Household Cleaning: Can Your Disinfectant Make You Sick

Although it is important to keep your home clean at all times, you must be cautious about the household cleaning disinfectants you use. Many of these cleaners contain chemicals that are dangerous to your health; they can make you sick or exacerbate an existing illness. According to the CDC, ill-health due to inhalation of household disinfectants increased by 35% from 2019 to 2020. So, how can you protect your family from getting sick from your disinfectants? Here are a few tips.

Never mix cleaning products

It is a general rule never to mix different kinds of cleaning products. When cleaning your surfaces, one cleaning product is enough to do the job. Some cleaning products produce poisonous gases when mixed and can cause respiratory problems within a few minutes of inhaling it. Cleaning products that contain hydrogen peroxide, chlorine bleach, ammonia, or alcohol should never be mixed with another agent. The only thing to mix it with is water. Be sure to read the instructions on the product before you use it. Wear gloves and a nose mask as a safety precaution. Better yet, you will be on a safer side, using organic essential oils to clean your home.

Avoid sequential cleaning with different cleaning products

Sequential cleaning refers to using one disinfectant on a surface and using another product on the same surface after a few minutes. Although this is less harmful than directly mixing different household cleaning disinfectants, it can make you sick as well. This form of cleaning causes a slow release of poisonous gases within 24 hours, making it as dangerous as mixing your disinfectants. The safer option is to stick to one product. Where there is a stubborn stain, you can seek professional help. For example, you may have a stained rug and instead of trying different chemical products, hire carpet cleaners to do the job more accurately and in half the time.

However, if you have to use different products in the same cleaning area, you must take some precautions. After cleaning with the first disinfectant, wipe the area with cold water (hot water may catalyze a reaction) to remove residue. Once this is done, proceed to clean with the second disinfectant. Remember to change or rinse off (with tap water) your cleaning gloves before using the second product to be sure that the first is not present. If you used a sponge or towel to clean the area, exercise caution by thoroughly rinsing it out or using a new one. 

Ensure sufficient ventilation before cleaning

The reason household cleaning disinfectants make you sick is usually due to the production of poisonous gases. However, you can prevent this by ensuring there is sufficient ventilation. Toxic gases accumulate in harmful doses when there is little or no oxygen. It explains why you may feel queasy, dizzy, or experience shortness of breath when exposed to such agents. Wearing a non-industrial protective mask may not be enough protection in such situations. Standard nose masks may become saturated with these gases and move through a thin fabric layer into nostrils and further into your lungs. Unfortunately, over a long exposure period, this may cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or exacerbate an already existing condition such as Asthma.

Misusing Lysol Disinfecting Spray

Lysol spray is a disinfectant purposely for cleaning surfaces such as sinks, faucets, door handles, stair rails, etc. It is not to be sprayed onto the skin as a disinfectant and is also not a substitute for pet cleaning. In addition to the above, you should be mindful of the surfaces on which you use Lysol. If you exercise caution and read the can’s instructions, you will realize they are not meant to be sprayed on leather, silk, painted wood, or acrylic plastic. Lysol chemicals tend to break down compounds in the mentioned materials, which release harmful gases. Even though you can use Lysol spray to disinfect toys,  rinse it off (after three minutes) with sufficient clean water to eliminate residue. Remember that children tend to put toys in their mouths.

Store household cleaning products safely

Some of your products may be plastic, glass, or metal cans. This is because every chemical can adversely react with any material. Therefore, depending on the chemical, the right storage is necessary. It is not advisable to transfer your cleaning products into different bottles and cans aside from what they initially came in. According to health experts, failure to do so could cause mishappens such as a change in chemical compounds that may make you sick.

Medical conditions such as COPD, Asthma, nervous system impairment, eye and skin irritations can be avoided when taking precautions with these disinfectants. Develop the habit of reading and understanding the instructions indicated on these products before using them.