Simple changes to what we buy and how we live can make a big difference in reducing your exposure to chemicals in your home. Learn how to read labels and choose the least toxic products, how make your own non-toxic cleaners and how to properly use, store and dispose of hazardous products, to lessen your exposure to chemicals. You can keep yourself and your family safe, potentially save money and reduce the amount of household hazardous waste that you have for disposal.
Read the labels
Reading labels is the easiest way to identify if a product needs to be handled and disposed of carefully. Look for the following signal words. The label will tell you how to use it, store it and dispose of it as well as what to do if you need first aid.
Look for these signal words to know how hazardous a product is.
- Caution – Mild/Moderate hazard
- Warning – Moderate hazard
- Danger – Extremely flammable, corrosive, or toxic
- Poison – Highly toxic
Make your own cleaners
You can use common household products to create cleaners that are as effective as and less costly than store bought cleaning products. Simple and inexpensive ingredients like borax, baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar go a long way. Find out how to make your own cleaners.
- Store out of reach of children and pets.
- Store products in their original container and make sure the label is readable.
- Follow the storage instructions on the label.
- Never store chemicals in food containers.
- Avoid look-a-likes that might confuse children and pets. For instance, blue window cleaner looks a lot like a blue sports drink.
- Never mix chemicals together.
- Close lids tightly to avoid spills and make the product last longer.
Keep a clean house
- Remove your shoes when you enter your house to keep from tracking in harmful chemicals including pesticides and lead.
- Place a floor mat at your doors to keep unwanted chemicals in one place that can be easily cleaned.
- Vacuum carpets and floors on a regular basis. Children playing on your floors are more susceptible to come into contact with chemicals. Use a HEPA filter in your vacuum.
- Use cleaning services that use less-toxic chemicals. If your carpets are professionally cleaned, find a service that uses chemicals low in VOC’s (volatile organic compounds).
- Avoid chemical air fresheners and candles.
How to reduce toxic chemicals in your home
Sinkers – Get the lead out
Reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides