You don’t clean the natural way
But perhaps the safest way to clean is to avoid cleaning products altogether. Steinemann advises using “vinegar, baking soda, hot water, a cut lemon or a cut orange, airing things out, sunshine, and ventilation.” Maker says that plain soap and water is enough for most jobs. In addition, there are some products you don’t need to use, ever. “Avoid conventional drain cleaners – ingredients in them can be caustic – and use a drain snake instead,” Geller says. In addition, “furniture polishes can leave sticky residues which attract dirt and dust,” she says. “Use your own DIY polish using olive oil and lemon juice.”
You’re not wearing protective gear
Definitely wear a mask, gloves, and even goggles when cleaning – depending on what task you’re doing. “Gloves can be very helpful to protect the skin, and goggles may be imperative to protect the eyes when working with chemicals,” Dr Caudle says. When dusting, Geller says, “wear a face mask or respirator labelled N95 or P100; they’re available at most hardware stores and they filter 95 to 100 percent of particulates.” For general cleaning, Maker says she doesn’t usually use protective gear, but it’s perfect for more intense jobs like those you might do for spring cleaning. “If you’re cleaning out a crawl space, or an attic, or something that’s super dusty it makes sense to wear protective gear,” she says. Plus, “use gloves if you’re using really hot water and you want to protect your hands; if you’re changing a vacuum filter and you have dust allergies, wearing a mask is a great idea.”
You don’t follow the instructions
Cleaning might seem obvious, but you really should read the product instructions so you know you’re not putting yourself in harm’s way. “Always follow proper dosing and dilution instructions as recommended by the manufacturer,” Geller says. Using more won’t necessarily get you better results; in fact, “it leaves behind residues and exposes you and your family to a higher concentration of chemicals in the home,” says Geller.
It is important to read the warning labels on products to know the safe way to use them, and also for first aid instructions if exposure occurs. Maker notes that the product instructions will also let you know the amount of “dwell time” it needs to actually get rid of germs.