Cleaning products : I'm hoping mad... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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Cleaning products


I'm hoping mad social services have arranged a cleaner after other one left after using strong chemicals to clean which left me struggling to breathe now been told she will trial me for a week she is coming one on a Monday for 2 hours I told her I can put up with barcarbonate of soda and a little bit of zoflora and jif the social services women said she hasn't come across someone with last stage stage emphysema who is so particular grrrrrrr I could have screamed the ignorant woman who else cannot put up with strong smells I'm so upset and doesn't help as the cleaner they using is a neighbour my house is untidy and needs a clean bet that fact is around all the healthy neighbours by now

60 Replies

Pollutants in the home do make breathing worse and cleaning products are awful. I hope your cleaner shows some care and compassion for you. After all you just want to breathe.....not too much to ask is it!

Pete doesn’t like strong smells either.

Wishing you well. Xxxx🥰

Itsmeagain1 in reply to sassy59

Thankyou as bkin said it's ignorance as I agree with her I'm absolutely mad to be honest she thinks I'm being fussy well I will try and stack up on what I do use without problems if not good enough that's their problem I will just have to carry on struggling they should be ashamed

Oh dear, no point in getting upset over ignorance, just tell it as you want it, its your house, maybe provide the cleaning products for them, ones that you would use.

I am using mostly ecco friendly cleaning products I find all them ok, I expect a self employed cleaner won't want to run to that expense though unless of course they charge extra when using it.

I can't do vinegar as a cleaner with my lungs but I can do tesco anti bacterial surface wipes :)

Also washing up liquid as a floor cleaner diluted seems quite lung friendly too, tesco has that cheap cherry one for 50p goes a very long way and cuts through grease.

Nice to have a clean home.

Itsmeagain1 in reply to Bkin

I suggested deluting it and the social services said no as it wouldn't be cleaned properly jeez I thought I had the right to protect my lungs yes I am buying the products myself thankyou for the information on products I can use barcarbonate of soda I did tell her that she said we're give it a week if she feels your being too fussy we can't find another cleaner for you charming ay

Bkin in reply to Itsmeagain1

personally I would report her, its your home, your living space and your lungs.

Itsmeagain1 in reply to Bkin

Totally agree she was so rude to me thankyou glad you thought so too

It's A devil to ur lungs, Bkin was talking of all natural cleaning, I don`t think she meant cleaning with no clothes on BUT, I`ll give it a bash (in the summer)

Seriously, Bkin has given good advice as to neutral cleaning products and also, Anew more informed cleaner would help also.

Stay well and be happy. Tom.

Bkin in reply to tomc


Itsmeagain1 in reply to tomc

Thankyou I'll have a read people shouldn't judge if they don't have a lung condition she doesn't but doesn't understand

Itsmeagain1 in reply to tomc


Why not give blf helpline a call they may have some literature they can send you to suport you when you are talking to social services ect they may also be able to suggest some non chemical/ smelly products they can use. As for your house being untidy so what if you could tidy up yourself you wouldent need a cleaner 🙄. I have long given up careing what others think of my home no matter how untidy its mine and they dont have to come in if they dont like it. Real friends dont care. Others dont live your life so thear opinion dosent count😷

Itsmeagain1 in reply to corriena

I know worst still that she's a neighbour like u say if I could do it I wouldn't need anyone just didn't need to be told I'm being unreasonable

corriena in reply to Itsmeagain1

You are not being unreasonable. You are looking after your health

Itsmeagain1 in reply to corriena

Thankyou I will try that

Itsmeagain1 in reply to corriena

Thankyou I think I need to find out what products are non smelly

I know different social services use different criteria etc. But I would be objecting to having a cleaner who is a neighbour. It is totally inappropriate in my opinion. Where I work there are very strict rules about not working with people you know.

