Wheezing? Wipe out your cleaning cupboard.


The cleaning spray Windex became famous from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and while the smell does make some people want to clean more frequently, consumers are being warned to read the label and do their research before using some household cleaning sprays and air fresheners.

Studies are showing a link between cleaning sprays and air fresheners with an increased risk of adult asthma and allergies. Some sources state that this is because many of these products contain fragrance chemicals that could trigger allergy symptoms or an asthma attack.

One study found that using household cleaning products only 4 times a week like “glass-cleaning, furniture, and air-refreshing sprays” were linked to a higher rate of physician-diagnosed asthma.

Air fresheners are a widely used product in office buildings, at home or used by professional cleaners, but the truth is they don’t freshen the air or fix problems like mould or even bad odours, but rather, they mask smells with fragrances.

Stanley Fineman at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says that it’s a problem that people don’t realise, that around 20% of the general population and 34% of people with asthma report aggravation of existing allergies and exacerbations of asthma from air fresheners and scented candles.

Unfortunately, even though reading the label and doing some research can help, it’s a challenge for the consumers to make the right judgement because these brands aren’t made to disclose the full list of ingredients. Here is a list of ingredients to avoid.

By discontinuing the use of air fresheners and cleaning sprays, you can decrease chemical exposure at home. Here are some methods you can use to replace the use of some cleaning products and air fresheners:

  • Open a window to let fresh air come in.
  • Get an air purifier. An air purifier will remove ultrafine airborne particles like pollen and dust.
  • Use more natural products like lemon or eucalyptus oil and water to wipe draws, floors or surfaces.
  • Use natural cleaning products like mixing baking soda and water, or vinegar and water, and putting it in a spray bottle. You can use this in the kitchen and bathroom.

Of course, stronger cleaning products are needed in some circumstances but try using fewer harmful products for everyday use.

If you know of any natural cleaning products, share your ideas on our Facebook page. If you suffer from asthma or hayfever and you haven’t found an effective solution, you should consider seeing a doctor or specialist who can provide you with some different options.