Cleaning products, detergents, and household chemicals and their health risk

In Slovakia, almost 4,000 people yearly get poisoned, half of the cases are children. According to the statistics of the National toxicology information centre (NTIC), one of the most common cases is poisoning by cleaning compounds.


The poisoning is caused by poisoned toxins that can harm the organs and cause death. Detergents' toxins can enter by inhalation, swallowing or through skin and mucosa. The course of the poisoning depends on its intensity and duration.

Watch out for dangerous detergents and chemicals

Some of the detergents might be harmful to us. They are dangerous especially for small children, who don't realize their toxicity. You should keep them out of their reach.


The most common detergent poisoning is from chloride, acetone, toluene and foamy based substances. Foamy detergents (soaps, shampoos, and washing detergents) are harmless, though you can still have problems after inhaling them.

Kids specialty - laundry detergents

Liquid capsules, for example, Ariel 3in1 Pods, prevent you from direct contact with the washing liquid itself. Though, they can still be dangerous, especially when you have small kids. Kids can swallow the capsule and get poisoned. The washing powder has an irritating effect on the skin and mucosa. In case of swallowing, you should rinse your mouth with a small amount of water, because the washing powder is foaming.

Unpleasant detergents

Saponite detergents can cause diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting, which can be dangerous in case you inhale the foam into your lungs. In case of poisoning give the person a little bit of water or medicine containing simethicone.

Detergents with irritating and acrid effects

The detergents with irritating and acrid effects are the following:


  • disinfectants containing ammonium
  • polishing compounds containing petrol, oils, and dyes
  • degreasers and sediment removers with potassium hydroxide
  • descalers with strong acrid acids


After poisoning with these detergents contact your doctor, emergency line or NTIC.

What to do in case of detergent poisoning

In case of the poisoning of one of the above-mentioned detergents, prevent the affected person from vomiting - they could harm the mucous or cause toxins entering the lungs. We recommend you rinse your mouth with a bit of water and seek medical help.


In case of contact with skin and eyes wash the affected area with mild water for at least 15 minutes. Never use a strong water stream.


The best you can do is contact the emergency line. It differs from country to country so always check the emergency service number of the state, you are currently in. The emergency line 112 is available in nearly all EU states and several other countries in the world.


In Slovakia you can call these numbers:


  • 112
  • NTIC phone number operating during workdays until 15:30: 02/ 5477 4166 and 0911 166 066
  • NTIC emergency phone number operating after 15:30 and during weekends: 02/ 5477 4166


You are required to give the following information:


  • name, personal identification number, and insurance provider of a poisoned person
  • the substance that caused poisoning
  • how poisoning happened
  • given first aid
  • the time of poisoning


In case you are going to the hospital, take the detergent with you so the doctor can see its structure.


Prevention is always better than cure. We recommend you always check the safety notes on the back of the product. We hope that you will never need this information, but in case someone gets poisoned, we hope this article will be helpful for you.



Text: Denisa Dee


Cover photo by congerdesign from Pixabay

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