How to protect your skin while spring cleaning

It’s that time of year when we get out our cleaning supplies, roll up our sleeves, and scrub every dusty corner of our house. But those cleaning products that are so effective at eradicating household germs can be tough on your skin. Here are some tips to help you accomplish your spring cleaning without damaging your own health.

Cover up

No matter what products you’re using, it’s always a good idea to create a physical barrier between your skin and the cleaner. We know those big waterproof gloves aren’t the most fashionable accessory, but they’re cheap and effective at protecting your hands as you wash and scrub. If you’re doing a thorough cleaning using carpet-cleaning products that contain ammonia or bleach, it’s not a bad idea to protect your eyes with safety goggles.

Try to choose natural products

Did you know that many common products that are meant to improve the health of your home actually contain powerful chemicals that can be harmful to your skin and overall health? To ensure you’re cleaning your home safely, you can make your own products or purchase natural ones (although these typically come with a higher price tag). Even if you don’t revamp your supply of cleaning products, here are some common products with ingredients you should use with caution.


Bleach can refer to any type of powerful chemical product that is used to clean surfaces, whiten clothes, or remove stains. There are a few types of bleach: chlorine bleach, which contains sodium hypochlorite, and oxygen bleach, which contains hydrogen peroxide. Bleach can be found in bathroom cleaners, and it can be irritating to your skin or eyes. If you use a product with bleach, make sure the room you’re cleaning has proper ventilation and that if you get any on your skin, you wash it off right away.

Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners such as Drano use lye—also called sodium hydroxide—to dissolve clogs in drains and pipes. Drain cleaners also contain chemicals like sodium hypochlorite, sodium nitrate, sodium chloride and aluminum. This powerful chemical formula is meant to dissolve organic matter, which makes it highly effective and also dangerous. It can burn skin, irritate eyes, and hurt your lungs. If you do use Drano, make sure to use it sparingly, and never if you have a complete blockage. If you get it on your skin, rinse it off right away.

Rug, carpet and upholstery cleaners

If you have kids or pets, chances are you spend some time playing on the floor. And with that playing comes inevitable spills and messes, so your spring cleaning will probably include a thorough cleanse of the carpet. But carpet and upholstery cleaners often contain harsh chemicals, so take extra care if your cleaner contains one of these: perchloroethylene, which can cause nausea, dizziness and fatigue, or naphthalene, a solvent manufactured from coal tar which is dangerous to the central nervous system.

As you get out your cleaning products and prepare to undertake your spring cleaning, take a closer look at your products and keep these tips in mind. If you do experience any dermatology issues as a result of your cleaning, be sure to contact the skincare experts at Coastal Dermatology & Surgery Center!