The scientists said they were initially shocked by the results. "However, when you think of inhaling small particles from cleaning agents that are meant for cleaning the floor and not your lungs, maybe it is not so surprising after all," they wrote.
They believe the cleaning chemicals irritate the mucous membranes that line the airways, which causes damage. To lower the risk, the British Lung Foundation suggests looking for products that are labeled "allergy friendly" as they have fewer chemicals.
While the researchers acknowledge their study included very few people who did not clean, they said their findings are strong.
"The take-home message of this study is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs," they wrote. "These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfiber cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes.”