If you have ever gotten a sore throat when cleaning, there is a big possibility that it was caused by your cleaning product. Common cleaning products have been known to cause throat irritations as well as other reactions. There are safer ways to protect your throat, or any part of your body, from a reaction or irritant caused by the chemical you are using.
Any common cleaning product can cause throat irritation if inhaled or used in any way that is different from instructions. The most commonly used cleaners that might cause throat irritation include bleach, disinfectants, and detergents.
Since there is a multitude of cleaning products, there can be a wide range of reactions. One of the most common is a sore or irritated throat. When used safely and correctly, any cleaning product should not cause a reaction or irritation. Keep reading to find out the cleaning products that might irritate your throat and what you can do about it.
Common Cleaning Products Known to Cause Irritation
Common household cleaners are often the culprit for throat reactions, including throat irritations. Here are some common cleaning products that may be the cause of irritating your throat.
- Air fresheners
Other products can irritate, but they’re not as commonly used as the ones listed above.
Disinfectant sprays not only kill germs and bacteria, but they can and are known to cause throat irritations. When disinfectants are used, common sense may go out the window. When using disinfectants, it is important to breathe in as little as possible of the cleaner.
Typically using sprays or a liquid with a strong smell can cause the most concern for a sore throat.
Using a disinfectant spray such as Lysol can help to protect bacteria, viruses, and other germs. However, it is important to know that while it can be helpful, there can be some reactions or irritations that can occur when using Lysol or other disinfectant sprays.
- When inhaled, disinfectant sprays can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs. This irritation can cause breathing difficulties and headaches associated with breathing in too many of the fumes or chemicals that make up the majority of any disinfectant spray.
- When used on surfaces, the cleaning disinfectant can come in contact with the skin, eyes, and mouth. Can cause severe eye irritations, stomach distress, and even nausea and vomiting.
The same reactions can occur when using air fresheners. Most people will use air fresheners daily multiple times a day as well. These can cause the same reactions in users.
Using spray disinfectants and air fresheners can be safe if the proper procedures and guidelines are used. To do this, it is important to always follow the directions that should be printed on each label.
Bleach is used for everything from being used as a bathroom cleaner to put in the washer to help brighten your whites. Bleach is also a common disinfectant that can be used in place of Lysol.
There are multiple cleaners that contain bleach. Clorox wipes are a form of disinfectant wipes typically used in and around the home or office areas. They are widely used in schools as well as stores. Reactions to bleach are very common and can be life-threatening.
Since bleach is in most homes across the world, it can be no surprise that someone will use bleach incorrectly. Irritations caused by bleach and other products containing bleach have a wide variety.
Irritations Caused by Bleach
Bleach can cause toxic pollutants to form in the air. When you breathe in the air that has been contaminated with bleach or cleaners containing bleach, you are breathing in the chemicals that will affect your airways, including your throat. This can cause breathing problems as well as a sore or irritated throat.
Irritations or reactions to bleach products can include but is not limited to:
- Breathing problems
- Burning and watery eyes
- A runny nose
- Throat irritations
- Skin irritations
Mixing Bleach with Other Chemicals
When bleach is mixed or used with other chemicals, these reactions can be intensified or be worse than just using bleach itself. One chemical or cleaner that is very dangerous to use or mix with bleach is ammonia.
Mixing bleach and ammonia causes a highly toxic gas. This gas is called chloramine. Ammonia can be typically found in window cleaners, paints, and the unlikely of places, urine.
When exposed to chloramines caused by mixing bleach and ammonia, the reactions can be mild to severe. The following reactions can be caused by chloramines:
- Coughing or irritation to the throat
- Eye irritations such as watery eyes
- Breathing problems like wheezing or shortness of breath
- Fluid build up in the lungs that can cause pneumonia
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Chest pain
Reactions to detergents such as soaps for the body and dishwashing liquid, laundry detergents such a Gain and Tide are common in people with sensitive skin. These reactions are usually caused by irritations on the skin.
However, in some instances, an allergic reaction can occur that contributes to throat irritation or a sore throat.
Treating Irritations Caused by Cleaning Products
Throat irritations caused by cleaning products can be easy or difficult to treat. In most cases, a simple at-home remedy may do the trick. However, some situations may require a medical expert.
To treat throat irritations- and other reactions- at home:
- Breathe in fresh air for a few hours after using or being exposed to chemicals or cleaning products.
- Take the time to rest until symptoms go away.
- Try to refrain from smoking or being around smoke for at least a couple to twenty-four (24) hours.
- Try over the counter sore throat medication for temporary relief.
- Drink warm liquids to try soothing the irritation or sore throat.
Some reactions to cleaning products can cause more severe cases. It is important to know that if any symptom persists more than a couple of hours to a day, then medical advice may be needed. Symptoms of reactions needing medical advice include but are not limited to:
- Breathing difficulties; shortness of breath or wheezing worsens.
- Headaches, dizziness, or even confusion occur or increases in intensity.
- Fainting or drowsiness occurs
- A “wet” cough or a cough with mucus
Preventing Throat Irritations While Using Cleaning Products
Staying safe while using cleaning products can be done. It is always important to read the directions, warnings, and then different methods that the cleaner can be used.
To stay safe with cleaning products:
- Clean in a well-ventilated area or room.
- Wear a protective mask to help decrease breathing in the fumes that a cleaning product may give off.
- Wear gloves or other forms of protection to keep the chemical or cleaner from getting on skin or clothing.
- Use only as directed.
- Never mix chemicals or cleaning products with other chemicals or products unless directed to do so on the warning, direction label.
- Wash hand after handling any cleaning products, especially before eating or touching other surfaces.
- Dispose of cleaning product accordingly. Do not pour down a drain. Chemicals can “stay” or remain in the drain systems. This can lead to accidental chemical mixing and cause more breathing problems or reactions to occur.
- NEVER intentionally inhale a chemical or cleaning product. This can lead not only to throat irritations but severe breathing and lung problems that will almost always require a medical expert.
It is important that if any symptoms occur, such as throat irritation, using the cleaning product should stop immediately. The user should then contact the poison control center and a doctor immediately, especially if difficulty breathing occurs.
Sometimes anaphylactic shock can occur. This is a life-threatening severe allergic reaction, and 911 should be contacted immediately. If a chemical is swallowed, the Poison Control Center should be contacted or called.
Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222