Should you be concerned if Inhaled Lysol During Pregnancy?

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It is natural to worry about your baby when pregnant. And if you have inhaled Lysol during pregnancy and are worried about its impact on your baby’s well-being, we have explained the potential risks of exposure to Lysol and what you can do to protect yourself.

Unfortunately, cleaning does not stop even when you are pregnant. While most cleaning products have a small amount of chemicals, you still need to avoid cleaning with certain household cleaners.

Certain toxic chemicals in skin care products, cleaning products, air fresheners, or paint can cause pregnancy complications like low birth weight, pre-term birth, or respiratory issues in babies in later life.

Exposure to cleaning spray, air freshener, and solvents during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of wheezing and infections in infants.

So, it is normal to worry about well being of your baby if you have accidentally inhaled Lysol, bleach, Oxiclean, or other harsh cleaners during pregnancy. But take solace in knowing that babies aren’t that fragile.

cleaning surface with spray bottle and hand with gloves wit text - inhaled Lysol during pregnancy

If you have accidentally inhaled Lysol during cleaning or cleaned with Lysol without wearing gloves, it is unlikely to cause any harm to you or your baby as long as you are not experiencing any symptoms. This is because the concentration of toxic chemicals in Lysol is very low to cause immediate harm. And no studies show any harmful long-term outcome for the mother exposed to Lysol or other cleaning products during pregnancy.

Now, let’s look at how Lysol works and what happens if you have inhaled Lysol during pregnancy.

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What is Lysol?

Lysol is a very popular cleaning product in American households. And it is even more popularised and widely used during global pandemics owing to its ability to quickly clean and disinfect household surfaces.  

From Lysol all-purpose cleaner, Lysol disinfectant spray, and Lysol disinfectant wipes to Lysol toilet bowl cleaner; you will find one or all Lysol cleaning products in almost every household.

But what you don’t realize is how toxic it is when you come in contact with it. Several chemicals in Lysol products are lung, eye, and skin irritants.

Let’s look at the active ingredients in the Lysol cleaning product.

What makes Lysol unsafe to use during Pregnancy?

One of the active ingredients in Lysol products is phenol. Phenol is an antiseptic and disinfectant widely used in cleaning products. It is active against a wide variety of microorganisms, including fungi and viruses.

The distinct chemical smell of Lysol products is due to the phenol component. Phenol is highly irritating to the eye, skin, and mucous membrane after short-term inhalation or direct skin contact in humans.

Short-term inhalation of phenol may cause irregular breathing, muscle weakness, tremors, loss of coordination, coughing, wheezing, or nausea in a certain individual. You may see these symptoms aggravated during pregnancy due to higher sensitivity.

Phenol is also highly toxic if accidentally ingested. In addition, animal studies have shown growth retardation, abnormal development of offspring, and reduced fetal body weight of animals exposed to phenol by oral route.

Long-term exposure to cleaning products containing phenol has been shown in research studies to cause liver and kidney damage.

Lysol cleaning product also contains denatured ethanol, which is poisonous to humans. Acute exposure to denatured ethanol can cause respiratory tract irritation, headache, coughing, dizziness, drowsiness, and shortness of breath.

Another active ingredient in Lysol cleaning products is ammonium hydroxide. It is the main ingredient in Lysol toilet cleaner, oven cleaner, and multi-surface cleaner. It actively breaks down stains and grimes, so it works well for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. However, it is potent skin, respiratory, and eye irritant. Direct contact with skin can cause a severe burn and cell damage, and higher exposure through inhalation can cause pulmonary edema.

Most of the Lysol products are available as a spray. And using spray cleaning product increases your chance of inhaling toxic chemicals while cleaning. So, it is important to avoid Lysol spray products when pregnant. Because if you breathe or swallow some chemicals, they can enter your bloodstream and reach your baby via the placenta.

