The novel Coronavirus has compelled many to take extra precautions with staying safe at home. Washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, and sanitizing everything under the sun has become a new ritual in these unprecedented times. However, it is important to make sure you aren’t going overboard with the chemicals.
According to a new report done by the CDC, 39 percent of survey respondents were doing things that are considered “high risk” and “non-recommended,” like cleaning food items with bleach and even using household disinfectants on their skin. Since March 2020, the stay-at home orders and increased media coverage and shortages of cleaning agents has led to an uptick in daily calls to poison centers due to improper use of cleaners and disinfectants.
Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your safety AND stay safe from COVID-19 at home.
Don’t use bleach to wash food products.
Washing food with bleach is not a safe practice. In the words of Dr. Erica Liebelt, executive director of the Washington Poison Control Center, “Don’t put bleach directly on your skin, especially if you have very sensitive skin, because it can cause redness, swelling and irritation, and certainly no industrial chemicals on your skin because it can cause burns.”
Do not Mix Chemicals.
Another practice reported by the CDC was the mixing of chemicals. This is highly dangerous, as doing so can create toxic gas. Do not mix products containing bleach with those containing ammonia or vinegar. Mixing bleach products with any products that contain ammonia can create chloramine gas, according to the California Poison Control System.
Consider Natural Alternatives.
Environmentally friendly, green, and more natural products are a sure-fire way to avoid the often toxic chemicals in commercial cleaning products. Some of the products you may have been using at home contain harmful ingredients. Here are harmful chemicals you should avoid in commercial cleaning products:
- Diethanolamine – DEA
- Triethanolamine – TEA
All-natural cleaning agents and organic products are the best way to clean your home naturally, without the chemical residue that can be harmful to your family and pets. Eco-friendly products, such as ours at Organic Cleaning Marin, are made with sustainable manufacturing practices and environmentally friendly biodegradable materials.
Use Protective Equipment and Reduce Harmful Exposure.
It’s important to reduce harmful exposure whenever possible. Enclosed spaces and lack of air flow increases the possibility for mold growth. Open the windows whenever possible, especially in damp rooms like a bathroom to reduce the growth of mold. If the smell of cleaning chemicals is strong enough to irritate you or give you headache, you should remove yourself from the area to stay safe.
Also, make sure to wear plastic gloves to avoid skin exposure when dealing with chemical agents. Cleaning agents are irritating, and the CDC advises people to use eye and skin protection when dealing with them. Try to avoid using disinfectant wipes, which can have strong chemical properties from usage on your hands or skin. Instead, only use soap or hand sanitizers and lotions on your dry skin.
Follow directions on packaging.
This is a simple tip, but important! Do not try and mix cleaners together to make ‘stronger’ cleaners, like mixing bleach and ammonia, because these can release harmful vapors to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, according to the CDC. It’s best to simply follow the directions on the label of your cleaning materials. Educate yourself on the product ingredients, and directions for use before using a new product.
We understand that it can be tempting to go overcompensate with cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s also important to exercise safety when cleaning in your home. We hope these simple steps were useful tips to stay safe and clean through these uncertain times.