Furniture And Wood Cleaners
What to be aware of: Aerosol sprays can contain volatile organic compounds, such as naphtha. They can irritate your eyes and throat and cause headaches and nausea. Plus they are often flammable.
Better bet: Opt for pump sprays, such as Earth Friendly Products’ Furniture Polish. “Pump sprays don’t contain environmentally problematic propellants, are easy to use, and the chemical droplets are larger and less likely to be inhaled,” says Rolf Halden, Ph.D., director of the Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University in Tempe.
What to be aware of: Full-strength household ammonia (5 to 10 percent), can potentially damage your lungs and blind you if it splashes in your eyes. It’s usually found in gallon jugs at supermarkets and drugstores. (Never mix ammonia and bleach—it creates dangerous fumes.)
Better bet: If you do use ammonia, dilute it, says Pat Slaven, test-product leader at Consumer Reports. Use at least eight parts water to one part ammonia. Or try an ammonia-free product such as Staples’ Sustainable Earth Glass Cleaner.
What to be aware of: Some cleaners contain hydrochloric acid (listed as hydrogen chloride on the label), such as Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner CompleteClean. It can burn your skin and eyes. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says toilet-bowl cleaners harbor some of the most dangerous chemicals found in homes.
Better bet: Seventh Generation Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner worked well in our tests and contains chemicals that are less likely to be harmful.