Also, Lysol cleaning products are dangerously poisonous for cats as they don’t have the ability to process alcohol and phenol in the liver. So, those with cats in their household should avoid using Lysol cleaning products.

What happens if you have Inhaled Lysol during pregnancy?

If you have used Lysol spray type of cleaning product while cleaning the washroom or kitchen during pregnancy, you may experience immediate coughing or wheezing as you breathe in the aerosol.

The sudden burst of aerosol from a spray bottle may cause immediate respiratory symptoms, but as soon as you get some fresh air, the symptoms will go away.

The concentration of toxic chemicals in household cleaning products is not high enough to cause immediate harm for short-term exposure.

But if you are exposed to the large quality Lysol cleaning product for the long term, it can cause pre-term birth, pregnancy loss, asthma, or wheezing in an infant or baby’s later life.

Following exposure to Lysol, contact your doctor immediately if you feel shortness of breath or any other symptoms that do not go away after getting some fresh air.

Certain evidence has shown that using cleaning sprays during pregnancy may increase the risk of wheezing and infection in infants.

However, more studies are warranted to clearly understand the relationship between chemical exposure during pregnancy and the risk of developing wheezing or asthma in the baby.

What can you do if you Inhale Lysol during Pregnancy?

If you inhaled Lysol while cleaning, you first need to go out and get some fresh air.

Once you feel better, you can go inside and open the windows to let the fresh air circulate through your house and clear out the chemical smell. You can also turn the exhaust fan on to clean the chemical smell.

You must contact your medical professional immediately if you don’t feel well after getting fresh air.

Direct exposure to Lysol on the skin can cause drying, irritation, defatting, and dermatitis. It can also cause redness and cracking of the skin.

If you have used Lysol wipes without gloves, wash your hand immediately with soap and water. Using Lysol wipes on bare hands does not cause immediate harm, but the longer it is in contact with skin, it increases the chances of chemicals reacting with skin and causing skin irritation.

In case of direct skin contact with Lysol, wash your hand thoroughly with soap and water and apply a natural moisturizer.  

Can smelling Lysol affect pregnancy?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, prenatal exposure to spray cleaning solution may increase the risk of asthma or wheezing in the infant.

So, avoiding Lysol spray or aerosol cleaner during pregnancy is best. If you want to use spray cleaner during pregnancy, ensure to ventilate the room well and wear mask and glove before spraying the Lysol for cleaning.

Also, avoid frequent use of spray or aerosol cleaners during pregnancy. Instead, use natural cleaning products if you are deep cleaning during pregnancy.

Here are some of the safer natural cleaning products that do an excellent job of cleaning.

All-purpose Cleaner

Seventh Generation Lemongrass Citrus Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner

Mrs. Meyers All-Purpose Cleaner

Method All-Purpose Cleaner Spray

Surface Scrubber (Good for bathroom and kitchen)

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Surface Scrub Lavender

Baking soda

Floor Cleaner

Babyganics Floor Cleaner Concentrate

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface cleaner concentrate

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Seventh Generation Toilet Cleaner

Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Laundry Detergent

Molly’s Suds laundry detergent

Seventh Generation Free Clear Laundry Packs

Grab Green Bleach Alternative Pods

Woolzies Wool dryer balls

Dish soap

Babyganics Dish Liquid           

Dr. Bronner’s pure baby unscented soap


Household cleaners have a very low amount of chemicals to cause any immediate harm. So, If you have accidentally inhaled Lysol during pregnancy or cleaned with Lysol wipes without gloves, you do not need to worry about it.

But avoid the use of harsh cleaners on an everyday basis as whatever you inhale or put on your body gets absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches your baby.

Many natural cleaners are available in the market if you want to deep clean your house before your baby arrives. And if you’re going to clean with Lysol or other harsh chemicals like bleach for one time, I highly recommend wearing a mask, gloves, or PPE and opening a window for air circulations.

Good luck, Mama!!

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