Cleaning your home may seem like a straightforward process, especially if you use the same regular routine to keep things tidy. However, there are some risky cleaning practices that can cause long-term harm to you and your family. In honor of National Safety Month, we want to share five important house cleaning safety tips:
1. When using harmful chemicals, wear rubber gloves.
Some household products contain chemicals which are known to cause immediate damage to your health, including to your skin. Here are some examples of how household cleaning products could harm your skin:
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can cause allergic skin reactions. VOCs are commonly found in dishwashing liquid, fabric softeners, deodorizers, and other cleaning products.
Synthetic fragrances can also cause allergic skin reactions. These are found in most “name brand” cleaning products to make the cleaners smell good. Artificial scents can even be found in cleaning products which are called “unscented,” because they’re added to mask unpleasant chemical smells.
Even gentle cleaning products can cause your skin to dry out or develop dermatitis over time.
Rubber gloves protect your hands and arms from coming into direct contact with harmful chemicals.
2. Always dilute concentrated cleaning products before using them.
Concentrated cleaning products are very environmentally friendly (and budget friendly!) because they require less packaging and can be used over a much longer period of time than regular “name brand” products. They’re called concentrated because the liquid has not been diluted or mixed with water, so it retains its full strength.
Before you ever use any cleaning product, check the label for warnings and instructions. If the label says the formula is concentrated, read the instructions to find out how to dilute the cleaner before using it. Otherwise, the cleaner will be too strong and could cause health problems.
Here’s an example of how to dilute a concentrated cleaner:
When you look at the Sheiner’s Floor Cleaner Concentrate bottle, you can see the word “Concentrate” very clearly on the label.
The bottle also specifies that the cleaner can make 128 gallons of cleaner once you dilute it.
The Sheiners bottle contains 1 gallon of concentrate. This means for every 1 gallon of warm water you use to clean your floors, you should mix in 1/128 gallons (or about 2 tablespoons) of Sheiner’s Floor Cleaner Concentrate into the water.
3. Ventilate each room before, during, and after you clean it.
According to the American Lung Association, breathing in VOCs and other harsh cleaning products can cause:
Irritated eyes or throat
Chronic respiratory problems
Other dangerous, long-term health problems
You can help prevent your family from experiencing these issues by ensuring your home is properly ventilated before, during, and after cleaning time. Open the windows and, if possible, turn on a ceiling fan or exhaust fan to help circulate the air. You can also use a plug-in fan or air purifier if needed.
4. Choose cleaning solutions which are safe for adults, children, pets, and even robot cleaners, if applicable.
Even if you take all the proper precautions to avoid direct contact with harsh cleaning chemicals, your family could still be exposed to the chemicals that remain on your furniture, floors, and in the air. For example, consider what happens if you use toxic carpet cleaner to help steam your carpets: The chemicals are steamed into your carpet, where your kids and pets crawl and play the next day.
Additionally, if you use robot cleaners such as a robotic mop, it’s important to choose products which will avoid damaging the interior and mechanics of the robot.
Sheiner’s cleaning products are all designed to be safe for humans, pets, and robots. Our solutions are enzymatic, meaning they break down stains and odors naturally and quickly. We also use pH-neutral solutions, meaning our cleaners are gentle on all surfaces.
5. Finally, secure cleaning products away from the reach of children and pets.
Even the safest cleaning products can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if your children or pets try to eat or drink them. Always keep cleaning products stored on high shelves, or in locked cabinets that are child- and pet-proof.
If your child does get a hold of cleaning products and ingest them, call the free Poison Control Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 as soon as possible.
For more information about safe cleaning, contact us! We would love to help.