Cleaning Services

Why Aged Care Cleaning Should Prioritise Non-Toxic Cleaning Products


As we age, our bodies become more sensitive to chemicals and toxins. The elderly often have weakened immune systems and pre-existing health conditions that make them especially vulnerable to the effects of harsh cleaning products. This is why it is critical for aged care facilities to use non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaners.

Conventional cleaning products contain a cocktail of harmful ingredients like ammonia, bleach, formaldehyde, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When inhaled or absorbed through the skin, these chemicals can irritate the eyes, throat and lungs. They have been linked to headaches, dizziness, asthma attacks, and other respiratory problems.

The dangers are amplified in confined indoor spaces like aged care facilities. Toxic fumes linger in the air and accumulate on surfaces over time. Residents are exposed daily, putting them at risk of developing chronic illnesses or having their existing conditions exacerbated.

Switching to non-toxic cleaners is an easy way for aged care facilities to protect the health of their vulnerable residents. Here’s why it should be a top priority:

Reduces Respiratory Problems

Studies show that conventional cleaning products irritate the sensitive respiratory systems of the elderly. Coughing, breathlessness, wheezing, and chest tightness have all been reported after exposure.

Non-toxic cleaners made from plant-based ingredients like essential oils pose no such risks. With natural options, aged care facilities can maintain air quality and minimise breathing issues.

Prevents Chemical Sensitivity

Prolonged use of chemical cleaners makes people more sensitive over time. The elderly often develop multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and have severe reactions to toxins. Headaches, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness become common when they are near conventional cleaners.

Natural cleaners help prevent this chemical sensitivity. With non-irritating formulations, facilities can use cleaners frequently without triggering negative health effects.

Lowers Risk of Asthma Attacks

Asthma is more prevalent in those over the age of 65. Chemical cleaners are known as asthma triggers. They cause inflammation in the airways and make breathing difficult during attacks.

Non-toxic cleaners have no harsh fumes or ingredients linked to asthma. By eliminating respiratory irritants, aged care facilities can help minimise asthma flare-ups.

Improves Indoor Air Quality

VOCs from chemical cleaners linger in the air long after use. When inhaled, they can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation along with headaches and dizziness. Ventilation helps but does not completely remove toxins.

Non-toxic cleaners break down quickly without any lasting air pollution. Residents and staff can breathe easier knowing the air is free of harsh chemicals.

Prevents Skin Irritation

Spills and splashes happen, especially when cleaning. Conventional cleaners contain detergents and solvents that dry out and irritate aged skin on contact. The effects range from redness and itching to cracked, painful skin.

Natural cleaners are formulated from plant oils and extracts that are gentle on hands and skin. Elders can assist with cleaning tasks without fear of skin irritation.

Reduces Fall Risks

Toxic cleaners leave slippery residues and vapors that linger in the air. Elders often shuffle or use mobility aids like walkers and canes. Slip hazards dramatically increase their chances of falling and being injured.

Non-toxic cleaners do not leave greasy films or vapors behind. With reduced slippery surfaces, aged care facilities can lower fall risks and keep residents safe.

Safe For All Residents and Staff

Those with allergies or sensitivities suffer most from harsh cleaning chemicals. But even healthy residents and staff are affected by repeated exposure over time. Natural cleaners provide a non-toxic solution that is safe for everyone.

No special precautions or personal protective equipment (PPE) are needed either. Employees can clean freely without the headaches, nausea or breathing issues caused by toxic fumes.

Environmentally Friendly

Conventional cleaners contain compounds that are not biodegradable. They pollute waterways and put aquatic life at risk. Many ingredients are also derived from non-renewable resources like petroleum.

Non-toxic cleaners are made from plant-based, renewable ingredients that break down quickly without harming the environment. Aged care facilities can adopt greener practices and reduce their environmental footprint.


High turnover of residents, staff, and cleaning providers makes consistent cleaning difficult in aged care facilities. Frequent retraining on proper use of toxic products becomes expensive and time-consuming.

Non-toxic cleaners are safe for anyone to use with minimal training. They allow facilities to cut back on retraining costs and stay within tight budgets.

Improves Cleaning Compliance

Staff often skip cleaning steps or use too little product to minimise exposure to harsh chemicals. But this leads to poor disinfection and puts residents at risk.

With non-toxic solutions, cleaners feel comfortable using sufficient products for proper cleaning. Facilities can be confident all areas are hygienically cleaned without cutting corners.

Enhances Quality of Life

Chemical sensitivity causes elders to feel unwell and become withdrawn. Toxic cleaners also create an institutional, unpleasant environment. This negatively impacts mood and quality of life.

Non-toxic cleaners create a fresh, inviting atmosphere without triggering health issues. Residents can focus on meaningful activities and social connections instead of avoiding areas with lingering toxic fumes.

The Bottom Line

Aged care facilities have a responsibility to protect vulnerable elders in their care, many with already fragile health. Adopting safe, non-toxic cleaners improves air quality, minimises health risks, and creates a clean, pleasant environment for residents.

The benefits extend to staff as well. With natural cleaners, employees no longer have to choose between their health and doing their job properly. Facilities also avoid high retraining and compliance costs. It’s a change that benefits all parties and enables quality care.

As our understanding grows about the impacts of toxins and pollution, more aged care providers are making the switch to eco-friendly cleaners. It is no longer an expensive “nice-to-have” but a necessary standard of care. The health and well-being of our elders depend on it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Non-Toxic Cleaners in Aged Care:

Why are harsh cleaners dangerous for the elderly?

Elders often have weakened immune systems and pre-existing health conditions. Toxic chemicals like bleach and ammonia irritate the lungs and airways, exacerbating respiratory issues. Prolonged exposure also increases the risks of asthma attacks, chemical sensitivities, and chronic illnesses.

What are the main health benefits of natural cleaners?

Non-toxic cleaners create better indoor air quality with no lingering chemical vapours. Irritants are eliminated, minimising breathing issues and risks of chemical sensitivity. Skin inflammation from contact is also reduced. Overall, natural cleaners promote better health.

How do non-toxic cleaners create a better environment?

Toxic cleaners leave gross chemical residues and odours that create an institutional atmosphere. Natural cleaners leave behind a clean, light scent for a fresh, inviting environment. Elders are more relaxed and comfortable.

Do natural cleaners disinfect as well as conventional cleaners?

Yes, plant-based cleaners are highly effective at disinfecting when used properly. Our team Holy Cross Cleaning use powerful citrus extracts and oils that kill germs without toxins. Facilities stay just as clean and hygienic.

What are some top examples of non-toxic cleaners?

Look for plant-based ingredients like citric acid, lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils, and bio-enzymes. Our team Holy Cross Cleaning offer effective natural cleaners for aged care facilities looking to protect elder health.

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