Spring cleaning: No shortcuts when it comes to safety

  • Published
  • By Eric T. Hoehn Safety Office
  • 88th Air Base Wing

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OH -- Safety is not normally on people’s minds when they begin to haul out all those cleaning supplies and equipment for spring cleaning, but it should be.

Every day, we need to be careful when going about our household chores. But when you really start tearing the house apart and moving things around during spring cleaning, especially with all those supplies and equipment out, it is doubly important to keep safety in mind.

Before you jump into spring cleaning this year, remember to make safety a top priority. Start by reviewing our safety tips to help protect your family from common hazards.

Major hazards

Falls and poisonings are two of the leading home-injury areas and particularly while cleaning.

When reorganizing your closets, remember to use a ladder to reach the top shelf and don’t go above the safe-standing level. When going up and down stairs, only carry loads you can see over and leave one hand free to hold onto the banister or railing.

Spring cleaning is a great time to declutter your home, but you need to make sure the trash you’re getting rid of doesn’t cause a safety concern. Make sure you place it away from walkways, steps and stairs — where someone may trip on it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using household-cleaning supplies: Read the labels of the products you use. Look for the words “Caution,” “Warning,” “Danger,” “Poison” or “Keep out of reach of children.” Lock these products up after you are finished using them to prevent poisonings.

Cleaning supplies can create nasty fumes, so make sure you get some fresh air by opening windows, turning on the exhaust fan or placing a fan in the room. In addition, do not mix ammonia and bleach because they create toxic fumes when combined.

Always follow the safety instructions when using harsh cleaning products. Remember, when in doubt, don’t mix, and use only one product to get the job done. You should also wear rubber gloves to keep your hands from getting dry and cracked from the hot water and chemicals.

Cleaning out the garage

When cleaning out your garage, discard toxic and flammable materials you no longer need. Place remaining materials high and out of reach. Keep toxic products in their original containers.

Check the garage for flammable liquids such as gasoline, paint thinner, paint and cleaners. Make sure safety caps are in place and they’re not near any heat sources. Keep only the amount you need to use — don’t stock up on extra cans.

It’s also a good idea to tidy up loose papers, old rags and debris in the garage that could contribute to a fire.

Spring is a busy time of year and most of us have a lot going on. While busying yourself with the chores you have to get done around the house, take time to make sure you are including safety in all you do.