The California Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has the authority to require manufacturers of household cleaners to disclose the ingredients in their products and the results of company-led research. In 1986, the California Consumer Product Disclosure Act (CPDA) was signed into law. Despite the law’s requirements, many chemical companies have been avoiding these requirements, delaying the critical assessment process until after the products are already in grocery stores worldwide.
A common ingredient in many home cleaning products is detergent. This chemical helps break down grease and grime. It also contains surfactants, which are substances that bind to surfaces and allow water to get a grip on the dirt. As a result, cleaning products that contain detergents are effective at removing grease and grime.
A typical household cleaning product contains alkalies, acids, detergents, and abrasives. These agents remove dirt and grime by rubbing them. Abrasives can be in the form of sandpaper, plastic mesh, steel wool, or scouring pads. They may also be in the form of chemicals such as ammonia, which is toxic in high doses.
Some household cleaners contain alkali salts. Sodium bicarbonate, also called baking soda, is an example of a mild alkali. It is found in some cleaning products and is a common ingredient in all-purpose cleaners, oven cleaners, and window cleaners. Other alkalis include borax, trisodium phosphate, washing soda, and lye. Always follow storage guidelines when using household cleaners and keep them out of the reach of children.
There is growing evidence that exposure to household cleaners is linked to asthma in infants. In a study conducted in 10 countries, researchers found an association between asthma and the use of spray cleaners. This association was independent of any other indoor air pollution exposure. The risk was even greater among children and adults who had been exposed to household cleaners in utero.
In addition to cautions about using cleaning products around children, household cleaners should be stored in containers with child-proof latches to keep them out of the reach of children. Some cleaners are not safe to store in kitchen cabinets, as they can contain harmful chemicals. Also, it is important to make sure the cleaning products are properly labeled.
Many household cleaners contain alcohol and bleach. You should read the label to find out which one is best for your situation. It should also include the ingredients you’re using. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label to avoid a chemical reaction. Some cleaners may require you to soak a surface in them for a few minutes before you apply them.