5 Dangerous Mistakes to Avoid When Using Cleaning Products

Plus, the safest way to store harsh chemical cleaners.

No one likes the sound of "harsh chemicals." But here are some words we like even less: germs, bacteria, microorganisms. Powerful cleaners like bleach and ammonia are known to destroy 99.9 percent of said microorganisms, and we're all for harnessing their potent disinfecting power. So it's worth a refresher on the right way to use and maintain them to keep us and our families safe.

Truth is, some chemical-based cleaners are dangerous if not handled correctly. Here are some common mistakes to avoid, along with the right way to store all of the new additions to your cleaning supply stash.

01 of 05

Never Mix Bleach With Other Cleaners

You've probably heard before that you should never mix bleach with ammonia—this hazardous combo produces toxic chloramine gas. But to be extra safe, avoid mixing bleach with any other cleaners. Combining bleach and vinegar or bleach and rubbing alcohol is also dangerous. Plus, many cleaning products contain these ingredients, so if you don't read the fine print, you may not even know what chemicals you're combining. To play it safe, only dilute bleach with water and never mix it with other products.

RELATED: 7 Cleaning Mistakes That Are Actually Unsafe

02 of 05

Don't Forget to Ventilate

When using chemical cleaners, keep the room well ventilated so you don't breathe in as many fumes. Opening a window or a door and turning on a fan can help. Try to keep your cleaning routine fast and efficient so you're not exposed to these chemicals for too long.

If you can, limit the chemical cleaners to high-touch surfaces (countertops, doorknobs, faucets) and continue to use more natural solutions on other areas, such as windows and mirrors.

03 of 05

Rethink Your Cleaning Supply Storage

If you typically store cleaning supplies under your kitchen sink, you may want to reconsider. Especially if you have children or pets, this is an easy spot for them to access.

First, read the storage recommendations on each product. Then, pick a spot that kids and pets can't reach, like a shelf in a closet. Stop short of storing them above eye level, where they'll be difficult for you to reach and could potentially spill. Avoid spots that experience extreme temperature fluctuations, like the garage or basement.

If you own a label maker, time to pull it out! Clearly label each bottle so everyone in your household knows what chemicals they're working with. Similarly, avoid decanting cleaners into unmarked bottles or cups, but keep them in their original containers if possible.

04 of 05

Only Use Products for Their Intended Purpose

If you have cleaning wipes designed for household surfaces, don't use them to clean your hands. Sanitizing products intended for use on your hands or body are formulated differently than those created for countertops, faucets, and doorknobs. Household cleaning products have not been tested or approved for use on your hands—and in fact, it's a good idea to wear gloves while using them and wash your hands afterward.

Never, ever ingest household cleaning products—and don't use them to clean produce either. If you ever have any questions or concerns, call the National Poison Control center hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

05 of 05

Don't Flush Them

First, check if the label has directions for disposal. To avoid a clog, don't flush down the toilet any cleaning wipes that are supposed to be thrown in the trash. For chemical cleaners, call your local hazardous waste disposal facility for their recommendations and to see if they're planning a collection day.

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