Monday, March 31, 2008

When Clean Turns Deadly

This is a cleaning season, whether we need to do so for Pesach or not. Suddenly we find ourselves scanning the items on the shelves in the supermarkets and hardware stores for the latest "miracle" cleanser, the one guaranteed to to do the job while saving us some effort.

Yes, those cleansers do what they say they will do. But there could be a cost. Honesty time here. Have you ever sat down and read, word for word, all the information on a cleanser that is printed on the bottle or box? Do you reread this information periodically? I thought not. You should.

Some cleansers are fairly benign when used on their own. It is when they are used in conjunction with another cleanser that major problems can arise. Do you know which of your cleansers cannot be used together with other ones? Ammonia-based products are particularly problematic. Products like Windex and Comet. In conjunction with some other cleaning products they can produce fumes and gasses that can make you really sick.

Products for cleaning ovens and stoves may be particularly caustic. Use extreme caution when using them. Ditto for certain toilet bowl cleansers.

Before you use your cleanser, read the label. Pay attention to the warning/caution information. Keep a window open at least partly when you are using cleansers. When in doubt, use gloves to protect your hands. Don't touch your face when using cleansers, especially the mouth and eye area. Your little one comes up to you and needs some TLC while you are cleaning, so you pat him/her on the head with your gloved hand. Youch.

Wash your hands thoroughly after using cleaning supplies. Make sure those cleansers are stored in a safe place--read the temperature requirements--and out of the reach of little children. Make sure the caps are on tight.

Far better to be safe than sorry.


miriamp said...

Of course I've read them! They have words. (I am unable to ignore words. I must read them... it's kind of an addiction.)

My husband and I have this (friendly) disagreement every year before Pesach. I want to use nice, friendly, I can still breathe around them types of cleaning products, like Sun & Earth, and he says "it's not poison enough" to "halachically nullify" the chometz. Doesn't clean count? But he's worried about missing spots and wants to just spray everything and call it done. And he has a point, since I'm "cleaning" around the midgets (4 home all day, another 4 come home after school lets out each day) so I'm not doing a very good job. But then, with the midgets around, I certainly don't want to use poison! So the "real poison" can wait until the last couple of days, and then there will only be one type, and he'll get to wield it, not me. I get to keep the kids out of the way.

Anonymous said...

Funny that you should p;ut up this post this week. I'm pregnant and since we moved I'm using a new obstetrician. When I saw her this week she told me that she knows that frum jews do some heavy cleaning around now and that I should keep away from most of them or use the mild ones only with plenty of fresh air in the room from a window. She particularly mentioned over cleaners and most toilet boil cleaners. Something else to have to worry about.

Anonymous said...

Good advice all year round, not just for Passover.