With the novel coronavirus spreading throughout the world, health officials have urged people to practice good hygiene. This means thoroughly washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and avoiding touching your face after or while being outside and exposed to others.
We've come to realize how many things and surfaces we touch that could potentially be germ-ridden, like our smartphones (which are safe to sterilize (opens in new tab)). Commonly touched surfaces around our homes like doorknobs and countertops can harbor all kinds of germs and viruses, and in the age of COVID-19, we've taken cleaning to a whole new level. Between disinfectants and bleaches, there have been reported shortages of home cleaning products.
It's said that excessive exposure to chemical agents in cleaning products can make anyone feel ill. But the sudden uptick in use has resulted in an unfortunate rise in calls to poison centers, according to the CDC (opens in new tab). The severity of the cases range, but a common theme is that bleach and other germ-killing cleaning products are accidentally ingested, often by children who have gained access to a stockpile.
Following the uptick of poison reports, the CDC has issued some guidelines on how to properly manage your cleaning products to prevent anyone in your home from falling ill.
With so many reports floating about what is safe and what is not, all health experts agree: it is unsafe, and potentially deadly, to consume germ-killing household products to "kill" the coronavirus in the body.
CDC guidelines and safety tips
To "poison-proof" your home, the CDC recommends the following:
- Follow label instructions
- Don't mix chemicals
- Wear protective gear (bleaches and other chemicals are irritants to the skin_
- Use in a well-ventilated area
- Store chemicals out of reach from kids.
Storing chemicals in a high up place or under lock and key can save a life - this will prevent a wandering child from accidentally opening a bottle and ingesting its contents.
Not sure how to safely clean your home? We've compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you deep clean your home while in isolation (opens in new tab). For better air circulation in rooms you're cleaning, we recommend the best air purifiers (opens in new tab); for fresh carpeting, check out the best carpet cleaners (opens in new tab).