Harmful Cleaning Products: How to Keep Your Kids and Pets Safe

kids pets keep safe harmful cleaning products

Detergents, window cleaners, furniture polish, disinfectants, floor cleaners, bleach – you’ve probably got a variety of jugs and spray bottles in your cleaning arsenal. And if you think about it, all those harmful cleaning products practically turn your broom closet into somewhat of a chemical lab.

But remember those safety precautions you learned in high school chemistry class? They’ll keep you and your family safe, too.

Read that label

As we go about our household chores, it’s easy to forget that we may be working with some pretty heavy-duty chemicals. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to the labels on your cleaning products.

If you see “Caution,” “Poison,” “Warning,” “Toxic” or “Danger,” be extra careful when storing these items. Never remove labels from cleaning products, as they usually have important information about how to deal with accidental exposure or ingestion.

And never pour cleaning products into unlabelled bottles or beverage containers — it could mean the difference between life and death.

Storing cleaning products

Each year in Canada, an estimated 900 children under 14 are hospitalized due to unintentional poisonings. Roughly 70% of all child poisonings occur between the ages of one and five. Most of these incidents are caused by unsafe storage practices.

Harmful cleaning products, medications and chemicals should be stored out of the reach of children and pets. That’s a no-brainer, right? But consider that dishwashing detergent — which most of us store under the kitchen sink for quick access — accounts for more than any other accidental poisoning.

Those newfangled detergent pods present even more of a danger since they look like a sweet treat to a toddler. So, make sure those products are up on a shelf, too, or install childproof latches on low cupboard doors to keep your pre-schoolers and fur babies out of harm’s way.

And if you keep seriously hazardous materials in the house, such as pesticides, it’s best keep them locked up.

Safety rules for cleaning supplies
  • Always ensure that harmful cleaning products are properly closed and stored safely
  • Keep laundry and dish detergents stored on high shelves, out of the reach of children and pets
  • Install childproof latches on under–the-sink cabinets where cleaning materials may be stored
  • When finished cleaning, always dispose of rags, paper towels and scrubbing utensils properly
  • Read the instructions on the label of the product for what to do in case of an emergency
  • Keep a First-Aid kit handy that includes the emergency numbers for your doctor, nearest hospital and poison control centre
  • Think twice about what you’re pouring down the sink — it gets into the environment eventually

Most importantly, it may be time to take stock of your harmful cleaning products and choose greener, less toxic alternatives.

Contact us today to find our how your organization can benefit from green cleaning and sustainable practices. We care about clean — and your safety.

 

 

Keep a lid on it: Why you need to pay attention to roof maintenance

roof maintenance

Sometimes it feels like there’s an endless to-do list when maintaining a building or a house. Some of the upkeep can be put off until later. But roof maintenance is one of the tasks that needs to be top priority — especially with our Canadian climate.

Heavy snowfalls, spring thaws and rain, scorching summer heat and leaf-clogged eaves troughs in autumn can wreak havoc on any roof if you’re not paying attention.

So, what’s the big deal?

Your roof may be out of sight but keep it top of mind when thinking about risk management. What may not seem like a big deal can rapidly escalate into a major headache and cause significant business disruption, as well as health issues for your staff and customers.

Don’t wait until you see water dripping inside your facility. You can avoid costly repair bills by taking a pro-active approach toward your building’s exterior surfaces.

What to look for

First off, let’s talk about puddles – fun for kids to splash in, but a warning sign on a flat commercial rooftop. An adequate drainage system to eliminate puddles after a storm or winter thaw is crucial. While some puddling may occur naturally, any pooling that persists for more than a few days is a potential problem.

Each square foot of puddling adds about 5 lbs. of weight per square inch. Also watch for damaged flashing that seals the roof where angles meet and along the seams.

On pitched roofs, the water won’t puddle but extreme weather events can damage the shingles, eaves troughs and flashing which will compromise your building’s “exterior envelope”.

Health issues from mold and mildew

Mold and mildew caused by water damage from roof leaks can create serious health issues for your staff and customers. Many people are sensitive to mold, which can cause throat irritation, stuffiness, difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing and eye irritation. Those with asthma or compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to mold exposure.

Once mold has contaminated a facility, extreme care must be taken to clean it and prevent further growth.

Roof maintenance – check regularly and act quickly

As part of your building’s maintenance routine, be sure to have a roof maintenance professional inspect the roof at least twice a year, particularly in the spring and fall.

In the spring, identify any damage that may have occurred during the winter from snow and ice. Be sure to have the repairs done immediately before heavy spring rains cause more deterioration.

Inspect the roof in the fall to make sure it’s in good condition to handle the harsh winter months.

Tip Sheet
  • keep gutters and drains clear of debris
  • trim back overhanging branches
  • keep the roof clear of snow (if possible)
  • schedule regular roof inspections, especially after severe weather events
  • inspect the perimeter, especially the flashing
  • check for loose shingles – or on a flat roof, cracks in the membrane
  • observe the seals around pipes and other roof openings
  • repair any roof damage as soon as possible

Making small repairs to prevent roof leaks is one of the best ways to extend the life of your roof and protect your facility’s interior.  A financial investment now will save a lot of money later on and will ensure that the building — and the people inside it — stay safe and sound.

Get in touch

We care about clean — and about your health and safety.

Top 5 Germ-Laden Things You Touch Every Day

We all get up every day and go about our business. We have things to do, places to go and people to see. Most of us do all of this without thinking too much about the germ-laden things we come into contact with – until we encounter a gritty park bench or a greasy handrail on public transit.

But, surprisingly, some of the creepiest crawliest things are in our homes and workplaces – and some are even right there in our pockets and purses.

So, without further ado, let’s pull back the curtain and take a look at what we deal with every day. Ready?

#5 Sponge Bob is Not Your Friend

Your kitchen is a hot spot for cross-contamination of many different types of bacteria, and guess what interacts with just about all of them? That’s right, your kitchen sponge — one the dirtiest things in your house. Sponges are very effective for cleaning pots and dishes because they’re full of tiny holes that hold soap and water. Those warm, damp crevices are also the perfect environment for germs to propagate. So let your sponges dry out — germs hate dryness — and wash or replace them regularly.

#4 On the Throne

Let’s face it, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go — and there’s probably nothing grosser than a public bathroom toilet seat. Roughly half of all North American women won’t sit on a toilet seat in a public bathroom. But covering the seat with a barrier of toilet paper isn’t the answer either and, in fact, might actually be worse. Toilet seats are designed to repel germs, (hard plastic deflects bacteria and germs). Adding a layer of absorbent paper can soak up those nasty microbes and pass them to your body much more efficiently. Bottom line, pun intended, your best bet is to always wash yours hands with soap after you’re done.

#3 Talk Dirty to Me

By now everyone knows that cell phones are not the cleanest things in the world. To put that into clearer perspective, your toilet seat is actually cleaner. In fact, every square inch of your phone has about 10 times the number of germs than your toilet seat has. Bacteria thrive in warm places, the phone itself generates heat and so do your hands. It’s no wonder that smartphones are prime breeding grounds for microbes. Think about that the next time you’re texting at the dinner table.

#2 Let There be Light

It’s something we do every day, at home and at work we turn on the light. And light switches are one of those rarely thought-about germ-laden hideaways. They’re often overlooked when cleaning. Recently researchers did a study of hotel rooms, looking for hidden germ locations. They discovered that light switches, especially on bedside lamps, are crawling with bacteria. So the next time you’re cleaning a room, flip the switch – then clean it.

#1 Money Laundering

Talk about dirty money. The stuff is rife with germs… and cocaine, especially American money. Which is one of the reasons the UK and Canada have switched to plastic-based notes. Plastic acts to repel bacteria and is easily wiped clean. Paper money has tiny crevices that allow bacteria to grow — it can even transfer a live flu virus for up to 17 days. Just like our cell phones, money has more germs  than an average toilet seat, including staphylococcus aureus — the bacteria that causes staph infections. Again, always wash your hands after handling money… or send it to us.

Don’t Freak Out

In the end, it’s best not to obsess too much about the germ-laden things around us every day. But with a few simple changes to your routine, you can keep yourself, your family and your staff healthy and safe from harmful bacteria and viruses.

Get in touch today to find out how we can keep your workspace not only looking clean, but also healthy and germ-free using eco-friendly cleaning products and practices.

We care about clean.

H1N1 Flu Virus: Things you can do to prepare

Is your business at risk in the event of a catastrophic event, whether related to terrorism, power supply, natural disaster or a pandemic influenza outbreak?

H1N1 virus

With the H1N1 outbreak upon us, we need to ensure we all know the methods of protecting ourselves and the symptoms associated with the flu virus.

Does your company have a “Pandemic Plan” and a “Business Continuity” Plan? Is your business at risk in the event of a catastrophic event, whether related to terrorism, power supply, natural disaster or a pandemic influenza outbreak such as H1N1?

Ways to protect yourself

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes nose and mouth
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm and not your hands
  • Get your H1N1 flu shot (personal choice, not endorsed by Allcare)
  • Keep common surfaces areas clean and disinfected.
  • If you’re sick, stay home!

Symptoms Associated with H1N1

  • Almost always: sudden onset of cough and fever
  • Common: fatigue, muscle aches, sore throat, headache, decreased appetite, runny nose
  • Sometimes: vomiting, nausea, diarrhea

Severity Indicators:

  • Shortness of breath, rapid or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Bluish or grey skin colour
  • Change in mucous/spit colour
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • High fever for more than 3 days
  • Low blood pressure.

For more information visit:

www.fightflu.ca
www.hc-sc.gc.ca
www.who.int/en
www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

Are you prepared for the H1N1 virus?
Is your company prepared?
Are your employees protected?

To learn more about how to develop a plan and become prepared, contact us.