A third of Americans surveyed engaged in risky cleaning behaviors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some have even gargled with bleach.

This illustration photo shows a bottle of Clorox bleach in Culver City, California, on April 24, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Top White House coronavirus advisor Deborah Birx shrank in horror and around the nation comedians sharpened their pens: President Donald Trump had just asked if virus victims couldn't be injected with disinfectant. Even as a new poll shows most Americans wish the former real estate magnate would leave science to the experts, Trump on April 23 evening hit a new high in the annals of amateur presidential doctoring. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)
This illustration photo shows a bottle of Clorox bleach in Culver City, California, on April 24, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Top White House coronavirus advisor Deborah Birx shrank in horror and around the nation comedians sharpened their pens: President Donald Trump had just asked if virus victims couldn't be injected with disinfectant. Even as a new poll shows most Americans wish the former real estate magnate would leave science to the experts, Trump on April 23 evening hit a new high in the annals of amateur presidential doctoring. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images) (Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) -- Americans are putting their health at risk while trying to protect it.

About a third of Americans surveyed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have used some kind of risky cleaning practice to stop the spread of Covid-19, the CDC said on Friday.

People have put bleach their food. Others have gargled or inhaled it. And some have washed their bodies with household cleaning and disinfectant products.

None of this cleaning behavior is recommended by the CDC. But this gap in understanding how to safely clean and handle cleaning products during the Covid-19 pandemic may explain why there's been a sharp increase in the number of calls to poison centers during the pandemic.

The new research, published Friday in the CDC's weekly health report, was based on an online panel survey of 502 adults in May of this year.

People said they were cleaning more frequently because of the pandemic, but only about half said that they really knew how to clean and disinfect their home safely. And of those people who were surveyed that acknowledged that they used high-risk cleaning practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19, more were likely to report health problems related to cleaning.

The biggest problem area was people's limited understanding about how to prepare cleaning solutions. Only 23% knew, for instance, to use only room temperature water to dilute bleach solutions.

People were better about using gloves and other protective equipment.