Look for safer cleaning supplies to get the job done. How to pick products that work – and still avoid the risky chemicals.
The annual ritual of spring cleaning is meant to make your home a healthier place, getting rid of a winter’s worth of accumulated dust, mold, and mildew. But some of the sprays, powders, and foams you use to get the job done may not be so good for you.
One reason: Many household-cleaning products now incorporate ingredients once reserved for hospitals and health-care institutions. But “risky antibacterial chemicals aren’t necessary to get your house clean,” says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of consumer safety and sustainability at Consumer Reports.
So which cleaning supplies should you use—and which should you avoid? Manufacturers don’t make it easy to figure out because they’re not required to list all in­gredients on their labels. And when they do, how do you decipher the long list of chemicals? Here’s what our experts say:
What to be aware of: Cleaners that contain ingredients like dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, such as Scrubbing Bubbles Heavy Duty All Purpose Cleaner andClorox Disinfecting Wipes, may help breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Better bet: Clorox Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner spray did a good job of removing soap scum and dirt in Consumer Reports’ tough mess tests and contains ingredients that are less likely to harm you or the environment. If you prefer ready-to-use cleaning cloths, which almost 25 percent of households now buy, try Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes. “It’s a good op­tion for when there’s a flu or cold going around the house,” Rangan says. “Bleach kills bacteria effectively without promoting superbugs.”