Dry-Eye-Friendly Cleaning Products
Last updated: February 2022
As I’ve progressed in my dry eye journey and become a more educated consumer, I’ve begun closely considering the cleaning products that I use in my home. I remember when I was first stumbling upon lists of the possible causes of chronic dry eye. Environmental factors, such as cleaning products, were on those lists.
The impact of cleaning products
I recall reading a journal article about a study involving dry cleaner workers who were exposed to organic solvents like “ethylene perchlorate, tetrachloroethylene, Exxon, and some bleaches and soaps," which are common in the industry and in household products. The study examined the ocular surface of workers who were exposed to these solvents and a control group who were not exposed.1
The results were as follows: “Workers in the dry-cleaning industry exposed to organic solvents are associated with changes in ocular surface and tear film generating irritation symptoms commonly present in evaporative dry eye.” This information alarmed me, as I had never really considered the impact that my cleaning products could have on my eyes.1
Changing what I use
I recently listened to a podcast interview with the founder of the natural cleaning products company Branch Basics. She warned that many supposedly “clean” brands are not really so, and that any products with labels saying “danger” or “warning” or “may cause eye irritation” should not be used in our homes. I went home and looked in my cabinets. Sure enough, those brands I thought were “clean” had labels that read those words, including “may cause eye irritation.”
I proceeded to change out all my household cleaners for Branch Basics’ plant- and mineral-based product, which includes a multi-purpose spray, bathroom cleaner, non-streak spray, handsoap, and laundry detergent, all made from a single concentrate. The starter kit came with refillable bottles and lines for measuring the amount of concentrate and water needed for each application.
Now, I don’t have to worry that what I’m spraying is harming my eyes. I don’t even worry about using gloves, because the concentrate is safe enough to be used as a hand soap. I’ve also traded out my fragrance-laden dryer sheets for wool dryer balls.
Feeling better about my environment
One other purchase I’ve made in an attempt to go natural is my steam cleaner. It has several different attachments, and the week I got it, I went on a steaming spree. I steamed everything: my concrete floors, furniture, mattresses, counter tops, stovetops, showers, trash cans, and toilets. You name it – I steamed it. I love that I can sanitize surfaces using zero chemicals.
Finally, I made the decision to toss my fragrance-burning candles after reading about how the chemicals released into the air when burning these candles can be hormone disruptors. Instead, I purchased some LED candles. Beeswax candles are another clean alternative.
Overall, I feel much better about the environment that I am creating in my home for my optimal health. The products I am using are safe for my eyes, and they are safe for my husband, kids, and pets as well.
Has having dry eye helped you better advocate for yourself?