Many cleaning products contain dangerous substances. If not stored properly, they can end up in the hands—or mouths—of children or even a beloved pet. They can also degrade, leak, and mix over time creating other exposure hazards. Here are some critical tips for safely storing and maintaining your household cleaning products and ensuring a safe environment in your home.
The recent incident of the “Tide Pod Challenge” involving children eating Tide Pods (colorful laundry detergent packets) reopened the national conversation on the safety of cleaning products.
Good Housekeeping notes that despite a general level of awareness about the risks associated with laundry detergent packets, a recent survey found that 61% of parents who continue to purchase and use the product are storing them where their children can reach them. Additionally, 81% of parents believe that their children cannot reach them when they actually can.
Calls to poison control centers have risen 17% since 2013 due to accidental exposure of young children to laundry detergent packets.
While the laundry detergent industry has made efforts to package the products safely, parents still have to make sure that children and pets cannot easily access the products.
The products must be stored in a closed cabinet that is not visible to children and they must be completely out of reach. Consider locking the cabinet. Additionally, keep the pods in their original packaging. Finally, do not leave the packets out during or after completing your laundry cycle. Put them away immediately.
Vacuum maintenance and storage
A standard vacuum cleaner is a valuable asset in any home, and any appliance price comparison will show that replacing a vacuum is also expensive. Storing and maintaining your vacuum is important to increasing the lifespan of the vacuum.
First, it’s important to regularly empty the canister or change the bag. Dust and particles will work their way into the other operational sections of the vacuum cleaner and cause damage. If you have a canister, wash and dry it occasionally.
Make sure to roll up and store the vacuum cord, lest it become your pet’s favorite chew toy or a tripping hazard in your laundry room. Frequently check its hoses and belts, detangle its brushes, and regularly change filters.
Chemical cleaning solutions
Cleaning products contain harsh and sometimes toxic chemicals, so they require careful consideration when storing them. Keep in mind that some chemicals become dangerous when mixed and, therefore, some cleaning products should not be stored next to or even near each other in case of accidental spills.
Most chemical cleaning products have labels with instructions about safe storage and consumers should always read those instructions when purchasing the product to ensure safe handling. They should be stored out of reach from children and away from all food—for both humans and pets.
One way to make sure that you aren’t mixing products unnecessarily is to have multiple caddies with labels to keep products separate and well organized. Of course, there is always the option of choosing greener cleaning products.
Now that you have learned about safety and maintenance while storing cleaning supplies, you may be wondering about ideas for organizing your cleaning products, particularly in areas of your household that may be spatially, functionally and visually challenged.
Better Homes and Gardens recommends top-down organization in a lower level kitchen pull-out cabinet. Have towels, sponges and frequently used items in the top, easy-to-reach levels and items used less often in the lower cubbies.
Installing a pegboard in bathroom pantries or laundry rooms can allow you to hang brooms and mops from hooks.
You can use storage carts and portable caddies so that cleaning supplies can be stored in one place but easily moved and relocated around the house. For example, car cleaning supplies might need a cart or caddy so that they can be moved outdoors or to the garage for cleaning, but stored inside safely and away from fluctuating temperatures and other elements.
If you are storing bottles under the sink or in a cabinet, a lazy susan can help you grab the right items quickly without having to dig through bottles.
You might also think about buying cleaning products in bulk. That way, you can keep a bottle of bathroom cleaner in each bathroom; one Swiffer for the bathrooms and one for the kitchen; and rolls of paper towel upstairs, downstairs, and in the garage.
Tossing all of your cleaning supplies onto a generic shelf in a closet may not be the safest or most efficient way to organize your cleaning supplies. Additionally, for appliances such as vacuum cleaners, it will shorten the lifespan, costing you money unnecessarily in the long run. Consider your safety and financial security when maintaining and storing your cleaning supplies.
Guest Blogger: Paige Mitchell