It might seem harmless to use a cleaning product on something, or somewhere, where you’re not necessarily supposed to. Unfortunately, this will often cause damage to a surface—or to yourself! Because I run a cleaning business, I’ve become a health and cleaning safety stickler. I am all about using the right cleaning products and tools in the right way. With this in mind, I thought I would take some time and outline some of my favorite cleaning safety tips and best practices so that you can keep yourself, and your surfaces, safe and healthy!
I will often get asked about when you should be wearing gloves. Gloves are a staple when it comes to cleaning safety. In most cases, you want to keep your hands protected from things like hot water, bacteria, or if you have a predisposition to dry skin. Now, that’s if you’re using basic products like vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap. However, if you’re you using a more serious product with a harsher chemical, you’ll need to wear gloves to protect your hands from something that could potentially be corrosive. That’s why it’s so important to read the package first—so that you know if and when you should be using personal protective equipment.
Do Not Mix Products
Unless you have a chemistry degree please leave the mixing of cleaning products to the professionals! If you know of a DIY cleaning recipe that is safe, like vinegar and baking soda, that’s great. But, vinegar is not a mix-all ingredient—if you mix it with something like ammonia or bleach you can cause a gas that can harm or kill you. So, always be very clear, and careful, on what you’re doing when it comes to mixing products.
Keeping products properly stored is crucial when it comes to cleaning safety. Not only do you want your products to last for a long time, but you also don’t want to expose them to things they shouldn’t be exposed to—especially pets and kids. First, when you’re finished using a cleaning product be sure to wipe the bottom and the exterior of the bottle. You may think this is an un-needed extra-step, but if there’s any residue left behind on the sides or (eventually) the bottom, you can damage the surface it rests on.
If you have pets or kids, you clearly want to make sure that you’re storing your cleaning products safely. Whether this means getting safety latches on your cupboard doors, or storing them higher up or in containers that aren’t easy to open, whatever it looks like just get it done. And finally, when you’re storing your cleaning products make sure that they’re properly closed. Always ensure that the cap is on tightly and that the nozzle is in the off position.
Non-Toxic Products FTW!
In the 8 plus years we’ve been doing Clean My Space videos, no one’s ever said to me, “Hey Melissa, can you help me find a more toxic cleaning product?” People are always looking for less toxic ways to clean around their homes. However, not everybody is into the DIY thing, which is totally cool, because there are lots of products out there that can help you clean in a more responsible and non-toxic way. We’ve recently come across a product that I really like—it’s called JAWS, or the Just Add Water System. The thing that’s great about it is they have a number of different products in their roster, four of which are non-toxic, which means that they’re safe to use around pets and kids (and adults too, of course). Their concentrated cleaners are packaged in small convenient refill pods so that you just buy refills when you run out of a cleaner but you keep reusing the spray bottle. I love this because it combats single-use plastic, and the pods are recyclable to boot! The other thing that’s really cool about the JAWS system is that they’re color-coded, which leads me to my next point.
In the professional cleaning business, color coding is super important—not only for health and safety purposes but also to help avoid cross-contamination. When you’re hiring somebody where English is not their first language, color coding allows them to easily identify a product by its color rather than the label. This is also great for kids BTW! This also translates into how you use and set up your cleaning tools at home. You can have different colored cloths for different parts of your home. For example, we like to use purple microfiber cloths in the kitchen and blue ones in the bathroom. You can do the same thing with your cleaning toothbrushes and gloves.
Use The Right Product
If you’ve read my book or watched any Clean My Space videos you have probably heard me refer to PTT which stands for Products, Tools, and Techniques. This concept is really important when it comes to cleaning safely and efficiently. If you choose to use the wrong cleaning product on a surface or application, not only will it waste your time, but it can damage the surface. For example, if you use an abrasive sponge to clean stainless steel, you’ll have scratches. If you use vinegar to clean marble, granite or natural stone, it can cause marring—which is really expensive to fix! Damage can be costly and annoying so always use the right product and/or tool for the job at hand.
The last thing I wanted to mention is on the topic of cleaning hacks—there are some really bad ones out there. I’ve heard about people using car wax or a rain-preventing windshield washer product to protect shower glass from water stain buildup. While this might sound great, do you really want to be breathing in or touching these products in your shower? When you decide to employ a cleaning hack in your home, please think twice about it and make sure that it is indeed safe for you and your family.
This article was sponsored by our friends at JAWS, the Just Add Water System. To learn more visit jawscleans.com, and get free shipping on a home cleaning kit (which includes the kitchen, glass, shower and hardwood floor cleaners), by using offer code CLEANMYSPACE at checkout.