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Household Cleaning Supplies That Make You Sick

Shelly Barclay

Many of the products that you use to clean your house can make you sick. The harsh chemicals that remove stains, kill bacteria and leave your home surfaces shining are often harmful if you use them incorrectly or use them at all. It is important to read the labels on all of your household cleaning products and follow the instructions carefully. If you feel sick while using cleaning products, contact your poison control center immediately.

Chlorine Bleach

To avoid getting sick from your household cleaning products, read all product labels.

Chlorine bleach is one of the most common and potentially hazardous household cleaning products. The liquid chlorine bleach you use in your home can cause skin irritation on contact. If you ingest enough, it will cause nausea and vomiting. The fumes emitted by this cleaning product can corrode your lungs and irritate your eyes, nose and throat.

When you store and use chlorine bleach in your home, you must be careful not to mix it with other cleaning products. If they contain ammonia, you can create a deadly gas or an explosive combination of chemicals. To be safe, only mix chlorine bleach with water.


Ammonia is in household cleaning supplies like window cleaner and floor wax. Low levels of ammonia, like those found in these products, can cause respiratory issues like coughing and trouble breathing. It can also cause headache, fever, elevated heart rate, nausea and vomiting. If ammonia encounters your skin, it can irritate and burn. If your eyes are exposed to ammonia, it will irritate them and possibly cause blindness.

Drain Cleaner

Drain cleaner is a common household cleaning product you use to unclog or clean drains. Many drain cleaners contain harmful chemicals, some of which are neurotoxins. If your eyes come into contact with these drain cleaners, they will cause irritation and possibly blindness, which may be irreversible. The vapors of these drain cleaners will burn your lungs if you breathe them in. Ingestion of drain cleaner can cause vomiting, diarrhea and death up to one month after ingestion.

Furniture Polish

Some furniture polishes contain hydrocarbons that can make you sick. Ingesting these products may cause burning of the mouth, lips, eyes and esophagus. It can also cause low blood pressure, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Inhalation of these products may make it difficult for you to breathe.