Cleaning comes with risks: chemicals that are harmful or dangerous, heavy lifting, wet floors, ladders, and more. Did you know unintentional falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury in the US? There are lots of opportunities for injury while cleaning, so learn how to stay safe. Use these cleaning safety tips to protect you and your family while cleaning.
It is a good idea to always use chemical cleaners in a well-ventilated area. Even cleaners that are not commonly known to have dangerous fumes can have strong, potentially irritating odors. Open the windows or turn on a fan to circulate the air and remove as much odor as possible.
Always read the directions and warnings before cleaning with a product. The label instructions should be followed to make sure you use the product correctly and stay safe.
Wear Proper Clothing
Wear clothing that will protect your skin from chemicals. This applies even if you are using natural cleaners. Just because something is naturally-derived doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you. (For example, borax, a common natural cleaner, will irritate your skin after prolonged exposure.) So protect yourself from irritation, rashes, or chemicals burns. Protective clothing could include long pants, long-sleeved shirts, goggles, masks, gloves, and maybe more. Use common sense and avoid direct exposure.
Do Not Mix Chemicals
Mixing household cleaners can be deadly. Here are a few combinations that are definite no-gos:
- Bleach and Vinegar— this will produce toxic chlorine gas
- Bleach and Ammonia—this will produce chloramine vapors
- Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol—this will produce chloroform
- Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar—you can use them separately on the same surface, but combining them in one container will create peracetic acid.
Dispose of Products Appropriately
This is one way people mix chemicals without thinking about it. If you are pouring cleaners down the sink, a good rule of thumb is to run some water in the sink in between getting rid of different chemicals.
Another factor in disposing of products appropriately is deciding if you even should pour them down the drain. Most household cleaners will be water-soluble and are designed to be poured out in the sink. However, some cleaners could be dangerous additions to the water supply and harm the environment. Check the label to see how to properly dispose of the cleaner.
Use Caution in High Places
When cleaning high windows, ceiling fans, chandeliers, etc., remember to place the ladder in a safe even spot on the floor. Never place the ladder on uneven flooring or on top of tables. This could cause the ladder to be off balance and you to fall.
Keep all cleaning products out of children’s reach. Also keep a watchful eye during when you’re actually cleaning. Something as simple as a bucket of water can pose a drowning threat to a small child.
Cleaning requires supplies. When carrying these items up and down on stairs, remember to not carry too many heavy items at a time. Try and keep a hand free to hold onto the railing. Take your time and take a couple of trips if necessary.
Cleaning Safety is Important
Cleaning is important for keeping your family’s home safe and sanitary. However, how you clean is just as important. Cleaning safety should be a priority in your household to ensure that you when you clean you’re doing the most good possible.