The smell of cleansers made me sick + A Safe, DIY spray cleaner recipe from 25 years ago
I started cleaning homes in about 1994. At the time, I had no idea that I could have negative reactions to the chemical scents in cleaning products.
The problems started showing up while using Pine Sol cleanser in the homes I was cleaning. I was using it mainly to make the homes smell better.
I don’t remember the exact moment that I began having problems, but I remember, while cleaning the homes I worked in, gagging and feeling nauseated.
I continued to use Pine Sol for a little while longer. Just long enough that I’d throw up when I used it. I stopped using it, of course, but the damage was already done.
After I began having issues with Pine Sol, I started getting sick from almost any artificial scent. I even had problems in a home where I wasn’t using scented cleaning products, but the owner was using numerous Glade Plugin scent creators. The smell in that home was powerfully strong. The last time I worked in that house, I remember driving home and having to pull over several times to throw up.
So for me, strongly scented products produce nausea.
A bit of research led me to this page from John Hopkins Medicine entitled Allergens: Chemical Sensitivity. Here are a few touch-points from the page:
Symptoms of reactions to chemicals include but are not limited to:
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Warmth and redness of the face and neck (flushing)
The negative reactions to products you might use to clean is called: “Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI).”
Reactions to cleaning chemicals are not caused by your immune system.
The article mentions its hard to pinpoint what is causing the body’s reactions. The article even says the cause is psychological.
That said, I disagree with them. Slightly off topic: I have a policy about doctors: They are “practicing” medicine, not “performing” medicine. Doctors make mistakes. Double check with another doctor if the first doctor’s opinion doesn’t seem right.
So what to do about reactions to cleansers?
I would suggest a policy of “Just Say No” to strongly scented cleaning products. These include products you use, or products your house cleaners use. A clean smelling home might be nice, but a clean smelling, unsafe home is definitely not nice.
Keep the people in your household safe by using safe cleaning products.
Here is a recipe for a safe homemade cleanser that my cleaners and I use. I’ve been using this cleanser since the late 1990s.
* One gallon of purified water (Reverse Osmosis water or distilled water, which is available at any grocery store or pharmacy)
* One-half pint of 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol (more or less – your choice)
* One quarter to one teaspoon (more or less – your choice) of Dawn dishwashing detergent
* Once mixed, fill a spray bottle with the cleaner and use on everything in your home that needs cleaning.
One last thing: I use commercial bathroom cleaner in tubs and showers. Not very much! A spray or three. I use the bathroom cleaner because it’s difficult to remove hard water stains and soap scum without a bit of extra help.
I also use Comet powdered cleanser on sinks, counter tops, tubs, and shower floors. I have read many times that I could use baking soda instead, although I’ve never tried that.
Do you or someone you know have a strong negative reaction to commercial cleaning products or artificial scents? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment in the comment section at the bottom of this article.
What’s your story about cleansers making your sick?
Do you or someone you know have a strong negative reaction to commercial cleaning products or artificial scents? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment in the comment section at the bottom of this article
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