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Spring Cleaning: Tips for Staying Poison Free


Spring has sprung, and that means many people are beginning their spring cleaning. Check out some safety tips below from the Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) to keep your family and pets safe as you de-winterize your home and properties.

Using Cleaning Products Safety

Spring cleaning sometimes means using cleaning products or a variety of chemicals that we don't use very often. Make sure you read the labels on cleaning products before use and follow the directions exactly. Also, never mix cleaning products—doing so can result in accidental poisonings. For instance, if you mix bleach with a cleaner that contains ammonia, you can create chloramine gas, which can be very dangerous. As an added precaution, open the windows and turn on fans when you're using cleaning products to keep the area well-ventilated.

Since they may harmful, you'll also want to protect your skin from these products:

  • Oven cleaners
  • Drain openers
  • Rust removers

Tip: A pair of rubber gloves are a great form of protection for the hands and can be found in most grocery stores.

Keeping Cleaners Up and Away from Kids and Pets

In addition to keeping your cleaning supplies out of reach of pets and children, you may consider locking them up with a child-safety lock or latch. It's also important to keep cleaning products in their original containers. Transferring them makes it hard for others to tell what it is without the label and can leave behind residue that kiddos and pets can get into. You'll also want to wash and rinse measuring cups and buckets you use for your cleaning projects to get rid of any leftover product.

Pet-Safe Cleaning and Yard Work

Always keep your pets on a leash or inside when you're working with fertilizers, weed killers, and pesticides in your yard and/or on your property. Make sure you purchase products that won't attract your pets—like cocoa bean mulch, which can be toxic if ingested.

The same goes for using indoor cleaning products. While using these, keep your pets away from the area. Also, be sure to rinse away any leftover products when you finish cleaning. Many pets have a habit of licking leftover water from the bathtub or shower, or even drinking from the toilet. You don't want your pets ingesting any cleaning products in the process.

If you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous product, contact your veterinarian or a local emergency veterinarian immediately.

Using Outdoor Cleaning Products Safely

Many people are also getting outside and sprucing up their yards during the spring season. These products can cause harm if swallowed:

  • Fertilizers
  • Mulch
  • Weed killers
  • Pesticides

Keep children out of the area while using these products so they don't accidentally get into them. The same storage guidelines go for these products as the indoor cleaning products—keep them out of reach of pets and kiddos!

What to Do In Case of Accidental Poisoning

If you or a family member have been accidentally poisoned, contact the UPCC immediately at 1-800-222-1222.

This line is a free, 24-hour service. Their specialists in poison information can help you with treatment and let you know if you need to go to your local emergency department.

What to Expect When Calling the UPCC

The poison specialist will ask you questions such as:

  • Exact name of the product
  • Amount taken
  • When the poisoning happened
  • The age and weight of the poisoned person
  • How the person is doing
  • Phone number where you can be reached

Prevention is key to avoiding a poisoning from products you use in spring cleaning. The Utah Poison Control Center is here to assist you with any questions or poison exposures you may have.

Spring cleaning infographic