Cleaning your house may not seem like an activity that can lead to injury. While it’s not a full contact sport, there are hazards to watch out for. Tweaking some of your housekeeping habits will help you stay safe. Check out these common cleaning hazards and learn how to avoid them:
- Sprains, Strains, and Pain: Lifting heavy objects incorrectly leads to back pain and sprains. Always keep feet shoulder width apart, your back straight, and knees bent. Lift with your legs and hold the object close to the body. Moving large containers, darting back and forth between tasks, and even simply bending into an awkward position can easily cause injury. Be sure to stretch, prior to cleaning, to warm-up your muscles.
- Falls and Slips: Falling carries the risk of broken bones, sprains, concussions, bumps, bruises, and even death in severe cases. Never stand on a chair in an attempt to grab something out of reach. Instead, use a step ladder, which is more stable, or ask for help. Be cautious when floors are wet while mopping. Always make sure the stairways are free of objects.
- Cuts: Washing knives, picking up broken glass, and dealing with sharp items, means cuts are par for the course. Be careful whenever you’re handling an object that could break. Wash knives and sharp objects individually instead of reaching into a sink full of soapy water for them. Rubber gloves offer a little extra protection as well.
- Breathing Problems: Your lungs can get irritated by dust, fumes from cleaning products, pet dander, etc. If you have allergies or asthma, coming into contact with certain irritants can trigger an attack. Try wearing a mask if you find that you’re having difficulty breathing. Opt for non-toxic, green cleaning products to further reduce harmful toxins. Don’t mix chemicals, such as bleach and ammonia, as it will produce toxic gas that can lead to shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, wheezing, and sometimes fluid in the lungs. Explosions have also occurred due to mixing.
- Eye Issues: If your eyes come into contact with cleaning products, it can lead to serious irritation. Again, try to use eco-friendly products and wear safety goggles if eye irritation is a risk. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions if a chemical enters your eye.
- Poisoning: Label all cleaning products and don’t forget to lock them back up in a cabinet as soon as your done using them. Children in particular are at a high risk for accidental poisoning. Using non-toxic formulas is always ideal.
- Burns: Water hotter than 120 degrees F will burn the skin within a few seconds. When washing dishes in hot water, wear rubber gloves. Be careful cleaning the oven and stove top. Chemical burns are also a common household hazard. Chemicals, such as those that contain strong bases and acids, have the potential to leave behind anything from skin irritation to third degree burns. Keep your skin protected while using harsh chemicals, or better yet, use natural cleaners.
Follow these tips for injury-free house cleaning. Be aware of the risks and then take the steps to avoid them. Switching to earth-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products and wearing protective clothing will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe. Or, you can call in a maid service company to do the job for you.