While keeping your home clean is a good idea, especially during flu season when germs can linger on surfaces, some of the products that are available could be dangerous. In a study that followed men and women who used cleaning products, it was found that lung function in women, even if they only cleaned for an hour a week, had declined to the same levels as women who smoked. Chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and other solvents are harsh and can irritate the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and lungs. This disrupts how the airways work and can cause damage. The study suggested that the damage to the lungs was equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day and could be a risk factor for cancer.
Experts advise that a microfiber cloth and plain water are usually all that's needed for most jobs. If chemicals have to be used, it's a good idea to buy wipes that are treated with cleaning agents, rather than using sprays. Small particles in some cleaners can get inhaled, and this also contributes to a loss of lung function.