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November 23, 2021

Can cleaning products cause allergies?

House cleaning is one of the many things we need to do, even if we don’t have time or energy. If most of us can get away with skipping the house for a week, people with allergies have to stick with the house cleaning schedule. Cleaning will decrease the number of allergens (they cause allergies) in a home and alleviate the allergy symptoms.

However, cleaning can turn into a nightmare as some chemicals can cause allergy-like symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about cleaning products, the connection to allergies, and the alternative products you can use. We will also show you alternative solutions.

Cleaning products are related to allergies and asthma. But how?

We hear about how cleaning products cause a lot allergies a lot, but the connection between the two is actually tricky to reveal. Several studies highlighted that common cleaning products can contribute to asthma and allergies development. According to Asthma UK, professional cleaners and people using cleaning products very often have a high risk to develop asthma.

Additionally, the chemicals in cleaning products are potent irritants that can irritate the eyes, the nose, lungs and throat. They can cause symptoms similar to asthma and allergies such as watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, etc.

All things considered, the cleaning products can trigger symptoms, cause allergies or cause irritation similar to allergy – the connection is obvious!

When are allergic responses to cleaning products more likely to appear?

Sometimes, the connection between cleaning products and allergies reveals itself right away. With three situations, the risk for allergic reactions is higher than with other situations:

You develop symptoms similar to allergies

Pay attention if you experience allergy-like symptoms while using cleaning supplies. Wheezing and coughing occur in most cases of allergies. Rashes, skin issues, and excessive dryness come next and show that your body reacts to the chemicals. The risk for mould, dust, or pets to cause the symptoms isn’t null. You need to carefully examine the whole medical history with your doctor while depicting your symptoms.

You experience asthma flare-up, wheezing, or eczema flare-up

As long as you use the cleaning products in rooms with efficient ventilation, the risk for allergic reactions to occur isn’t high. However, you should be extra cautious if you already have health conditions such as respiratory problems. If you have asthma, using cleaning products can cause wheezing and flaring up your asthma.

It’s similar for people who already have conditions such as eczema—the skin is sensitive to harsh ingredients.

You develop an unusual reaction when using a cleaning product

When you experience a physical reaction or discomfort when using a product, you should stop using the product. Sometimes, the reaction can develop after using the products, so you have to watch for symptoms in the hours and days after using the new product.

There are many ways to reduce the risk of such reactions and clean in well-ventilated areas. Wear protective gloves, leave the doors and windows open, and turn on the vents or fans. Keep reading about alternatives to cleaning products down below.

Should you call your doctor when you have an allergic response to cleaning products?

When you experience any of the symptoms and they don’t disappear, always call poison control. Do it also if you accidentally splash in your eye or ingest a product. Should you be able to go to a well-ventilated area, there are a couple of things to alleviate the symptoms.

Don’t postpone seeing your doctor if you suspect an allergy reaction to common cleaning agents. Switching to natural products or calling professionals for cleaning - espcially deep cleaning - are methods to avoid any allergic reactions in the future.

Which cleaning products will most likely cause allergic reactions?

Spray cleaners have the highest risk for allergic reactions because they’re easy to breathe in, primarily when used in non-ventilated areas. It’s very common for regular cleaning agents to produce fumes that we inhale. Many of the cleaning products cause symptoms that can continue long after you’re done cleaning. These chemicals won’t disappear any time soon, especially if the ventilation in the room isn’t effective.

We give you basic information about the widely-used chemical offenders:

Ammonia

Colorless and piercing, ammonia can be suffocating. Window cleaners are typically made with ammonia, which can also be found in oven cleaners, toilet cleaners, and multi-purpose cleaners. Liquid dish soaps, fabrics, dyes, and pesticides can also contain ammonia. Ammonia will produce a response in people who already deal with breathing issues, asthma, or allergies. Because ammonia is heavier than air, it will sink to a lower level and pose a risk for the health of children and pets.

Excessive exposure to ammonia can cause lung damage, blindness, and even death. Nose and throat irritation and coughing are common with mild exposure. Should you swallow ammonia, your throat and mouth will burn and irritate your stomach.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a flammable gas with no color at room temperature. Animals, plants, and humans will produce formaldehyde naturally.

Excessive exposure to formaldehyde will irritate the upper respiratory tract (ears, nose, and eyes) and your throat when inhaling it. When ingested, it can also cause throat and nausea, cancer, skin irritation, and inflame the gastrointestinal tract.

