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Simple Cleaning Tips for Even the Most Complex Projects

Submitted by Brittany Monbarren on June 25, 2013 – 7:37 pm

As the weather gets warmer, we open up the windows—before closing them again to turn on the A/C—and suddenly realize how messy a room has gotten, that the house needs a fresh coat of paint and that the clutter has piled up in your garage.

For many, it’s a season for rolling up your shirt sleeves and working on the dreaded house chores. However, what most individuals forget to realize while tackling their spring and summer cleaning projects is the importance of cleaning safety and the risks that involved.

Whether it’s detailing your car or cleaning your house, it is important that you take the necessary safety precautions.

Consider these simple cleaning tips as you take on your next project.

Take time to think about your project. Most of the time when people start a new project, they do not take the time to actually break down the task and think about the safety aspects of it. Before you start tearing apart your house, take a few minutes to think about the project. Always have a cleaning plan and think about how you can complete your project as safely as possible.

Always follow the safety instructions and recommendations on the labels. Cleaning supplies can be very hazardous to your health, it is important to read and follow all of the directions. Some cleaning supplies may create nasty fumes, the instructions may suggest opening the windows and doors or to turn on a fan to circulate air flow while using that product.

The cleaning products will also suggest never mixing two together. Since some products have different ingredients than other, combining different chemicals can create a dangerous mixture.

Don’t leave buckets full of cleaning chemicals or cleaning supplies around your house. Always make sure you empty any excess cleaning liquids from your buckets or put your supplies in an inaccessible area if you walk away from it for a second. Leaving buckets of dangerous cleaning chemicals around your house can be very hazardous.

Put away ALL of your cleaning supplies when you’re done. Once you are finished cleaning, you may say to yourself, “Oh, I’ll put this away later.” Don’t listen to that! Always put all of your cleaning supplies away when you are finished cleaning.

Cleaning supplies attract the attention of animals and children. It is important that you thoroughly wash and dry all of your cleaning materials and put them in a locked/childproof cabinet for their safety.

Worried About What’s in Those Cleaning Solutions?

There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives that can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.

»» Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.

»» Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.

»» Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.

»» White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.

»» Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.

»» Isopropyl Alcohol – is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water. There is some indication that isopropyl alcohol buildup contributes to illness in the body. See drclark.ch/g)

»» Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.

»» Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)

»» Borax – (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.

But is Borax safe?
Borax is considered a mild skin irritant similar to baking soda. The MSDS lists borax as a health hazard of 1, similar to salt and baking soda. A health concern with borax is with its potential to disrupt the reproductive system. Studies have not been done in humans regarding this; however, potential reproductive issues in mice are suspected from high levels of ingested borax. Use of borax for home cleaning formulas, where no borax is ingested, has not been shown to pose health hazards. Borax is a natural substance which is non-carcinogenic, does not accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is not harmful to the environment.