Did you know that household cleaners can be extremely dangerous to kids and pets? Do you know what to look out for and avoid in cleaning products? Read on to learn about some of the most common bad guys that may be lurking in your cupboard or on the supermarket shelf – so you know how to stay safe and protect your little ones.
Acidic Cleaning Products
While there are acidic cleaning products that can be safe to use, there is also a range of acid cleaner that is stronger and can be very dangerous around pets and children. An acidic cleaner is good because they are tough on stains and grime because they eat away at the surface. This is also the reason why they can be so dangerous for children and pets. Strong acidic cleaners must not touch the skin, but they are even more dangerous to consume.
The two types of very mild acidic cleaners that are safe to use around the home are citric acid, which comes from citric fruit like oranges or lemons, and acetic acid, often used in cooking, like vinegar.
However, the stronger acids like hydrochloric acid, boric acid, and sodium acid sulphate are all much more dangerous and should be avoided. These types of acids are used in items like strong toilet cleaners and anti-rust agents.
Note: Never mix acids cleaners with bleach as it makes a chemical compound that can be fatal if inhaled. In fact, it is not a good idea to ever mix any different types of cleaners. You aren’t a chemical engineer, so you don’t know what the results might be – and they can be highly dangerous!
Alkali cleaners are similar to acidic cleaners in that there is a range of products that go from mild through to strong. You will know of mild alkali cleaners like sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is used both in cooking, as a raising agent, and in cleaning, where it is effective for a whole range of uses, such as removing unwanted smells.
However, there are more dangerous cleaners that are alkalis. Ammonia and borax are stronger and best avoided if possible around kids and pets. Ammonia is another cleaner that you must make sure never to mix with bleach. Stronger still are alkali cleaners like lye, and ingredients as part of the oven and drain cleaners.
Best to avoid bleach
Bleach is one of those products that is best to avoid if at all possible. While it is incredibly effective for disinfecting and killing germs, it is also very strong and can cause issues while both the skin and lungs. While you may have been using bleach to clean your bathroom or whiten your clothes, if children or pets come along, it’s best to avoid it or use a very, very mild solution.
Bleach is also not only the stuff that you find in bottles labelled bleach. It is also a sneaky player in other products – ones with ingredients like sodium hypochlorite, sodium carbonate peroxide, calcium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide. Also, watch out for bleaches that contain extra sodium hydroxide as it is even more strong.
Be careful with regular detergent cleaners too
Regular detergents are generally fine for use around children and pets, so long as they don’t go putting them in their mouth. Be aware that concentrated and heavy-duty products are more dangerous if they are consumed. This is particularly true for little pods, like the ones that you can put in your dishwasher, or in your washing machine.
There are some good resources that can help you to identify if you have an issue with your children or pets with dangerous cleaning products. These are sites like HealthDirect and the Department of Health.
If you are concerned about the cleaning products in your home, then it’s a good idea to employ the services of a child and pet-friendly professional cleaning agency to clean for you. You can request that the products that they use are child and pet-friendly and ask for the ingredients list of any cleaners that they use if you would like to be sure.
It’s not difficult to avoid cleaning products that are dangerous for pets and children if you know what to look out for. Educating yourself about child and pet safety is extremely important as a parent, or as a parent of a fur baby. This way you can avoid unexpected trips to the emergency department or vet – and that’s extremely important.