Commercial cleaning products, varnishes, paints, and permanent press fabrics can be made with formaldehyde. Automobile exhaust, wood products, and cigarette smoke also contain it. It has alternative names such as Oxomethane, formalin, methanol, ethylene oxide, methyl aldehyde, and phenol-formaldehyde.

Triclosan

Triclosan is an anti-bacterial agent capable of killing bacteria on skin and various surfaces. Sprays, wipes, and anti-bacterial soaps are made with triclosan. Since it’s highly efficient, it’s also used as a pesticide. In people with sensitivities, triclosan will generate allergic reactions and irritation.

2-Butoxyethanol

Many manufacturers use 2-butoxyethanol to make multi-use cleaning products. Inhaling it will cause a sore throat, but general irritation of the respiratory tract can also develop. Shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing general signal irritation.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)

Prolonged exposure to SLS can damage your skin, hair, and eyes, and immunological issues and even cancer can also develop. If you feel your eyes irritated, high concentration of SLS could  be the cause. Since SLS is a foaming agent, most soaps, detergents, toothpaste, shampoos, and personal care products are made with SLS.

Sometimes, the chemical products on your skin can be more harmful than when ingested. Should you eat the chemicals, your saliva and chemicals in your stomach will break them down and eliminate them from your body. However, when the chemicals contact your skin, the chemicals will go straight into the bloodstream. There’s nothing to filter out the chemicals and they will collect in your organs. In time, they will become toxic.

Chlorine/Bleach

Commonly added to swimming pools to disinfect them, chlorine/bleach has a strong acid smell that can irritate the throat, nose, and lungs.

Most bleach is made with chlorine, but laundry whiteners, toilet cleaners, and mould removers contain it.

A chemical cocktail

These are only the most common ingredients, but they are often combined in cleaning products. Since they linger in the air and on skin and surfaces for many hours, they will cause indoor air pollution—so it’s not the allergy symptoms to worry about!

What do you use for cleaning when commercial products aren’t safe for you?

You don’t need to work in cleaning to know that people have been using natural agents for centuries. Natural products have always been around and some of them are even more effective and less damaging than the chemical alternatives.

Should you worry about allergic reactions from commercial cleaning products, you should consider using natural cleaning agents.

Baking soda

If you struggle with unpleasant smell on your carpets, trash bins, sinks, etc use baking soda to remove them. It works efficiently with vinegar to clean and remove clogs. When used with natural soap, it can soften water and produce foam.

White vinegar

Acetic acid, commonly known as white vinegar, will cut through mildew and grease. It will also remove various stains, clear wax buildup, and freshen up the smell.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are trendy as they help your mind, body, and spirit. However, their benefits go beyond as they’re incredible for cleaning. They impress with their antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal abilities. They will kill germs and leave a pleasant smell behind.

Lemon

The lemon essential oil can remove stains and brighten the white clothing. It can also remove grease, stickiness, and grime, leaving the white floors lustrous and refreshing scent to any room.

Peppermint

Peppermint is an effective antiseptic oil that you can use for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom counters. You can use it to keep bugs out by adding a few drops around windows and doorways.  

Borax 

You will find borax in the laundry aisle of department and grocery stores. It’s a strong disinfectant, produces soap suds, and softens the water. You can use it to clean wallpapers and walls without damaging them. Borax is also effective at removing dirt and grime buildup from floors.

Cornstarch

Use cornstarch to clean and polish your picture windows, sliding windows, bow windows, fibreglass doors, and pretty much every other type of glass. You can also work stubborn dirt and stains in carpets and rugs.

Washing soda 

Washing soda is an excellent natural ingredient to fight against grease on your kitchenware, disinfect surfaces, and eliminate stains from surfaces and clothes. You can use it to clean tubs, sinks, and bathroom tiles. Don’t use it on aluminium surfaces, though.

Unscented soap

Unscented soap is biodegradable and you can use it to clean various surfaces. It comes in many forms: bar, powder, flakes, or liquid. You can find it as a natural soap without any scents, artificial dyes, or additives.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide works as bleaching and disinfecting agent. It’s a peroxide formula that is commonly used in medical situations. You need to look for 3-6% solutions when you use them for household cleaning.

Which natural cleaning solution recipes are most common?

