Quiz: How Safe Are Your Cleaning Products?

The great irony of most modern cleaning products is that while they may remove surface dirt and sometimes germs, they make the air and surface dirty with volatile organic chemicals, hydrocarbons, chlorine, and more!

How badly is your indoor air quality polluted with cleaning product chemicals? Take our easy quiz and find out!

Count One Point for Every “Yes,” and Subtract One Point for Every “No.”

1. Do you buy your cleaning products at the supermarket, hardware stores or other mainstream outlets?

2. Do you spray air fresheners or hang air fresheners that weren’t bought in natural-living-type stores?

3. Do you use bleach in your laundry?

4. Do you use fragranced laundry products?

5. Do you use disinfectants?

6. Do you get headaches, rashes, or have trouble breathing when you clean?

7. Do you use a commercial oven cleaner?

8. Do you use commercial carpet cleaners?

9. Do you use mainstream-type commercial tub, tile and toilet cleaners?

10. Do you house a number of partially used cleaning products from commercial sources under your kitchen sink?

11. Does your furniture polish say “flammable?” Do you spray a commercial dusting product?

12. For all-purpose cleaning, do you use a mainstream commercial product?

ANSWERS
If you answered any questions with a “yes,” and have any points at all, you have some environmental indoor air quality issues. Here are some suggestions to improve the situation:

1. Do you buy your cleaning products at the supermarket, hardware stores or other mainstream outlets?
The majority of commercially available cleaning products contain “signal” words on their labels that are stronger than “caution,” such as danger/poison, warning, and flammable. The safest guideline and a good rule of thumb for buying safe cleaning products is to only buy cleaning products that have a signal word of “caution,” and nothing stronger.

2. Do you spray air fresheners or hang air fresheners that weren’t bought in natural-living-type stores?
Many of these products are banned in California because they contain dichlorobenzene, a carcinogenic chemical that is extremely toxic, a central nervous system depressant, a kidney and liver poison, and one of the chlorinated hydrocarbons that is long-lasting in the environment and is stored in body fat.

3. Do you use bleach in your laundry?
Chlorine is also a highly corrosive substance, capable of damaging skin, eyes, and other membranes. Chlorine was listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the 1990 Clean Air Act. Chlorine bleach can also cause cancer-causing chemicals to form in the waste water stream.

4. Do you use fragranced laundry products?
Synthetic fragrances can contain dozens and dozens of synthetic chemicals that are usually derived from petroleum products and contribute to indoor air quality problems and sensitivity in a large number of people. One-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic, according to The National Institute of Occupational Safety.

5. Do you use disinfectants?
Just as antibiotics are causing drug resistance, so too are disinfectants. Look very carefully at labels. Anything that says “kills germs” or something similar will probably contain triclosan, a suspected immunotoxicant and skin toxicant. It is more hazardous than most chemicals in most government ranking systems. Try pure essential-oil based antibacterial products instead, available in natural food stores.

6. Do you get headaches, rashes, or have trouble breathing when you clean?
Listen to what your body is telling you! If you don’t feel well after using any cleanser, whether it be so-called natural or not, stop using it and substitute something less problematic for you.

7. Do you use a commercial oven cleaner?
Oven cleaners are notoriously dangerous, corrosive chemicals that can cause severe burns and other health hazards including respiratory distress. Most of the ingredients are also neurotoxic and central nervous system depressants, which can cause headaches, depression, and lack of concentration.

8. Do you use commercial carpet cleaners?
I have yet to find one brand that isn’t made with synthetic fragrances, which will waft throughout the house for weeks after use. (See #4.)

9. Do you use mainstream-type commercial tub, tile and toilet cleaners?
Corrosive ingredients, bleach, and synthetic acids are a few of the irritating chemicals found in tub, tile and toilet cleaners.

10. Do you house a number of partially used cleaning products from commercial sources under your kitchen sink?
Fumes from the products will waft throughout the house, and be particularly strong for the person doing the dishes! Many of the chemical vapors are harmful to health, either with acute symptoms or long term harm, such as with those that can cause cancer.

11. Does your furniture polish say “flammable”? Do you use commercial spray dusting products?
Petroleum-based furniture polish and sprays can contain ingredients that are neurotoxic, central nervous system depressants, headaches, and lack of concentration.

12. For all-purpose cleaning do you use a mainstream commercial product?
Many commercial all-purpose cleaners contain chlorinated materials, as well as petroleum-based solvents that are neurotoxic and central nervous system depressants.

430 comments

Vivian Y.
Vivian Y.3 years ago

Good post! We're trying to manufacture natural products to reduce the healthy dangers such as Natural air freshener
and organic hair shampoo, which can even be used by the pregnant.

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Amy H.
Amy H.6 years ago

I scored quite well because I use Shaklee cleaners. This quiz and the answers are very helpful with how all these things hurt us and our families. Thanks for the info.

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Cinderella Maid Service
Past Member 7 years ago

Pretty cool post. It’s really very nice and useful post. Thanks for sharing this with us!it’s my first visit.

House Cleaning Service RI
House Cleaning Service NJ
Polacy za Granica

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jessica w.
jessica w7 years ago

noted

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wizzy wizard
wiz wi7 years ago

noted

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dve d.
aa b7 years ago

i used good old fashions elbow grease

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Lee Jones
Lee J7 years ago

We are really careful about what we use. Even the few mainstream products we do use are extremely carefully chosen. Great reminders in this article though thank you!

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Elizabeth O.
.7 years ago

Informative article.

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BALDOVI ALINE
Aline BALDOVI7 years ago

tks

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Eileen Mary P.
Eileen P7 years ago

noted, and I've sprung into action!

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