How to Choose Asthma Safe Cleaning Products

Just Breathe

Some Cleaning Products Cause Asthma Outbreaks, So You Should Stop Using the Ones That Do

Many of us take breathing for granted, but anyone who suffers from asthma, or has a loved one who does, knows the challenges asthma sufferers face nearly every day.

They recognize the importance of keeping a clean home and doing everything they can to prevent an asthma attack.

That means getting rid of dust, dirt, pollen, and anything else that can trigger an asthma outbreak. Unfortunately, however, many asthmatics are unknowingly using cleaning products that are contributing to their condition.


The Problem

Many of today’s leading cleaning products are filled with toxic chemicals emitting fumes that pollute the air and cause throat and respiratory irritation. They are ultimately much worse for your health compared to the dust, dirt and other asthma triggers; not to mention, VOCs are ten times more potent indoors than outdoors.

Also, even if you don’t already have asthma, you can develop an allergy to a chemical after regular exposure. To fight off hazardous chemicals, your immune system goes into overdrive, which can cause an asthma attack.

Knowing that your cleaning products are only making matters worse, it feels like a lose-lose situation – essentially trading one problem for a much greater one. But don’t throw your hands up in defeat just yet.


The Solution

There are many safe alternatives on the market, and as a consumer, it’s your job to do your research, read the labels and make well-informed decisions to protect you and your family’s health.

While looking at labels, go for “VOC free,” “allergy-friendly,” “fragrance-free,” and “non-carcinogenic,” and “non-toxic.” That being said, be wary of generic claims such as “eco-safe” and "environmentally friendly."

The next time you’re shopping, we recommend referencing this informative guideline from the Environmental Protection Agency:

What to avoid:

  • Highly irritating substances
  • Substances classified as human carcinogens or reproductive toxicants
  • Ozone-depleting compounds (see Clean Air Act regulations)
  • Hazardous materials – this includes products listed as hazardous waste

What to look for:

  • Low VOC content
  • Renewable resources – non-chemical-based products such as citrus, vegetable, and pine oils
  • Low toxicity in aquatic species
  • Low flammability (below 200 degrees F)

Before buying a product, make sure you are aware of all the ingredients and if you’re unsure about something, ask the manufacturer to explain their green claims. The Federal Trade Commission offers a detailed outline of environmental marketing



Cleaning products can cause health problems beyond asthma. Find out why you should be green cleaning for your health and read the beginner's guide to non-toxic cleaning.