A new study has found that using disinfectant cleaning products including bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and chemicals known as quaternary ammonium compounds, or quats, could increase a person’s chance of developing fatal lung conditions.
Scientists at Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) claim using the products just once a week could increase the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by nearly a third.
Here are some safe, simple and effective alternatives to try when cleaning your home.
1. Baking soda and vinegar
Half a cup of baking soda teamed with half a cup of white vinegar can make an impressive toilet cleaner. Pour the mixture into the toilet bowl, wait a few hours, then flush to remove stains.
Baking soda mixed with water can also prove effective when cleaning that hard-to-tackle grubby grouting. Apply with an old toothbrush and scrub away the grime for sparking tiles.
2. Lemon juice
For an simple way to polish scaly taps and chrome bathroom fixtures, look no further than your fruit bowl. Cut a lemon into two halves, squeeze them into a bowl to collect the juice, rub it on taps, then wait an hour or more before rinsing off.
Lemon juice can also be used to clean pesky caked-in splatters on your microwave; squeeze some into water, add the rinds too, then pop in the microwave for a quick blast. Next, just wipe off those loosened splatters with a clean tea towel.
If you've ever dipped a dirty old coin in a glass of Coca-Cola, you'll know how effective its acid can be at getting rid of stains. So pour a can of cola down your toilet bowl for a few hours (or overnight for particularly stubborn stains), before flushing away. Result? A gleaming toilet bowl.
Did you know your newspaper can make an effective mirror polisher? Simply scrunch up a page or two and rub the mirror or glass to get rid of smears and marks.
5. Tea tree oil
Try combining tea tree oil, white vinegar and water to create a homemade kitchen cleaning spray. As mentioned before, the white vinegar helps remove stains (thanks to its diluted acetic acid), and the tea tree oil will ensure a sweet-smelling kitchen.