Some household messes need heavy-duty cleaning. Ovens with burned-on grease, rust deposits in sinks, stains on flooring—all of these and more may require you to use cleaning products that can have harsh effects on your health. You want a dirt-free and sanitary home, but you should take steps to protect your health while cleaning.

Wear Gloves

Soaps, detergents, and other cleaning products can be rough on the skin. Even if the soap is mild or allergen-free, keeping your hands in water too long can take its toll. Your skin can become dry, red, and flaky. This can be a serious problem for people with sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema.

Wearing gloves while cleaning can prevent any harmful substances from touching your hands. Reusable vinyl gloves are an option, but remember to wash and dry them correctly. You can also use disposable vinyl or nitrile gloves, which offer a tighter fit. The downside is they will not cover your wrists and forearms.

Use Natural Products

Harsh chemicals aren’t always necessary; in fact, sometimes natural cleaners will clean even better than commercially-produced products. You can clean just about anything effectively with a combination of vinegar and baking soda. Used together, they create a cleansing foam that lifts out dirt and grime naturally.

There are also other uses. Baking soda is gently abrasive, so you can use it to scrub sinks, bathtubs, and appliances. Vinegar is great for unclogging and freshening drains and faucets. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to get rid of pests like ants.

Ventilate the Room

A few cleaning products don’t just smell bad, they’re actually harmful to your health. Ammonia is a prime example. Inhalation of ammonia fumes can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs. For people with asthma and other concerns, just a little exposure can hurt.

For your safety, keep windows open or run a floor fan when working with strong-smelling cleaning products. You may also want to wear safety goggles and a mask when using them. If the room has no window that can be opened, such as in a bathroom, leave the room unoccupied until the odor subsides.

Cleaning is necessary, but so is protecting your health and wellbeing. Always read labels on cleaning products and follow the cautions that are recommended. Substitute natural products when possible, and keep your skin, eyes, and lungs protected.

Check out this article on simple tips for cleaning your kitchen appliances!