Scrubbing at the kitchen surfaces and disinfecting the bathroom may seem like a sure fire way to eradicate dangerous bugs and germs.
But, in trying to protect the health of your nearest and dearest, you could be putting your own health at risk.
For cleaning exposes people to potentially harmful agents, which increase the risk of lung damage.
A new study, by scientists at the University of Bergen, found people who regularly clean their homes are at 14 per cent greater risk of experiencing a decline in their lung function over the next 20 years.
And the harmful substances are typically found in a range of products, from washing up liquids and bleach to floor cleaners.
Oistein Svanes, a PhD student who led the study, said: “We need to start being much more aware of the chemicals we are releasing into the air we breathe when we use things like cleaning spray.”
The study looked at a sample of more than 5,000 people from The European Community Respiratory Health Survey, over a period of two decades.
The data revealed those people who clean for a living experienced a 17 per cent greater decline in lung function compared to the average person on the street.
Cleaning exposes people to chemicals including ammonia, which can irritate the airways, and other substances that can cause allergic airway disease.
In the past, studies have highlighted an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among professional cleaners, making it one of the occupations at greatest risk of developing the condition.
However, the new study, which will be presented at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress which starts on Saturday, is the first to look at the long-term dangers of being exposed to cleaning agents.
With lower lung function leaving people at greater risk of respiratory health issues, the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign is encouraging anyone who experiences any lung symptoms at home or in the workplace to talk to their GP and get their lungs tested.
Commenting on the study, Professor Jørgen Vestbo, president of ERS and professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Manchester, said: “Cleaning products can put people’s health at risk.
“So people should be aware of the risks and take steps to mitigate against them – if people have genuine concerns they should ensure that they discuss any symptoms and the possible link with their workplace with their doctor.”