Chemicals used in cleaning products, such as laundry detergents, bleaches, dishwashing products and other household cleaners, can help improve cleaning efficiency and hygiene in homes, offices and other environments.
Antibacterial cleansers help kill germs, chlorinated cleaning products help protect against the flu and foodborne illnesses, and cleaning solvents help dissolve greases and oils and often have good biodegradability.
The Federal Hazardous Substances Act requires precautionary labeling on containers of any consumer product that poses a likelihood of injury, to help consumers safely store and use those products, and to provide information about immediate first aid steps to take if an accident happens.
There are many different types of ingredients used in cleaning products to help them perform. For example, you may see solvents like ethanol, or preservatives, or chlorine bleach listed in a cleaning product’s ingredients. You can often find the ingredients listed on a product’s ingredients label or packaging.
To learn more about a specific ingredient used in a cleaning product, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) has also developed a Cleaning Product Ingredient Inventory as a comprehensive list of unique ingredients used by ACI members to manufacture home use, dish care, laundry care and hard surface cleaning products. For common ingredients, ACI provides a summary of the hazard and exposure data collected, along with a summary of the screening-level risk assessment results.
Any chemical, even water or oxygen, can be toxic if too much is ingested or absorbed into the body. The toxicity of a specific substance depends on a variety of factors, including how much of the substance a person is exposed to, how they are exposed, and for how long.
While cleaning products are safe and effective, they must be handled appropriately to protect the health of consumers and their families. Users should follow all safe handling instructions on a product’s label before using a particular cleaning product.