Wednesday, 6 March 2019

HOME | HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN CLEANING

Never thought I'd see the day when cleaning became such a thing. Every year we kind of have a bit of a push around spring time for a 'spring clean' but ever since Mrs Hinch came onto the scene it's all just gone a bit mental. And it's great, don't get me wrong I actually enjoy cleaning now whereas I never did before (ironing though, nah... I'll never love ironing no matter how much nice smelling ironing water I pour into it) but it's also made way for some quite dangerous practices to surface that we might not actually think about fully when we're doing them. Thankfully, there are instagrammers like The Secret Cleaner that seem to be quite savvy with their chemicals and things and have unearthed some of the dangerous things that we might be doing and not necessarily know about it.


1. Do not bleach with other chemicals
You might have heard about the woman from Sheffield who ended up with chlorine gas poisoning when she mixed bleach with disinfectants and hot water - she had no idea of the reactions that can occur when you mix certain chemicals. I don't profess to be a chemist but it does clearly say on the back of many cleaning product bottles not to mix them with other chemical cleaning products.  Combinations such as bleach and vinegar also create chlorine gas, rubbing alcohol and bleach creates chloroform (this is what's often 'used' in films when someone puts a cloth over someones face and they collapse unconscious on the floor)... there's so many dangerous cleaning product combinations that you need to be aware of.

2. Use cleaning products for their intended purpose.
The explosion in popularity of products like Zoflora has also made way for products being used in ways other than they were originally intended which can prove very dangerous when you're using chemicals. Double check with the brand via email if you're unsure. Brands like Zoflora have FAQ's as to how you can use Zoflora safely and there's often lots of info on the back of bottles. Don't get me wrong I love Zoflora and I do use it but overuse and misuse could cause problems

Another example that springs to mind is fabric conditioner, we are obsessive about having our houses smelling nice and I've seen so many people diluting fabric conditioner in a spray bottle and spraying it all over their curtains, bedding, sofas etc. Fabric conditioner can decrease flame resistance; especially when it is not used as directed. It does specifically say this on the back of the bottles aswell. So by using it in a trigger spray bottle, although diluted you are not rinsing it away which is what happens in a washing machine therefore, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk if the worst were to happen. Buy a bottle of Febreze or something else intended for eliminating odours on soft furnishings etc.

Similarly, don't put anything like Zoflora or those fabric conditioner balls into a wax burner... they were not made to be near naked flames and they most certainly should not be put in that situation!

3. Keep your home well ventilated
I love a nice smelling home as much as the next person and I've got candles and reed diffusers galore to help with that but I know that lots of people use products like Zoflora to help with odour elimination. If you are going to use Zoflora (in the correct way), or any other cleaning product, always make sure that you open some windows to ventilate the area because as much as you might enjoy the smell of these things, prolonged concentrated inhalation of chemicals can cause headaches and more serious problems such as lung complaints long term.

4. Keep your pets and children out of the way
Sounds totally obvious but make sure you read the label regarding what can and can't be used around animals and how it can be used safely and again, obvious tip but don't let your child near any freshly cleaned surfaces and floors. Lots of people are turning back to natural cleaning products which pose much less of a risk so that is also something to consider.

5. Store your cleaning products correctly
Possibly the most popular place is under the sink but somewhere higher or with a child lock on might be a safer bet if you have wandering little hands. I know storage can be a huge issue in new build houses, particularly smaller ones like my little 2 bedroomed and it can be tempting to make use of every available space. Lots of people use their boiler cupboard as storage for other things by putting racks on the inside of the door etc. but near a boiler is not a place to store cleaning products. It goes back to the old highly flammable chemicals thing. A boiler has a pilot light inside it which is a naked flame. Naked flames and flammable liquids don't mix well so keep your cleaning products at room temperature in a sensible location.

6. Wear rubber gloves
Chemicals and bare skin are not a good combination. When I first bought a bottle of Zoflora I was daft enough to use it a few times with a cloth and no gloves on, then I wondered why my hands were becoming more and more cracked and dry. It was the Zoflora. A good old pair of marigolds should protect you from that and any other chemical burns that could potentially occur!

Top and bottom of this advice is mainly: read the instructions and think sensibly and logically when you're cleaning. I'm not writing this to kill the 'joy of cleaning;' I just think that there are so many people who are unaware of the potential dangers that they're putting themselves in the way of by not using cleaning products properly.

Do you have any interesting tips for cleaning safely?

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