What Is Ammonia And How Does It Impact Me?

Empty chemistry bottles against blue background

Written by: Syed Naqvi, Head of Product Development + Innovation @Blueland

Ammonia is a common ingredient in household and commercial cleaners. Ammonia is a very strong chemical that can be corrosive. It’s used to disinfect household and commercial surfaces. It’s a powerful chemical, but the strength of the chemical comes with some negative health risks you should be aware of. We will give you the facts on ammonia and explain why at Blueland, we keep ammonia out of our cleaning products. 

What Is Ammonia?

In its natural state, ammonia is a gas with a strong odor. Ammonia is primarily used in fertilizer, but it is also used in cleaning products in the form of ammonia hydroxide. Ammonia hydroxide is gaseous ammonia dissolved in water. In household cleaners, cleaners containing ammonia are usually made from 5-10% ammonia. Commercial cleaners can have up to 25% ammonia in cleaning solutions. Ammonia is a fast-drying chemical and is especially common in glass and mirror cleaners. Though ammonia is found in a lot of traditional cleaning products, it does have some serious health risks associated with it.

How Can Ammonia Impact Me?

Ammonia is known to cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract. Ammonia exposure can come from inhaling or touching ammonia. It is very easy to come into contact with ammonia when you are using it to clean your surfaces. If you touch your eyes or spill the cleaner or inhale the cleaner in a closed room, you are at risk for irritations. If ammonia is ingested, it can cause more serious harm. Swallowing ammonia can cause burns inside the mouth and throat. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia can cause burns, so when you are cleaning with ammonia you have to be especially careful.

If you choose to clean with ammonia, it is recommended that you only clean in a well-ventilated area to reduce the risk of you inhaling concentrated amounts of the chemical. You should also be careful to avoid touching your skin, eyes or mouth while you are cleaning, so that you don’t further irritate your eyes or accidentally ingest some of the chemical. When cleaning with ammonia you have to be very careful not to cross-contaminate your ammonia solutions with other cleaning solutions. Chemical reactions between ammonia and other chemicals can cause the chemicals to form toxic gasses. For example, if ammonia is mixed with chlorine bleach it will create toxic chloramine vapor.

Environmental Impacts Of Ammonia

Ammonia does not just cause negative effects to human health. It can be toxic to our environment as well. When cleaning solutions containing ammonia are washed down the drain, they can find their way into our waterways. Ammonia can be very toxic to our aquatic life, so we should avoid washing ammonia down the drain whenever possible. When Ammonia gas is released into the air, it can also cause harm to our environment. Gaseous ammonia can pollute our air and harm vegetation.

Ammonia can cause harm to our bodies and our environment. That’s why at Blueland we did not include ammonia in any of our cleaning products.

Blueland’s Ammonia-Free Products

At Blueland, all of our products are safe for use at home. Our cleaning solutions do not contain any ammonia. We only used ingredients from the EPA Safer Chemical Ingredients List and we do not use any chemicals on the Prop 65 banned chemicals list. Our products are effective, affordable and safe with our non-toxic formulations. When tested by independent third-party labs, our cleaners were proven to clean effectively when tested alongside major brands.

The Clean Essentials

The perfect way to start cutting out single-use plastic from your home