Cleaning our homes is an essential part of our routine to ensure we’re creating a safe, healthy and happy home environment. Since the pandemic, cleaning and disinfecting have become even more crucial to keep our families safe.
Unfortunately, many store-bought cleaning supplies contain toxins and chemicals that are harmful to our lung health. In fact, common household sprays and cleaners are a contributing factor in 1 in 7 adult asthma cases.
To maintain a safe and clean home, while also prioritizing you and your family’s health, it’s important to choose natural and non-toxic cleaning products that are safe and effective.
Below, we’ll highlight what products you should stay away from, which ones you should consider and some easy DIY recipes that you can make at home today.
Cleaning Products to Avoid
Unfortunately, many cleaning products you find on the shelves at your favorite convenience stores are often mislabeled. Many companies label their products as “clean” or “eco-friendly” yet they still contain harmful ingredients and additives that could irritate our respiratory system and be harmful to those with existing conditions, such as asthma or other lung-related illnesses.
Many of these products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that release harmful gasses into the air in our homes and can have long-term effects on our respiratory system.
Some of these harmful cleaning products include:
- Bleach: As you probably already know, bleach has a strong smell that can cause a lot of irritation to our respiratory system. The fumes from bleach have the ability to burn human tissue internally and externally, so it’s best to avoid it in your home.
- Ammonia: Similar to bleach, the fumes from ammonia can cause burning to the mouth and throat if inhaled and can also burn exposed skin.
- Oven cleaner: Sodium hydroxide, the compound found in most over cleaners, release toxic fumes and are very harmful to those with lung disease. These fumes can circulate through your home when you use your oven, having an effect on your home’s indoor air quality.
- Aerosol spray: The VOCs found in aerosol sprays can cause chronic respiratory issues because of the harmful gasses they can release into the air in our homes.
- Air fresheners: Many store-bought products, whether cleaners or air fresheners contain phthalates, which are used to make the fragrance last longer. Phthalates can cause damage to the lungs and are known to be a contributing factor causing asthma and other lung-related diseases.
Though there are some great store-bought cleaning products, always check the ingredient list to make sure they don’t contain any of these harmful ingredients.
Lung-Safe Cleaning Products and DIY Recipes
The best way to make sure you’re cleaning with safe and effective ingredients is to make your cleaning products at home. Many ingredients that are safe, natural and non-toxic are common ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
These ingredients include:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Castile soap
While these might not seem like the freshest smelling ingredients, adding essential oils to your DIY cleaning products is a safe and easy way to still get that fresh clean smell without releasing any harmful chemicals into the home in your air. Some lung-safe and allergy-proof essential oils that are great for cleaning include:
Now that you know what ingredients you need, you’re ready to make some cleaning products. Here’s how to make an easy all-purpose cleaner to kick start your spring cleaning.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Spray bottle
- 2 cups of vinegar
- 2 cups of water
- Citrus peels (optional)
- Combine citrus peels and vinegar in a mason jar. Let it sit for 1-2 weeks. *Skip to step 3 if you don’t want to make a citrus-scented solution.
- After you’ve let the mixture sit, strain it and throw the peels away. Now you’ll be left with citrus-infused vinegar.
- Combine the vinegar mixture water in your spray bottle.
- Shake it up and you’re ready to get to cleaning.
Optional: If you don’t want a citrus-scented cleaner or don’t have your fruit of choice on hand, but still want a fresh scent, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Cleaning is a simple chore that shouldn’t cause any harm to our health. For more lung-safe cleaning tips and recipes, check out the visual guide from Asbestos.com below.