A man uses cleaning products to clean his oven

Your house needs a good cleaning, so you get all your cleaning products and get ready to give your home a good scrub-down. But you can’t help but notice the warning labels on all your cleaning supplies, telling you not to get them in your eyes. How, exactly, can these products hurt you?

How can cleaning agents hurt my eyes?

Cleaning agents, drain cleaners, and oven cleaners are most often alkaline chemicals, which means they have a high pH level. This means these chemical burns are the most dangerous. In many cases, they can severely damage the front of the eye. In the most serious cases, then can cause vision loss or blindness. Even if they don’t damage your vision, they can still cause cornea scars, cataracts, or glaucoma.

Other cleaning agents, like detergents, have a neutral pH balance and are just irritants. While they can be painful if they get in your eyes, they almost never actually damage them.

How do I keep my eyes safe?

If you can, wear safety glasses while using these cleaning agents. Make sure you don’t rub your eyes while you’re cleaning, Also, keep them safely locked away so children can’t get to them and play with them.

How do I get cleaning agents out of my eye?

If you do get cleaning agents in your eyes, especially an alkali-based cleaning agent, you need to immediately flush them out with tap water and rinse them for at least 10 minutes. Make sure to hold your eyelids open to make sure as much of your eye is cleaned as possible. If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them if the water doesn’t flush them out.

Wei Huang, MD, PhD

If you got an alkaline chemical in your eye, go to the doctor or hospital immediately after rinsing your eye, CEENTA Ophthalmologist Wei Huang, MD, PhD, said. Don’t stop washing out your eyes until you leave for the doctor’s. If you can’t get there on your own, call an ambulance. The longer these chemicals are in your eyes, the likelier you’ll sustain serious damage. Make sure to tell the doctor which cleaning agents you got in your eyes, because different chemicals can damage your eyes in different ways.

If you got a small amount of detergent in your eye, wash out your eye. A doctor’s visit might not be necessary, although you may want to call them and let them know what happened. If your eye gets worse, though, a doctor’s visit is warranted.

If you aren’t sure what chemical you got in your eye, play it safe and go to the doctor or hospital.

A clean house is nice to look at, but don’t be so determined to clean it that you damage the part of your body you want to look at it with.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Huang practices in our Huntersville, Statesville, and University offices. To make an appointment with her or any of CEENTA’s eye doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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April 17, 2021

Hi my husband went to work and got bc2000 chemical in his eye by a splash washing dishes can I do anything at home to cure the pain it’s kinda swollen turn pink and it’s hurting him but not as painful it keeps bringing tears to his eyes what can I do to prevent the swelling
- Chyna

April 19, 2021

Good morning. If you are concerned about chemicals in your husband's eye, we strongly recommend visiting an eye doctor. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment at CEENTA, please visit www.ceenta.com/appointments. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 30, 2020

Hi I got antibacterial spray in my eye and it’s itchy and making my eyes water
- Jen

November 30, 2020

Good afternoon. We recommend seeking medical attention for any foreign substance you get in your eye. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 28, 2020

Well I am a teen who was just trying to clean my room with an OXI carpenter cleaner, a little bit of it got in my eyes. It doesn't hurt much, I rinsed my eye out with water and I can still feel that it is still in my eye. what do I do?
- Emya

November 30, 2020

Good morning. We strongly urge you to make an appointment with a doctor so they can examine your eye. If you live in the Charlotte, NC region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 05, 2020

Is it possible to have a delayed effect after chemicals get into my eye? For example, not feeling immediate pain?
- Fiona

November 06, 2020

Good morning. If you got chemicals in your eye and are feeling any pain, it is recommended you see a doctor.
Reply From: CEENTA

September 09, 2019

Hey man! Great post but I really wanted to just ask about your blog. Is this wordpress by chance? I really like the design.
- Jay

September 09, 2019

Good afternoon. We use a custom CMS.
Reply From: CEENTA

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