5 Dangerous Ways We Misuse Cleaners to Kill the Coronavirus

Woman cleaning
Photo by Tinatin / Shutterstock.com

Have you gone into a cleaning frenzy, hoping to kill the coronavirus in your home? If so, take note: Many people are misusing disinfectants and cleaners.

A solid minority of Americans — 39% — use bleach and other disinfectants in a manner that can harm or even kill them, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results of the online survey of around 500 participants are a reminder that certain cleaning practices should be avoided.

According to the CDC, survey respondents admitted to doing the following in hopes of preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19:

  • Using bleach on food items like fruits and vegetables (19%)
  • Using household cleaning and disinfectant products on the skin (18%)
  • Misting the body with a cleaning or disinfectant spray (10%)
  • Inhaling vapors of household cleaners or disinfectants (6%)
  • Drinking or gargling diluted bleach solution, soapy water and other cleaning and disinfectant solutions (4% each)

As you might expect, these actions are not without consequences, with 25% of respondents reporting at least one recent health issue that they believe is tied to their misuse of cleaners or disinfectants.

Reported health consequences included:

  • Nose or sinus irritation (11%)
  • Skin irritation (8%)
  • Eye irritation (8%)
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or headache (8%)
  • Upset stomach or nausea (6%)
  • Breathing problems (6%)

How to stay safe when cleaning

In addition to the mistaken methods the CDC cites, we’ll toss in one more: improper mixing of chemicals.

As we have noted, simply mixing chemicals that do not belong together — including bleach, ammonia, acids and hydrogen peroxide — can harm your health.

For more on what to avoid, check out “Never Mix These 4 Combinations of Cleaners.”

Overall, calls to poison control centers have been on the rise this year. As we reported in April:

“Calls to poison centers about exposure to chemicals used as disinfectants and cleaners grew 20% in January through March compared with the same period last year, says a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.”

Officials cannot say conclusively that this increase is due to cleaning efforts intended to fend off the coronavirus. But whatever the reason, all those emergency calls should prompt you to stay safe while protecting yourself from COVID-19.

For more tips on keeping the coronavirus on the run, check out:

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
6 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
6 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

7 Ways to Save Even More at Dollar Stores
7 Ways to Save Even More at Dollar Stores

Yes, it’s possible to pay less than a buck for items from a dollar store. Here’s how.

10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores
10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores

Wholesale clubs might have great deals, but these mistakes will cost you.

This Is the Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance
This Is the Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance

If you wait too long to apply for coverage, you could be denied. So, when’s the sweet spot to apply?

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

3 Ways to Catch the First Presidential Debate Without Cable
3 Ways to Catch the First Presidential Debate Without Cable

You don’t need cable — or even a TV — to watch the first presidential debate on Tuesday.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already
11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already

Never keep these items past their prime.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.