How to Maintain Safety While Cleaning How to Maintain Safety While Cleaning

While trying to clean our homes so that they sparkle and present a picture perfect image, we also place ourselves at an added risk. Home accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries. Fortunately, a few precautions can not only lessen our chances of injury, but also, shorten the amount of time it takes to thoroughly clean our home.

Typical injuries at home usually involve some type of fall. Perhaps we lose our balance, trip over something left out where it doesn’t belong, or unwittingly walk onto a wet area. The result is still the same- bumps, bruises, sprains, or breaks.

We fall down the stairs, off ladders, from chairs, and even off the bed. Whoever had the brilliant idea of installing ceiling fans that require annual cleaning anyway?

When we aren’t falling, we are tripping over Barbies and superheroes, extension cords, misplaced items, and cleaning supplies. Look at where you are walking is perhaps one of the best pieces of advice our parents gave to us.

Other potential hazards lurking in our homes when we clean are the cleaning materials that we use. How many of us actually read the list of ingredients and caution statements anymore? We live in a world where time is more valuable than money for some of us and we simply don’t have enough.

Unfortunately, those of us who aren’t taking the time to read the labels and follow directions better start, or we won’t have any time at all. Accidental mixing of chemicals can produce toxic fumes. A little spill here and a little spill here again can have terrible results.

Use the following strategies to maintain safety in your home, not only while you are cleaning, but also, while you are going about the business of daily life.

Safety Steps for the Inside of the Home


Clear the clutter. Before you begin the actual tasks of scrubbing, vacuuming, and dusting, go around the home and pick up the clutter from the stairs, landings, and floors. Ideally, nothing should be out of place and in your path, but that rarely happens.

Secure electrical and telephone cords. Safely tuck the cords next to walls or under the furniture so that they will not be in the path of traffic.

Encourage family members to put their things away after they are finished using them. At the very least, encourage your family to help with the cleaning chores by picking up and putting away their items on cleaning day.

Whenever you are using the stairs, keep one hand free on the railing side of the stairway. If you do lose your balance, at least you will be able to grab the railing and stop your fall.

Avoid carrying a pile of stuff that is higher than your eye level. If you cannot see over the pile, then decrease its size and make more than one trip to carry things.

Always read the directions and precautionary statements on the household cleaners that you are going to use. Follow the directions to the letter. Do not mix cleaners in an attempt to make a more powerful cleaner. Stubborn stains often require additional cleaning with the same product, not a more powerful cleaner. Stains tend to go beneath the surface and require a thorough cleaning rather than a bombardment of different cleaners.

If you do intend to use more than one type of cleaner in a room, wait until the first cleaner has done its job. Remove all residue of the cleaner and allow the area to dry completely before beginning to clean with another cleaner.

Always follow the safety precautions that come with cleaning products. For example, if rubber gloves are recommended, then wear rubber gloves. If the product contains chemicals and harsh products, consider wearing a facemask. If the statement suggests that you should ventilate the room while using it, then, open the windows, open the doors, and turn on the vents and fans.

Never leave cleaning containers open. Always close them securely to prevent fumes from escaping or spills from occurring. Even if you are still planning on using the cleaner elsewhere, it’s a good idea to close the bottle.

Never use gasoline to clean anything. Gasoline is highly flammable since its flames can ignite quite easily. For this reason, gasoline should never be stored inside the home.

Never allow a bucket of water or cleaning solution to sit unattended. Small children and pets are extremely vulnerable around filled buckets. Additionally, if you leave the area and walk away from the bucket, it is possible that you will forget about it and trip over it later.

Do not operate electrical cleaning tools near an open bucket of water or any other area of water, such as a laundry tub.

Always put your cleaning supplies away when you are finished. Secure toxic cleaners where children and pets cannot get to them.

Discard any leftover and used cleaning solution promptly and properly.

Discard the rags used with chemicals during the cleaning process.

Safety Steps for the Outside of the Home

Clear the clutter. Before you begin the actual tasks of cleaning, trimming, and painting, remove and put away anything that is not in its proper place. Make sure that you check the yard, gardens, driveway, walkways, decks, and steps.

Secure garden hoses by drawing them up and placing them out of the way. If you are going to use the hose, secure it until you need it anyway for safety’s sake.

Encourage family members to put their things away in their proper places after they are finished using them. At least, your family can help with the cleaning chores by picking up and putting away their items on cleaning day.

Never carry a pile of stuff that is higher than your eye level. If you cannot see over the pile, it’s too big. Decrease its size and make more than one trip to carry things. Use a wheelbarrow if you have one to cart things around the yard.

Always read the directions and precautionary statements on the cleaners that you are going to use. Follow the directions completely and don’t take short cuts. Do not mix cleaners in an attempt to make a more powerful cleaner. Stubborn stains often require additional cleaning with the same product, not a more powerful cleaner.

Always follow the safety precautions that come with the cleaning products that you select to use. For example, if rubber gloves are recommended, then wear rubber gloves. If the product contains harsh products and chemicals, consider wearing a facemask.

Do not allow cleaning containers to remain open. Always close them securely to prevent fumes from escaping or spills from occurring. Even if you are still planning on using the cleaner elsewhere, it’s a good idea to close the bottle securely.

Never use gasoline to clean anything. Gasoline is highly flammable since its flames can ignite easily. For this reason, gasoline should never be stored inside the home.

Do not leave a bucket of water or cleaning solution to sit unattended. Filled buckets are dangerous for small children and pets. Additionally, if you leave the area and walk away from the bucket, you may forget about it and trip over it later.

Whenever you are using the steps, keep one hand free on the railing side of the steps. If you do lose your balance, at least you will be able to grab the railing and stop your fall. If the steps do not have a railing, then take your time especially if you are carrying tools or cleaners.

If you are using a ladder, be careful that you do not stand on any of the rungs above the one that is listed as the highest safe standing level. For an extension ladder, highest safe standing level is the fourth rung from the top. For a stepladder, the highest safe standing level is the second rung from the top.

• If you are using a ladder, try to do it when someone else is home, just in case you do fall off the ladder. Be sure that the ladder is securely placed on a level surface before you step onto it.

Exercise caution when using sharp tools.

Always put your cleaning supplies away when you are finished. Secure toxic cleaners where children and pets cannot get to them.

Discard any leftover and used cleaning solution promptly and properly.

Discard the rags used with chemicals during the cleaning process.

It’s easy to take a few extra minutes to secure the safety of your family. Practice safe procedures, read directions, and take your time. Cleaning your home may not always be a pleasure, but it never has to be a hazard.

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