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.