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Cleaning Concoctions Best Left to Experts

Industry group says, 'Think twice before mixing once' to avoid harm

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Mixing your own cleaning products at home could be a recipe for disaster.

The Soap and Detergent Association warns consumers that instead of saving money or creating a more effective cleaner, you might be creating a safety hazard for yourself and others.

Homemade cleaners, even those made with natural products, could cause harm to the user, others and even the item that is being cleaned, the association says.

"When it comes to making your own cleaning products, consumers should think twice before mixing once," Nancy Bock, the association's vice president for education, said in a news release issued by the group. "There can be serious safety implications if proper care is not taken. In the frantic haste of an emergency situation, will the person who made the mix-at-home product know exactly what to tell a Poison Control Center on the phone?"

Also, if left unlabeled or improperly stored, the cleaner might accidentally be consumed by someone, especially a child or pet, the association says, And, without proper testing, the concoction might prove to be an irritant to skin or eyes or damaging to a wood floor or a kitchen counter.

Whether cleaning products come from a store or are created at home, the association recommends these precautions be taken:

  • Close caps securely. This is essential, even if the packaging is supposedly child-resistant.
  • Lock up products. When not in use, keep them where children and pets can't get to them, using child-resistant locks on cabinets and doors, if needed. Also, never store cleaners with food.
  • Retain original containers. The label should have information about the product's contents and advice on immediate first-aid if an accident occurs.
  • Dispose of empty cleaning containers properly. Replace caps and discard in a sealed recycling bin or garbage container, away from children and pets.
  • Know who to call in an emergency. If a poison-related emergency occurs, call the U.S. Poison Control Center's hot line at 800-222-1222.

The association suggests posting the emergency number near all home phones and adding it to all cell phones.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more poison prevention tips.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: The Soap and Detergent Association, news release, March 2009

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