Itsmeagain1 in reply to Bevvy

I wasn't happy but she said we have been looking for ages for a cleaner for u that is a lie I contacted them I agree neighbour will be telling everyone what a untidy bungalow I have social service woman in my apinon was out of order

don't fret they don't matter.The nurse came to give me my flu jab today,my house is so untidy my dog peed all over with excitement and i had left my dirty washing lying at the bottom of my stairs,Ah well tomorrow's another day

Oh Itsmeagain1 I feel so much for you. The chemical cleaners are horrible for breathing and are bad for our lungs. I would have been upset had it happened to me. I agree, you should not have a neighbour doing your cleaning and also if you were well you would not need a cleaner. You told her what you can tolerate. I hope they find you someone more considerate for you. x

I use those microfibre cloths with diluted washing up liquid , they work well. I also have microfibre floor mops which can be rinsed and popped in the washing machine . I have a bar of old fashioned household soap too, but the price of that has gone up.Strong chemicals are a no no....the gentle ones that I bought for years seem to have changed formula , now the smell is overpowering .

My asthmatic friend ditched all her cleaning products and uses vinegar and bicarb.

I guess people who don’t have lung problems appreciate how chemicals affect us , and how much effort goes into tidying , how breathless .

Also I keep stuff, books, tissues etc near me as it’s easier, and those pile up.

Suzie42 in reply to knitter

Chemical and natural smells like vinegar all affect me, vinegar makes me gag. The best smells for me to tolerate are lemon, washing up liquid and Zoflora disinfectant 🥴

My condition is much less severe than yours, but even I struggle with many highly scented and strong smelling cleaning products. I use fairy liquid a lot. Good luck with your ongoing arrangements.

I have carers three times a week and part of their job is to help with the cleaning. They use my stuff which is all Ecover or Method products ( all plant based) I am highly sensitive to all chemical smells. Dont put up with this any longer!

I use eco friendly , never spray anything just pour some on surface and wipe with clean cloth. You have to protect your lungs and do what is best for you. I find that ‘smells’ no matter how nice was one of my triggers for asthma /copd . Your social services should be thoroughly ashamed. Surfaces do have to be cleaned for safety of all, but I’m sure there can be a way to do this without it affecting your lungs. Ask for a review. Good luck !

That makes me cross! It's alright for her then! Of course strong smells are going to irritate our lungs . They are fumes. Get that woman educated! Bleach takes my breath away . I dyed my hair recently and had to stand outside cos I couldn't breath for fumes.

In our house we do not use any sprays,no flowers, no strong bleach ( a little on a cloth )

Glad it's not just me. god did I have a kick off with something last night I've definitely got a infection funny enough both paramedics last night couldn't hear me wheezing I was told to take steroids this morning can I find the ones that replaced accord when they discontinued nope now I've got to hope doctors from 111 can get me some by tommorrow I explained I don't get on very well with my doctor's so don't think they are going to be very happy with me our doc patient relationship really strained I told paramedics they won't come out they were not impressed

That is so much to cope with and So difficult for you. I wonder if your neighbour really knows how unwell you are as she has just been assigned to you by social services who may not have done that very well. ( given what you said in your post)

The reason you need a cleaner is because you can’t do it but don’t like a dirty house. Could you maybe refer to that when you next see her. Perhaps if she knows that she will be more sympathetic to the chemical reactions that you have. It can be a gentle learning experience for her also and she might’ve able to think of ways to help reduce the chemicals Someone else referred to micro cloths and I have found them great. I was introduced to them by a Eco cleaning group who don’t use toxic chemical cleaners.

I do hope that you can sort this and that you find a positive way forward with your neighbour./cleaner.

Best wishes.

Only time will tell I am waiting for clinicnition from 111 to ring back hopefully with a way for me to get steroid tablets today wish me luck I didn't want to go to hospital at 1am this morning took ambulance a hour to get here first thing he said was what did u think phoning 111 was doing to do for u tonight jeez what did he think I wanted a check up and if necessary meds my sats were 94 on resting 84 walking to kichen and back no oxegen or nebuliser offered

It’s so hard when you are unwell in the night. I hope that you hear from the clinician soon and perhaps next week you can ask your GP about a plan for times like you have just experienced.

Best wishes.

Thankyou take care

Omg ! I can’t believe this ! Surely people going into the home of someone with a serious condition should be trained in the dos and donts ? I used to work in a care home and went on numerous courses to learn about this sort of thing ( and I was the activity coordinator not the cleaner - every employee in care homes has to be trained in this sort of thing ) it should be the same with home care ! My husband is in exactly the same position as you and we are very very careful with products - no aerosols, no perfumes and I only ever wet dust if I didn’t his condition would be far worse . I would take this further if I were you it really does beggar believe 🙈

Hello Itsmeagain1, I understand what you are saying as certain chemicals make my lung condition worse, I worked for social services and they changed the sprays for cleaning ovens ect when I worked in Dementia services. However in your case if social services are supplying the staff it is upto you the customer to define what your needs are not their office especially where cleaning materials are concerned. Some domestics don't like using bleach but it is an all round germ killer in this current virus situation. You could of course complain to social services as is your right. People coming in your home are supposed to be disability aware these days .

