste: It polishes your silver without chemicals. Rub your items with the paste, rinse, and let dry.
There’s no reason to have the lungs of smoker just because you want a clean house. Kick the chemical cleaner habit… You’ll breathe easier.