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Think Twice Before Spraying: Dangers of Disinfectant Sprays

Medically reviewed by Michael Henry Wanat · Respiratory Therapy

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Apr 21, 2022

    Think Twice Before Spraying: Dangers of Disinfectant Sprays

    With the rise of COVID-19, more and more people are using disinfectants to keep everything as clean as possible. Some people even go as far as spraying their groceries with disinfectant.  Disinfectants are an efficient way to clean surfaces and avoid picking up viruses but is it possible to overdo it? What are the dangers of disinfectant sprays? What do we need to know about using them safely? Is there another way to clean our homes and spaces? Read on to learn more.

    The Dangers Of Disinfectant Sprays

    Traditional cleaning products and disinfectant sprays used in sanitation present a variety of environmental, health, and safety risks. Although some of them may smell pleasing, the chemicals they contain are often responsible for poor indoor air quality.

    Many disinfectant sprays and other cleaning products have been associated with many adverse health effects, including:

    In addition, chemicals used in making these disinfectants may cause environmental pollution. If not disposed of properly, some of these chemicals can cause serious contamination and harm to the environment.

    How To Use Disinfectant Sprays Safely

    If chemical disinfectants are misused or mishandled, they could do some damage. Therefore, disinfectants must be selected and used appropriately to provide adequate disinfection without harming individuals or causing damage to surfaces.

    To use disinfectants properly, you should:

    Read the Label 

    Understand all the potential health hazards and dangers of disinfectant sprays. Disinfectant sprays and other cleaning materials usually have a list of the chemicals that are in the product.

    If possible, investigate or do some research on the ingredients of the disinfectant spray you are using and follow the necessary precautionary measures to avoid any adverse effects.

    Don’t Inhale It

    When spraying disinfectants inside your home or at the office, do not attempt to spray an entire room without a mask or protective barrier that will prevent inhalation of the chemicals.

    Follow Instructions

    Most manufacturers include instructions on how to use and dispose of the product safely. Following the directions on product labels and the instructions given by the manufacturer not only saves you from harm but also prevents further damage to the environment.

    Furthermore, you should ensure that you follow the required contact time (i.e., how long the surface should be visible wet) to determine that you have disinfected a surface effectively. You may also want to read the label for proper use instructions.

    Do Not Mix It With Other Chemicals

    Do not mix your disinfectant spray with other chemicals. Avoid spraying over disinfectant sprays with another disinfectant spray. It could be hazardous to mix a chemical disinfectant with another chemical substance.

    For example, mixing sodium hypochlorite (bleaching solutions) with acidic cleaning products creates chlorine gas. Inhaling chlorine gas is dangerous.

    Furthermore, adding anything else to a disinfectant may neutralize it and render it ineffective.

    Avoid the Dangers of Disinfectant Sprays: Less Harmful Disinfectants

    Chemical disinfectants seem to be the most efficient and easy option. You can buy disinfectant sprays in most grocery stores, and they are ready and easy to use. However, if you want to avoid the dangers of disinfectant sprays and opt for healthier and less harmful products, here are some options you can consider:


    Vinegar is acidic and is very effective in cleaning bacteria. It may leave a stingy smell, but it eventually goes away over time. Not only is vinegar readily available, but it is also easy to dispose of and is undoubtedly safe for the environment.

    Baking Soda

    Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is also an effective, simple, and inexpensive disinfectant. It can cause mild abrasions, making it excellent for removing sticky messes and dirt without leaving scratch marks on surfaces.

    Hydrogen Peroxide

    For a more potent disinfectant, you may also choose hydrogen peroxide. Using hydrogen peroxide is safer for the environment than using chlorine bleach. Most of the time, this is mixed with water when sold in the market.

    However, you should be extra cautious when storing this liquid. Hydrogen peroxide in water solution is colorless and odorless. Therefore it must be stored and labeled correctly.

    Wash Your Hands

    To altogether avoid the dangers of disinfectant sprays, it has been shown that regular hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses and viruses like COVID-19. The CDC’s recommendation is to wash your hands vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

    Since soap dissolves the virus’s fat membrane, it is pretty effective against it. Disinfectants, wipes, and gels that contain alcohol are less effective than soap for destroying most viruses.

    Key Takeaway

    Disinfectant sprays are beneficial in cleaning our homes and spaces, but they can also be harmful if we use too much of it or use it incorrectly. Disinfectants contain chemicals that can potentially be harmful to us. Keep yourself informed about the risk, proper disposal, and storage of disinfectant sprays to avoid harm to ourselves and the environment. Using less harmful disinfectants such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda are also great options.

    Learn more about COVID-19 here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Michael Henry Wanat

    Respiratory Therapy

    Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Apr 21, 2022

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