Thankyou for you reply no I'm supplying cleaning products I'm ok with jif barcarbonate of soda just nothing strong see what happens I can't afford anymore breathing problems especially as I've already explained to them be mindful of strong smells around me I wish the social services woman was more sympathetic guess she doesn't do sympathy

Its a case of one rule suits all with some staff who work for the government. Disability gives you the right to ask for it to be done as what is best for you. Some people just don't care and are not sympathetic, fortunately not everyone is like that. Fingers crossed all goes well on Monday with the changes.

I can only say what I can put up with its the same with meds we have a serious lung condition yet expected to take new meds on our own my doctor nor my copd nurse will either come in or let me take new meds in surgery she says it's dangerous but me here on my own taking them isn't hmmmm interesting it's scary am I the only one who thinks that

I understand your concerns, the last time the nurse changed my meds for my lungs I ended up at the hospital when I took them. They should not have been prescribed according to patient leaflet. When I was in Hospital in October they just changed my drugs without even explaining why or asking if I was allergic ect. This is what we prescribe you will have to take them. Do you have drug allergies ?, I do but makes no difference apparently. To send people home two days after major surgery with no care ect is not good either but that's how it is now. I do share your sentiments as I have lived alone now for 17 years.

Bless u you have been through the wars as well by the sounds of it yes I'm allergic to penicillin and metronidazole really ruff with them two I'll speak to copd nurse sometime when she's not busy or her diary isn't full wish me luck u take care of yourself as well

Every best wish when you try to get the nurse to listen to you . Let us know how you get on please. Bye for now.

Thankyou I will speak soon

Well Social Sevices are the same wherever you live.They have not a clue big mistake sending a neighbour into you unless she is a friend.

So starters boot her and get someone who is into the environement.

I suggest you go to the local school see the enviremental teacher and ask her if they can help.

Worth a try but up to you

Anyway all the best

Good idea I didn't know I could approach someone from school I'll look into that thankyou for that suggestion she will be clued up brilliant suggestion thankyou

I’m seriously not surprised at how angry and distraught you must be. I appreciate that things can be overlooked, but this is your health. Effects of unexpected exposures to irritants can last for months for some people who are sensitive. Fighting for your breath is no fun and can lead to further issues and complications down the line. I would stock up on the things you can safely use and insist on them being the only items available to your cleaner. I cannot cope with any non toxic cleaning products at home because the effects are incredibly profound and have been downright scary in the past and I’m terrified of it happening again, so I really do see and appreciate where you are coming from.

Itsmeagain1 in reply to Jandm

Thankyou I hope that never happens to you again I have had kickoffs and no it's not funny it is like you say damm right scary trying to get that breathe and today I'm back on steroids after paramedics came out last night yay take care of yourself

Jandm in reply to Itsmeagain1

I hope you have a speedy recovery and the steroids are now taking effect. Some people will never understand the impact that these daily products have on others. Stay safe

Itsmeagain1 in reply to Jandm

Thankyou being as I'm taking 4 as directed instead of normal dose recovery will take long on the steroids as I didn't want another problem like I did with ones I had before which are same ones I have now in a different packet like u say people do not seem to understand

Jandm in reply to Itsmeagain1

When people respond with ‘I can barely smell anything’ it’s as if it’s all in your head, it’s like saying to someone that they can barely taste the peanuts. Asthma can be much more than an can be life threatening

Itsmeagain1 in reply to Jandm

I'm last stage emphysemic not asthmatic now treating another episode of copd sob back on steroids so struggling a bit

Jandm in reply to Itsmeagain1

I’ve got bronchiectasis, severe asthma and TBM. Any of that little trio can kick off at the slightest thing and can sometimes take a while to present it’s full force....oh and I sure know when that happens! Life can be difficult enough, but you shouldn’t have to explain yourself to exhaustion in your own home as to what products you want and need using in what is or should be your safe environment. I genuinely feel for you and completely understand your situation

Itsmeagain1 in reply to Jandm

But agree it can life threatening and scary only people on this site understand glad somebody does but we need help from doctors and health professionals too

Aerosol sprays are a big no no for me and these days I struggle with anything perfumed. I'm ok with flowers, but it's the chemical perfumes that do me in.

