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What’s under your sink could be hazardous to you, your family and pets, and the environment! Cleaning is an important part of everyday life but some cleaners can be extremely toxic, particularly if used incorrectly. Over the next few months, we will be sharing tips on how to be safe while cleaning and how to find safer cleaners.
Now is a great time to check the cleaners in your cabinets. It’s a good idea to know more about your cleaners and their first-aid measures and storage requirements. Some cleaners, such as bleach, can form harmful gases if mixed with other chemicals. However, bleach might be necessary if you’re dealing with mildew and mold or if you have specific health concerns. Knowing what you have and what precautions to take is the first step to a safer household.
While reviewing product labels, scan for words like “warning”, “danger”, and “caution”. A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) will contain more information on handling, storage, first-aid measures, and potential environmental hazards. Safety Data Sheets are provided by manufacturers of products online.
The Federal Trade Commission regulates green marketing claims, so be sure to search for more information online if you are doubtful of a product’s claims. When shopping for cleaning products, research safer products before you go to the store. For a quick cheat sheet on cleaners to choose from the EPA has a Safer Choice program of tested and recommended products.
You can also choose a DIY option. A mix of half water and half vinegar makes a simple and easy cleaning solution. Baking soda can be added to aid in scrubbing.
It’s most eco-friendly to completely use the cleaners you have at home before purchasing more. If they're used properly, safely, and completely, there won't be any need for disposal. If you don’t feel comfortable using your products, find a local household hazardous waste facility for responsible and safe disposal. Here in Washtenaw County residents can use the Home Toxics Center. Happy cleaning!