Have you ever scrutinized the cleaning products that you’re using in your home? The cleaning aisle of stores contains a multitude of general and specialized cleaning agents. Some of them are effective and mild, and others may contain chemicals that could affect the health and safety of pets, children or adults, especially allergy and asthma sufferers.
It’s therefore important to read product labels and warnings, and to understand what we’re using and exposing children to in our homes. Different people have different sensitivities.
Many individuals, regulators and associations are concerned about the possible hazards of household cleaning products. Because of this, the American Lung Association provides tips to help consumers keep their homes safe from chemicals found in many household cleaners. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides guidelines to help consumers understand what is or is not harmful realistically, and urges people to be aware of how they came into contact with the chemical, how much of it they came into contact, how long they came into contact and how strong the contact dosage was.
Read the Labels and Do Your Homework
The best way to start evaluating a product’s safety for use around your children and home is via its labeling, including any warnings. In addition, you could ask the manufacturer about the exact ingredients in a given product, and then research those ingredients to decide if you want to use them in your home.
The Environmental Working Group has collected a range of information about common substances that may cause health concerns, which you could use to start your research.
The EPA cautions that just because a product is labeled as “green” doesn’t mean that the product is safe. Safety can only be evaluated based on what the product contains.
A non-chemical alternative is to mix cleaning products yourself. For example, you could buy empty spray bottles and mix your own household cleaners, using everyday ingredients such as white vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, tap water and hydrogen peroxide. Many organic and green-themed websites have easy-to-follow recipes for such cleaners.
Whenever mixing any products yourself, keep general safety guidelines in mind and be especially conscientious to keep cleaners – commercial or homemade – locked up and out of reach of curious children.