Home Cleaners

Can you be allergic to your home cleaning products?

Yes. Home cleaners are complex products. They are often made with penitential allergens, and even toxic ingredients.

Even home-cleaning products marketed as “natural” can contain both allergens and toxic ingredients, too.

How do you know if you are allergic to the cleaning products you use in your home?

You can have allergic reactions on your skin. Common sites are your hands and your eyelids. Yes, eyelid dermatitis can happen when spray cleanser droplets touch your eyelids. You can also carry cleaner to your eyelids with your hands when you rub your eyes with hands that have cleaner residue on them.
Allergic reactions to home cleaners also manifest as airway problems such as asthma. The more contact you have with allergens in your home-cleaning products, the more likely your body is to develop an allergy.

It’s why I recommend keeping your home-cleaning products simple. Use products that clean without all the extra ingredients (such as fragrances) that are usually allergens.

What is the most common allergen in home-cleaning products?

It is usually the fragrances.

“Fragrances are complex substances that contain hundreds of different chemicals and are the most common cause of ACD (allergic contact dermatitis) in the United States…….either to achieve an appealing scent or to mask unpleasant odors.” (1)

Fragrances are often synthetic, which opens up another fact you need to know about harmful chemicals in your home-cleaning products – phthalates.

Why are phthalates in home cleaning products a problem?

Phthalates are used as synthetic fragrances in home-cleaning products. (2) They are notoriously, harmful chemical-ingredients and have well-substantiated health impacts including endocrine disruption, impaired neurodevelopement in children and hypersensitivity reactions such as asthma. Phthalates pass through the placenta and breast milk, too. (3)

What are other allergens in home cleaning products?

Preservatives are also allergens in many home cleaners, including some of the most popular, “natural” ones!
A number of the natural cleaners contain methylisothiazolinone, a powerful synthetic biocid and preservative in the isothiazolinone group. These are known contact-skin allergens capable of causing rashes. They are also formaldehyde releasing preservatives. (5)

What are other chemicals that can be harmful in home cleaners?

Alkylphenols. These popular surfactants have been present in home detergents and surface cleaners since the 1940s. They cause indoor air-contamination and are absorbed through skin, too. They accumulate in the body and can mimic estrogen. The most common alkylphenol in home cleaners is 4-t-nonylphenol (4).

Caution – your household cleaners become part of the indoor air quality of your home.

Household chemicals recirculate in your home’s indoor air and impact the quality of the air you breath, especially if you keep your windows closed. Today’s modern and well-insulated homes mean that you need to be careful about indoor air quality.

What’s circulating in your indoor air impacts the entire household. Infants and children have the biggest exposure due to their activities and physiology.

How do you choose safe and non-toxic home cleaners?

Use home-cleaning products without fragrance. This is actually not – it’s hard to know if your product is truly made without fragrance.

How do you know if your home cleaning products are really made without fragrance?

Labeling is confusing because “unscented” sometimes means there is still a masking-fragrance in a product, and thus, the product is not truly fragrance-free. Masking-fragrances are potential problems, too. Look for “fragrance-free” labeling.

Fragrance-free is not a guarantee of hypoallergenic because products may still contain botanical ingredients that are potent allergens!

Scented cleaning-products expose you to synthetic fragrances, and those include the notorious phthalates. (2) Naturally-scented products expose you to botanical essential oils that can be allergens, too.

What do I, as a dermatologist who treats patients with sensitive skin, allergies and eczema, recommend for safe, home cleaning?

Natural cleaners that are truly natural, non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

That’s why I have Dr. Bailey Skin Care’s All Natural Spray Cleaner and Cleaning Concentrate.

I offer these simple and truly hypoallergenic, natural home-cleaners because of an eczema patient I cared for who was highly allergic to her home-cleaning products. After spending many months trying to help her find cleaners that cleaned her home but did not trigger her eyelid dermatitis, I decided to take control.

That’s why my Home Cleaners have NO fragrance, NO preservatives, NO VOCS – just natural oils turned into soap that cleans your surfaces, your clothing and anything else you need to clean.

Eczema and home-cleaning products are often linked! Use hypoallergenic home cleaning products if you have eczema.


1. Luz Fonacier, MD, et. al., Contact Dermatitis: A Practice Parameter – Update 2015, The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Vol 3 (3), Supplement S1-S39, May-June 2015, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2015.02.009

2. Zota AR, Singla V, Adamkiewicz G, et al, Reducing chemical exposures at home: opportunities for action, J Epidemiol Community Health 2017;71:937-940. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2016-208676

3. Nguyen Quoc Vuong Tran, Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Environmental Toxicants: Epigenetics as an Underlying Mechanism, Int J Genomics, May 8, 2017 doi: 10.1155/2017/7526592

4. Ruthann A. Rudel, et. al., Endocrine disrupting chemicals in indoor and outdoor air, Atmos Environ, 2009 Jan 1 43(1): 170-181, doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.09.025

5. Laura Malinauskiene et. al., Formaldehyde may be found in cosmetic products even when unlabeled, Open Med, 2015; 10(1) 323-328 July 7, 2015, doi: 10.1515/med-2015-0047

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  1. Dr. Bailey's All Purpose 100% Natural Spray Cleaner

    All Purpose 100% Natural Spray Cleaner

    Safe, Non-toxic and Zero-VOC Surface Cleaner that is ideal for People with Sensitive Skin. Know that your home cleansing products are certified to USDA Organic Standards and made with only plant-based ingredients in a fragrance free formula.

  2. Dr. Bailey's All Purpose 100% Natural Liquid Cleaner Concentrate

    All Purpose 100% Natural Liquid Cleaner Concentrate

    Safe, Non-toxic and Zero-VOC Surface Cleaner that is ideal for People with Sensitive Skin. Know that your home cleansing products are certified to USDA Organic Standards and made with only plant-based ingredients in a fragrance free formula.

    Certified to USDA Organic Standards

    by Vermont Organic Farmers

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