Sparkle & Smile

Blog for Cleaner and Healthier Homes

Green Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Allergies and Cleaning Products

Some people can be sensitive to chemicals in everyday household cleaning products. Here are ways to reduce your exposure to these chemicals.

Alternative cleaning products for allergy sufferers

Air Fresheners. Air fresheners contain substances caused volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which, some studies suggest can cause asthma in children. Synthetic fragrances, such as artificial musks, can also cause allergic and asthmatic reactions.
Alternative solution: Buy some odor-absorbing rubber or spider plants. Or, make your own air freshener by putting a teaspoon of baking soda, two tablespoons of white vinegar and two cups of water into a spray bottle.

Bleach. Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, a chemical that gives off toxic fumes that can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
Alternative solution: Borax powder, a natural mineral that you can buy from the chemist. Dilute it in hot water (a teaspoon per liter) and add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar.

Oven Cleaners. Some of these contain sodium hydroxide, a highly toxic chemical that can irritate your airways and cause breathing problems.
Alternative solution: Put a heat-proof dish filled with water in the oven and turn on the heat for a while to let the steam soften any baked-on grime. When the oven has cooled, make a paste using equal measures of salt, baking soda and vinegar, spread it over the oven surfaces and scrub off.

Spray Polish. Spray polish contains VOCs and synthetic fragrance.
Alternative solution: Use a natural wax polish, such as beeswax. Work it into your wood surfaces and buff until you get a shine.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Toilet bowl cleaners often contain naphthalene, and the fumes can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin.
Alternative solution: Use vinegar to soften any limescale. Pour half a bottle into the bowl last thing at night, then give it a good scrub in the morning.

Washing Powder. Some washing powders contain sodium carbonate, which can cause allergic skin reactions.
Alternative solution: Only use non-biological washing powders, as these are less likely to irritate the skin.

Window Cleaner. The overpowering smell you get when you open a bottle of window or glass cleaner is ammonia, which can irritate the skin as well as the eyes and lungs.
Alternative solution: Add two tablespoons of vinegar to a small bucket of warm water, wash, then dry with a clean cloth.

Maid Brigade House Cleaning Services cares about our environment and the health of you and your family. For more information on healthy green living and green cleaning, please log on to and

To learn more about the hidden allergy and asthma triggers in the home, log on to

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