Keeping a clean house may help to reduce your risk of symptom flare-ups if you have a chronic lung disease like chronic obstructive respiratory disease (COPD). But cleaning with household products exposes your lungs to chemicals that can irritate your respiratory tract and cause exacerbations.

Here, we help you navigate different types of cleaning products so you can choose the safest ones for your home and health.

Conventional Cleaning Products

Most commercial cleaning products contain fragrances, hazardous chemicals and toxic fumes — all of which can irritate the lungs and cause difficulty breathing. Many cleaning products also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals that emit toxic gases during use and provoke respiratory inflammation.

In 2017, a new study revealed that using bleach and other disinfectant products just once a week increased the risk of developing COPD by 32%. The study linked bleach, ammonia, quaternary compounds (quats), phthalates and VOCs to respiratory illnesses. These hazardous chemicals are in store-bought cleaning products like air fresheners, detergents, disinfectants and sanitizers, carpet cleaners, furniture and floor polishes, drain cleaners, glass cleaners, toilet bowl and bathroom cleaners, fabric softeners and varnishes.

“Green” Cleaning Products

There are many cleaning products marketed as “green,” “natural,” “organic” or “eco-friendly.” The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also certifies “Safer Choice” products. EPA scientists have reviewed Safer Choice-labeled products to ensure they meet strict standards for safer chemical ingredients and reduced VOC emissions.

Green-certified and Safer Choice products are less toxic for use overall, but you should still use these cleaning products with caution if you have COPD. Green-certified products may reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and fumes, but they won’t eliminate it. Every person’s triggers are different — if you are sensitive to chemicals, you might still experience a flare-up while cleaning with green products.

Natural Cleaning Products

The safest products to use for cleaning are warm water, fragrance-free soap, baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar. Invest in microfiber cloths — they lift and grab grease, grime and bacteria from surfaces. Soap, water and microfiber cloths are sufficient to clean most household surfaces. Vinegar and baking soda are multi-purpose cleaners that can be used to remove dirt, mold, mildew, grease and nasty odors. These substances are chemical-free and do not emit fumes, which protect your lungs and airways from irritation and damage.

Consider Cellular Therapy Treatment for COPD

Choosing safe household products is not the only difficulty people with COPD face during house cleaning. Fatigue and shortness of breath can also deplete your energy and hinder your ability to keep your home clean.

Lung Health Institute may be able to help. We offer cellular therapy treatment, which uses healing cells in your own blood to target the root symptom of chronic lung disease: chronic airway inflammation. Reducing inflammation in the airways can decrease the frequency and severity of symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, mucus production and fatigue. After cellular therapy, you may find yourself with more energy to complete household tasks like cleaning without becoming breathless.

For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact one of Lung Health Institute’s patient coordinators today.