Household cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals that are not necessary to kill germs or keep homes clean. These chemicals can cause immediate health harm and may contribute to long-term health consequences.
Fortunately, safer alternatives are readily available.
Choose the right product.
Read product labels.
Since cleaning products contain ingredients that are hazardous and potentially fatal, it is important to read and understand product labels.
Thoroughly review the product label for warnings and directions for any cleaning product, including the safer alternatives.
Follow instructions closely, and fully understand what warning labels are communicating.
Caution - lowest signal word, indicates the product could hurt you and cause skin or eye irritation
Avoid harmful cleaning chemicals.
Can’t make your own cleaning products or find safer brand name cleaning products? At minimum, try to avoid these ingredients.
Ammonia - can cause respiratory disease, liver and kidney toxicity, reproductive harm and central nervous disorders
Use disinfectants only when necessary.
Disinfectants contain ingredients that can cause asthma. 99% of germs can be removed by a good cleaning with general purpose cleaners.
When to use: Only use disinfectants for high skin contact areas such as doorknobs and bathroom sinks.
Easy and Safe Cleaning Products - safer cleaning factsheet, San Francisco Department of the Environment (PDF)
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