Hazards of cleaning products and safer alternatives
Why be Concerned?
- Some cleaning products can burn skin or eyes. These cleaners include some drain cleaners, most oven cleaners, some toilet bowl cleaners, and some rust removers.
- Products containing ammonia or chlorine bleach are irritating to the lungs if inhaled and may aggravate asthma symptoms.
- Solvent-based cleaning products, such as spot removers, degreasers, and some furniture polishes and metal polishes, can be toxic and flammable. Accidental ingestion of these products can be fatal.
- Cleaning products are among the products most frequently ingested accidentally by children. Corrosive and solvent-based products can cause serious damage.
What You Can Do
- Choose safer cleaning products. Read our fact sheets on Safer Cleaning Products
(34kb PDF file) and Antimicrobial Products (204kb PDF file). Try our recipes for safer cleaning. Explore our FastFacts for answers to frequently asked questions.
- Ask your elected officials to keep toxic chemicals out of consumer products. Click here for our current action alert.
- Support Washington Toxics Coalition.
- Sign up to receive our e-mail alerts.
- Green Seal Standards for Household Cleaners
- Envirostars has a list of dry cleaners in the Puget Sound region using alternatives to perchloroethylene.
Government Specifications for Environmentally Preferable Cleaners:
Disposal of Cleaning Products
Most cleaning products are water based and can be disposed down the sink or toilet in small quantities. However, it is best to use up unwanted products or give them to someone who can use them. Never pour solvent-based products down the drain. Never dump liquid cleaning products in the trash. Disposal instructions may vary with location. Click here for information about disposal of household hazardous waste in your community.
Still Can't Find the Information You Need?
See our Toxics Hotline page for tips on navigating our website and how to contact us to get more information.