However, they found no such effect on the lungs of men who did the cleaning as part of their domestic chores or professionally.
The results, even if surprising at first because of the high lung impairment, are justified, believes Svanes - for example, inhaling particles of cleaning agents meant for the household, and not for the lungs is, basically, bad for one's health.
Researchers explain that their study was limited thanks to the small percentage of women who never cleaned, and the small group of men who worked as cleaners who they were able to analyse.
The researchers speculate that the decline in lung function is attributable to the irritation that most cleaning chemicals cause on the mucous membranes lining the airways, which over time results in persistent changes in the airways and airway remodelling.
Some 85 percent of the females reported being the main cleaner at home, while only 46.5 percent of the men reported the same.
"The take home message of this study is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs", Oistein Svanes said.
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Experts say they cause damage to airways, speeding up the decline of our lungs as we age. The women who cleaned at work declined faster still - 3.9 ml per year in FEV1, and 7.1 ml in FVC.
Women who cleaned at home or as work were also more likely to have asthma than those who did not clean. Meanwhile, "cleaning was not significantly associated with lung function decline in men". Researchers looked at data from more than 6,200 people over 20 years. Previous research has found that male lungs are more resistant to damage from various irritants including tobacco smoke and wood dust.
'These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfibre cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes'.
He added that public health officials should strictly regulate cleaning products and encourage producers to develop cleaning agents that can not be inhaled. To lower the risk, the British Lung Foundation suggests looking for products that are labeled "allergy friendly" as they have fewer chemicals.
However, there hasn't been a study to show the effects of the chemicals on healthy subjects, on the long-run.
The study participants were asked several questions - whether they themselves cleaned their house, or worked as professional cleaners, how often they use liquid cleaning products and sprays.