You spray and you scrub, all to get your house sparkling clean. But the chemicals in many cleaners can be very harsh.
Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D and Executive Director of Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability says, "You should stay away from antibacterials like Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride. These chemicals may help promote antibiotic resistant bacteria."
And if that doesn't scare you, many of those products also contain Hydrocloric Acid, which can cause skin infections.
As Sam Wallen Russell, Technical Director for JooMoo, Ltd., a world leader in Skin Microbiome Biodiversity Research explains, "We are 60% microbes, and this microbiome is vital to our health. So, any chemicals which are alien and synthetic, they are destroying this microbiome and are not being allowed to protect our health."
It's why you have to wear protective gloves.
Also, if you're mixing cleaning solutions, avoid bleach and ammonia. They create Chloramine Vapor, which is toxic if inhaled.
Baking soda and water is better. Or if you have really tough stains, use Oxygen bleach instead of Chlorine.
So while it sounds obvious, read the directions and warnings of every product.
You'll learn how to dilute and use them safely.
Now, sponges are swell, but they're basically Petri dishes full of germs. Paper towels are a better bet.
Desha Howard, owner of R&D’s Always Cleaning in Northeast Ohio says, "If you use a sponge in the kitchen, make sure you're using it just in the kitchen. If you're using it for the bathroom, make sure (you’re using it just in the bathroom). You can't just switch around, because there are so many germs absorbed in there."
So, separate your sponges.
And as counter-intuitive as it may sound, don't clean the dirty stuff first.
Start with a counter top which has less germs, then move to the sink or toilet. Otherwise, you could really cross contaminate.
Finally, when it comes to dangers to your house, don't flush all of those disinfecting wipes you use. A lot of them don't disintegrate and could clog up your pipes
And remember, our pets need protection too. Let any cleaners fully dry before they get near them.
"They start licking their paws, licking their hind legs or their front legs and ingesting those chemicals. So, if it's still wet, they're actually absorbing a lot more versus if it's completely dried," warns Monica Schmidt of the Humane Society.
And some of the natural products that are better for you could be toxic for them especially those with essential oils.
So, as much as you may want them near, keep them locked up, whenever you're cleaning up.
Meantime, if you want to know what's in the products you use, and the potential health effects, here is a link to the Household Products Database from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.