This is a trap for allergy sufferers: If you use the wrong products to reduce allergens such as pet dander and dust mites or mold, it can make your allergies worse.
Don’t be alarmed, you have options to reduce your allergy to cleaning products and maintain a clean home.
What Cleaning Products Cause Allergy Symptoms?
While you need to be cautious with cleaning products, it is important that you avoid any that have strong noxious smells like ammonia or those that emit particulates.
You should eliminate aerosol spray cleaners from your shopping cart. They can trigger allergic symptoms. One study found that regular use of aerosol spray cleaners is linked to increased asthma and asthma medication use. A higher risk was found for those who used these cleaners more often.
Which alternative solutions should you use?
Products with minimal odors should be used on smooth surfaces. Use dust cloths or mops to pick up the dust and not stir it in the air.
People with allergy to vacuuming are another problem area. For allergen removal, you can use a vacuum with HEPA filters or cyclonic vacuums. A dust mask rated N95 by National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health can be used to help prevent allergy symptoms.
Don’t forget about using the washer to your advantage. To keep allergens from building up, all bedding should be washed in hot water regularly.
While it is good to use a hypoallergenic detergent, you should be aware that some may cause allergic reactions. You can discover gentle, yet powerful detergents through trial and error that will not bother your family members and you.
Natural Cleaning Products: What are your thoughts?
Every day, green products are competing for shelf space with household cleaners. Green products are generally better because they’re more environmentally-friendly.
Be careful! Many products promise vague things, as there is no regulation on the advertising claims. Make sure to read every label and find out what ingredients were used. Look out for the Green Seal of Approval. This is a seal of approval that Green Seal (an independent non-profit organization) gives to products. It ensures they are safe for the environment and work.
Allergies can be made worse by common ingredients
Check the ingredient list to avoid common irritations when cleaning your house.
Many household cleaners, such as window and toilet cleaners, contain ammonia. It is often called ammonium hydroxide. Because it is able to disinfect, cut through grease and clean without streaking, ammonia has become very popular.
Ammonia is not harmful in small quantities. It can cause serious health problems if it is present in high concentrations. It is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Extremely Dangerous Substance. Large amounts of it must be reported to them.
Ammonia can burn the skin and eyes. Ammonia fumes can cause irritation and increase your risk of getting asthma or rhinitis. People with allergic reactions and asthma might want to stay away from ammonia-based cleaning products.
Bleach, another common cleaning agent can be dangerous.
Bleach is a common ingredient in household cleaners. It’s crucial to ensure that you read all labels. Examples include stain and toilet cleaners, as well as bathroom and kitchen cleaners. The active ingredient of chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite. It can also be used as bleaching agent.
Bleach can burn your skin, just like ammonia. If bleach gets into your eyes it can also cause permanent damage. Bleach has also been associated with an increased risk of certain types of asthma and can cause asthma-like symptoms and chronic coughing (called bronchial hyperresponsiveness).
Formaldehyde can be found in surprising numbers of products including:
- Baby powder
- Dishwashing detergent
- Cleaner for wood
Although these products are not high in formaldehyde content, they can still cause allergic reactions. Contact dermatitis (or eye irritation) can be caused by formaldehyde fumes. The U.S. National Toxicology Program has listed formaldehyde as a known cancer-causing agent.
One word of warning: Formaldehyde can also be known as methyl aldehyde or methylene oxide. Other preservatives can also release formaldehyde, so it is difficult to completely avoid. American Contact Dermatitis Society provides a handout with helpful information that includes other names as well as where to find formaldehyde.
Sodium laureth sulfate
You might not have heard of sodium laureth-sulfate but it is something you are familiar with.
The detergents sodium laureth-sulfate and its related sodium lauryl, sulfate are commonly used in cosmetics. These foaming agents are used to produce soap suds and they can also be found in everyday cleaning products like dish soap.
These sulfates may cause severe irritation to people who have skin conditions like eczema or suffer from skin allergies. Although sodium laureth may be less irritating than sodium lauryl, it is still something people who have sensitive skin should avoid.
D-limonene, a key component in citrus oils such as orange, lemon and lime, is also a significant ingredient. D-limonene can be used for flavoring, fragrance and cleaning agents.
Although it’s generally safe to use, some people have reported skin reactions and an increased chance of developing asthma. D-limonene is safe for most people, but it can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
Triclosan, an antimicrobial agent (germ-killing), was used commonly in soap products before it was outlawed by the Food and Drug Administration. It can be found in high concentrations in some other products, such as toothpaste and hand sanitizer.
Triclosan is associated with many health issues, such as an increase in asthma risk and hayfever. Triclosan may be avoided by people who do not have allergies. It is also associated with thyroid and reproductive problems.
Use non-allergenic cleaning products
What products are best for people who have allergies?
You should only use commercial cleaners that are labeled safe by an outside agency or government entity, like the Environmental Protection Agency. Safer Choice helps you identify safer products for the environment and people. Avoid all fragrances and dyes as well as aerosolized sprays.
You need to know the difference between disinfecting and cleaning. Natural cleaning solutions include water and vinegar as well as baking soda and lemon juice. They don’t clean, however they do remove allergens from your home.
Common allergens: How to reduce them
It’s a smart idea for people suffering from allergies to reduce household allergens such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander.
This can be done by regular cleaning. Regular cleaning should be done with a vacuum that has a high-efficiency particulate-air filter.
Mold can cause severe allergic reactions and can prove difficult to eradicate. While bleach and ammonia are two of the best treatments for mold, they must be used sparingly by those with allergies.
To reduce the chance of allergic reactions to cleaning products, you should use gloves and masks.