Even if each of the agents above can work independently, you can also combine them to obtain powerful cleaning solutions. Here are some examples:

All-purpose cleaner

 For instance, you can make your all-purpose cleaner out of half a gallon of water with a quarter cup of baking soda and a half cup of white vinegar. You can use the solution to clean any windows.

Carpet cleaner

Get a spray bottle and fill it with 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water. Spray the solution right on stained and dirty areas and let the solution work for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a brush or a dish sponge to scrub the stain out. Apply cornstarch and let it work for 20 minutes on oily stains. Afterwards, vacuum the mess.

Clean and unclog drains

Mix one gallon of hot water and ½ cup salt to clean and unclog drains. If the clogs are difficult to remove, add ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup white vinegar. The combo will dissolve and wash the fatty acids aways. Pour boiling water if the pipes are made of metal. Don’t pour boiling water down plastic piping as it can damage them and release toxic chemicals into the air.

Wood polish

Mix ½ cup warm water with several drops of lemon oil. Apply it onto a damp cotton cloth and wipe the wooden surfaces with it. Wipe with a dry cotton cloth to finish the cleaning.

You can use the mixture to clean varnished wooden entry doors and wood siding.

You can always decrease allergens in your home—some basic tips to try!

Cleaning your home regularly helps reducing the number of allergens in your home, but you have to step up our game for best results. Your day-to-day cleaning does reduce the number of indoor allergens (pet dander, pollen, moulds, dust mites, and cockroach droppingst), but it doesn’t eliminate them.

Include the following cleaning tasks in your regular housekeeping:

  • Switch to a HEPA filter vacuum to regularly vacuum carpeted floors
  • Wash throw rugs and blankets on a regular basis
  • Reduce dust-collecting clutter
  • Keep counter surfaces dry and clean
  • Use hot water for weekly bed linens washing
  • Don’t leave food around and store food in sealed recipients

Professional cleaners can clean your house without causing you allergy symptoms. How come?

Experienced and dedicated professional cleaners develop cleaning systems that remove dust mites without causing your allergy symptoms. Cleaning technicians use anti-allergen products and methods that protect the well-being and health of people with allergies, children, and pets.

In houses with pets, dust mites are always present unless professional cleaning methods are used. Expert cleaning teams use the allergy cleaning process and apply Allergy Relief Treatments to beddings, carpets, mattresses, rugs, and upholstered furnishings.

Most reputed cleaners typically turn to a unique formula that modifies the shape of the proteins in the allergens. It’s a tiny change, but it can trick your immune systems into not identifying them as allergens. Thanks to the solution, you won’t develop an allergic reaction. Reputed cleaners use the formula that is safe for people with allergies and acute chemical sensibilities.

On top of everything else, such professional methods are scent-free and safe for children, pets, and the environment. It’s commonly made of hypo-allergenic, biodegradable, and natural ingredients derived from renewable fruits and vegetable seeds. It has no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxins, miticide, perfumes, pesticides, dyes, phosphates, benzyl benzoate. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible for the cleaning to worsen your allergies?

It’s weird, but allergy symptoms can worsen right after or during your sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting. When you clean, you stir up dust particles and you inhale them. Should you have dust mite allergies, you will suffer the most inside and not outside your home.

Cleaning is mandatory. Can excessive cleaning cause allergies?

Surprisingly, children raised in impeccable environments have a high risk of developing asthma, allergies, and hay fever. According to the “hygiene hypothesis”, cleaning excessively can cause sensitivities and allergies.

Do common household cleaners cause allergies?

If you have allergies, your risk is developing allergic reactions (skin rashes, sneezing, and breathing problems) to some of the chemicals in the cleaning products. The chemicals don’t cause a genuine allergic reaction but rather an irritation.

Will you suffer after inhaling too many cleaning products?

When combined, the ingredients in some cleaning products can cause harmful chemical reactions. For this reason, you should never mix ammonia and bleach—it’s just an example. Combining the two will generate toxic fumes that cause coughing when inhaled. Difficulty when breathing, irritation of the throat, eyes, and nose are some of the reactions that happen the most.

How long do you wait until the allergic reaction goes away?

An allergic response can span several hours or days. If the exposure to the allergen doesn’t stop, the allergic reaction can go on for days. Some allergic reactions will disappear after several days or weeks, even with proper treatment.

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