Put Down the Cleaning Spray

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Well, it turns out, the saying should go, “cleanliness is next to smoking.”

According to a study by researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway and published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, women who clean regularly or as a profession are at greater risk for a decline in lung function.

More than 6,000 participants in the study were followed for two decades. “We feared that such chemicals, by steadily causing a little damage to the airways day after day, year after year, might accelerate the rate of lung function decline that occurs with age,” said Cecile Svanes, MD, PhD, and the study’s senior author.

The results were staggering. Researchers found that women working as cleaners had a lung function decline “comparable to smoking somewhat less than 20 years.” It is believed that the chemicals found in cleaning solutions irritate the airway’s mucous membranes, causing substantial damage specifically to the lungs. However, according to the study, men who cleaned were not affected more than men who did not.

Svanes suggests that in many cases, such strong chemical solutions are “unnecessary; microfiber cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes.”

But if you’re skeptical of the cleaning power of water and a cloth, here are some other non-toxic household ingredients you can use to clean many surfaces of your home with.

Photo credit: Trinette Reed, Stocksy