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Safe Use and Alternatives

Safe Storage of Household Chemicals

The upkeep of a home usually involves different and multiple products containing hazardous chemicals. For the safety of people and the environment, safe use and storage is mandatory.

  • Keep products out of reach of children and petsboy and dog
  • Store hazardous products away from food items
  • Make sure lids are on tight and child-proofed, if possible.
  • Store corrosive, flammable, and poisonous products on separate shelves.
  • Do not mix products together in the same container.
  • Do not store products where they might freeze and possibly cause rupturing of the container.
  • Keep products in a dry area to prevent rust and possible leaking of the contents.
  • If label is falling off, tape it back on.
  • If label is missing, re-label container.
  • Keep products away from heat, sparks, flames, or sources of ignition such as hot water heaters and car engines.
  • Never put a hazardous product in a food or beverage container.

Always Read the Label

It is very important that you read the labels on products containing chemicals. Please put these points into practice:

  • Make sure you use the appropriate safety protection methods recommended on the product's label (e.g., wearing gloves, using respiratory protection)
  • Make sure you have read and understood the hazards of using the product. Look for signal words, such as Danger or Poison on the most hazardous products, Warning or Caution on less hazardous products.
  • Make sure you use the product only per label instructions.
  • Make sure the product is for consumer use. Do not use industrial-grade products in your home.
  • Make sure you can use the product in a safe location per label instructions (e.g., adequate ventilation, no open flames)
  • Make sure the label is always readable -- it contains very important first aid procedures.
  • Make sure the product is only used for its labeled purpose. For example, a pesticide labeled to kill fleas and ticks in the yard is not formulated to spray on a pet for pest control.
  • Make sure you dispose of the product per label instructions. In Johnson County, unwanted hazardous products can be taken to the Household Hazardous Materials Collections Facility.

Safer Alternatives to Household Hazardous Chemicals

Although the suggested mixtures have less hazardous ingredients than many commercial cleaners and pesticides, they should be used and stored with similar caution.

  • Bathroom Cleaner: Mix baking soda and water for an all purpose bathroom and kitchen cleaner. It will clean but not disinfect.Girl with globe
  • Deodorizer/Air Freshener: Simmer cinnamon and cloves. Put vinegar out in saucers.
  • Drain Cleaner: Use a plunger or a plumber's snake. Put equal parts baking soda and vinegar down the drain followed by boiling water.
  • Flea and Tick Control: Use a flea comb. Bathe pet regularly. Put brewer's yeast or garlic in pet food. Sprinkle fennel, rue, rosemary, or eucalyptus seeds or leaves around pet bedding.
  • Furniture Polish: Mix 2 parts vegetable oil and 1 part lemon juice.
  • Glass and Window Cleaner: Vinegar and water.
  • Lime and Mineral Deposit Remover: Soak faucets and shower heads in vinegar.
  • Metal Cleaner/Polish: Creme of tartar removes stains from aluminum cookware. Worcestershire sauce will clean and polish unlacquered brass. Toothpaste will clean tarnish off gold and silver (not silver plate). Vinegar and salt will clean copper.
  • Moth Balls: Cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mint or white peppercorns.
  • Oven Cleaner: Clean spills as soon as the oven cools using steel wool and baking soda.
  • Pests: Boric acid will kill ants and roaches when spread liberally around points of entry. Should not be applied where children or pets are likely to come in contact with it.
  • Rat/Mouse Poison: Snap or live traps.
  • Rug Deodorizer: Sprinkle baking soda liberally on carpet, let sit and then vacuum.
  • Spot Cleaners: Club soda applied immediately. Wash as usual.


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