Spring cleaning: Tips for safe use of household chemical products

(NC) As the days get noticeably longer and milder, we emerge from winter hibernation and giving our home a good spring cleaning suddenly appears on the to-do list.

Household cleaning chemicals can have an important role in keeping kitchens and bathrooms clean. However, if they’re not used safely, they can find their way beyond the kitchen or bathroom walls, posing a risk to your health and those around you.

By following these tips, you can keep you and your family safe when you tackle household chores.

  1. Carefully read the product label.
    Is there a hazard symbol on the label? If there is, be sure you understand what it means and carefully follow the warnings.

  2. Use chemicals carefully.
    All that fine print under “directions for use” in household chemical products is there for a good reason. It explains how to use the product safely.

  3. Let the fresh air in.
    Ensure proper ventilation by opening windows or doors and running exhaust fans during and after cleaning.

  4. Don’t mix chemical products.
    Never mix household chemical products together. Some mixtures can produce harmful gases. Bleach products should never be mixed with other cleaning products.

  5. Store household chemicals safely.
    Keep all household chemical products in their original containers, safely stored where children cannot see or reach them. Try not to store products that may release harmful fumes or catch fire inside your home. These items include solvents, gasoline, fuels or varnishes. Store them according to the instructions on the product's label in a separate building if you can, or in an area that is well vented to the outside.

  6. Dispose products properly.
    Check your city or town’s guidelines for instructions on how to dispose of hazardous household waste. As well, check the label for disposal directions. Don’t pour unused chemical products down the drain or burn or bury them.

Find more information on keeping a healthy home at canada.ca/healthy-home.

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