I use a Pledge Fluffy Duster to pick up the dust - works pretty well as the dust sticks to it and then you throw away the duster and put a new on on the plastic handle which is extendable - ideal for high and low dusting. They are lemon scented but it's not strong and goes off quite quickly. They are also quick and easy to use which may suit your cleaner!

Kitchen cleaning is a bit more awkward. When we re-did our kitchen a few years ago we had these stupid worktops installed that were supposed to be 'easy care'. When the fitters left, they handed over a bottle of special polish, microfibre cloths and a DVD to show how to care for them!!! You can't use normal cleaners on them and I have to buy the stuff on Amazon. It is scented, but not too bad, however, I am lucky to have a husband who does the surfaces for me when I am out of the way.

In the bathroom and loo I have found that Cif Power and Shine is ok to use with the windows open and for the floors I use the Flash mop with disposable wipes which you bin after using.

I use bleach for the loos and kitchen sinks. Washing up liquid works on the cooker top and I pay a man to clean the inside of my oven once a year. He does a great job and, as I don't do much open roasting these days, once a year keeps it just about ok.

My cleaning is probably not very eco friendly, but using these products makes cleaning manageable and with open windows they work for me.

We all have to find things that we can tolerate so your Social Services lady is bang out of order expecting you to put up with cleaning products in your home that make your condition worse. Someone has suggested getting some written info from BLF to strengthen your position and I think that sounds like an excellent idea. If you can put it all in writing, that might also help. If you continue to have a problem, try enlisting the help of your MP. Managers don't like them getting involved and just a letter from them will often resolve an issue!

Good luck! xx Moy

Itsmeagain1 in reply to MoyB

Thankyou I just wish someone in social services gets educated I mean she thinks I'm particular or fussy what a stupid ignorant company to make well if it doesn't work out with your neighbour and somehow I don't think it will her house is immaculate so she says she must of thought how can she live like this it's easy I'm I'll and can't do it and if I find out I'm the talk of the neighbourhood I will be educating everyone else around here that know I'm I'll and hasn't asked me if f I need anything one neighbour does cut my lawn recently and picks up my meds after the 7 th ambulance turned up here in the last 2 years amazing how blind people can be I only contacted social services as it was unfair to ask my son to help clear up after finishing work 16 hrs a day he works and my daughter works in end of care in a care home with this virus she is weekly tested but has to be mindful around me well I'm shopping today steroids hopefully kicking in so I can do something for cleaner is get products I can tolerate can't see her lasting to be honest we're see

MoyB in reply to Itsmeagain1

Fingers crossed she will have some sense and stick to what you want her to use. I don't think it's right that someone who lives so near has been allocated to do your cleaning but I suppose if they don't have anyone else, there may be no choice. However, if you DO find she's telling others all your business, you should report it as a breach of confidentiality. xx

Itsmeagain1 in reply to MoyB

Don't worry I will I'd be totally honest with her and say I'm your client your working for me she wouldn't like it if it was the other way around I will have that conversation I have too but social services were contacted by me at least 4 times for the last 9 months saying I needed help I don't believe with all the cleaning company's around here that's all they can find and for the daughter of the cleaning company to say I'm not sure if we can help her if she is not willing to use the products the cleaner needs to use I wasn't impressed going behind my back like that they didn't say a word to me at my home I'll let u know what happens



Hi I totally agree with you. I can’t stand any cleaning stuff which smells it affects my breathing really badly. Even visitors who wash their clothes in strong smelling washing powder or fabric softener affect me really badly as does perfume. I definitely would report her in the strongest possible terms for being rude and for saying you are being too fussy. I would write a letter and suggest they train their supervisors and cleaners about lung disease. I am disgusted with her attitude. I hope you find someone who helps you. Barbs x

I can't tolerate those things either , 😥

Saw this tweet from BLF and thought of you. Good luck I hope it works out for you.

Itsmeagain1 in reply to Mooka

Thankyou very much

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