Because of COVID-19, many people are wondering how they can clean surfaces in their household to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. The Centers for Disease Control has guidance on how to clean and what products will kill the COVID-19 virus. While cleaning can help the spread of illnesses, even regular household cleaners can be dangerous if they aren’t used properly.
Follow these guidelines for safety:
- Don’t mix different cleaners together. Chemicals in different cleaners can react to produce irritating or even poisonous gases. Don’t reuse bottles.
- Follow the directions on the bottle. Store the cleaner in its original bottle, and make sure the label can be read. Some cleaners can cause skin and eye burns, so be sure you are wearing gloves and eye protection if recommended. Some cleaners are not intended to be used on food contact surfaces.
- Don’t get the cleaner on your skin or in your mouth. Even relatively mild cleaners can cause skin irritation if allowed to stay on the skin and vomiting if swallowed. Stronger cleaners can cause severe burns. Follow the directions on the bottle if the cleaner gets in your mouth or on your skin. If the label says to get medical help, call 911. If you aren’t sure what to do, call the Poison Control hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
- Store cleaners out of the reach of children and pets. They should be stored in a locked cabinet or in a high place where children can’t reach and they can’t accidentally fall out. Teach children not to touch cleaners until they are old enough to clean safely.