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Getting a Clean Start on Safety

Todays' suggestion for Something Good is just a quick tip from my kitchen to yours.

For some reason, the most logical place (in my mind) to keep chemicals and cleaners is under the sink in the kitchen.  My guess is that this is where my mother and grandmother kept them, because there seems to be some sort of deep genetic tug telling me to put these things under the sink.  However, when you think about it, under the sink is really a terrible place to keep anything labeled "harmful or fatal if swallowed!"  Talk about easy access for kids or pets.  Not only that, but a lot of the new all-purpose cleaners actually look like beverages because of color and packaging.

I don't have any children of my own at this point.  Come to think of it, there have probably only been children in this house five or six times since we moved in, but I still see this as a "better safe than sorry" exercise.  For me, it was easy enough to set up my house without storing cleaners at child (or puppy) level, simply because I was able to do it while unpacking and therefore didn't have any real predetermined ideas of where everything "lived" just yet.  It might be a little more complicated to rearrange things in your kitchen, but it's worth it.  Especially now that you've read this and it's going to start nagging at the back of your mind.  :-P

Instead of storing your cleaning stuff under the sink, try looking for a higher cupboard.  After doing this, I realized that one of the reasons Mom probably kept stuff under the sink is because she didn't need constant access to it.  I mean, most of us don't actually mop the floors or dust the furniture every day, right?  I've also found it useful to keep some of my cleaning supplies in a bucket next to the broom and mop so that when kids do come over, I can easily pick them all up and move them out of reach.

Finally, another great option is to cut back on - or stop altogether - use of chemical cleansers.  I've definitely cut back and am using either vinegar or dish soap for most of my big cleaning needs these days.  You could also try your hand at making your own non-toxic cleaners or use those from companies like Seventh Generation.

I know that a couple of our readers are expecting babies in the next year, so maybe this will be a jump-start to babyproofing your homes.  For those of you who already have kids, it might not be a bad idea to just do a double take around the house today and make sure you've got things set up as safely as possible.  If you're like me and don't have any little ones, it's still a great idea to make sure that you've got chemicals up where kids can't reach.  It's a little Something Good you can do for the children and pets in your life.

Comments

I'd never given this much thought. My household certainly follows the trend--both bathroom sinks and our kitchen sink hover over treasure troves of cleaning chemicals. I think my silent reasoning is that those areas are dank and unpleasant, there are holes where the pipes come through the drywall under there where all manner of creatures could crawl or slither their way in. I wouldn't be comfortable storing anything *but* cleaning chemicals and countless floral vases under there. I'll have to give this some thought! : )

Great topic. The usual solution I've seen is cabinet locks--but is that really the smartest thing to do? I've got work to do.
i think your reasoning for using the space is right on...there's nothing else that i can think of that i'd want to put under our kitchen sink, either!

We don't have kids yet, so i'm sure it'll be something that we reconsider when we move...in the meantime, i'm addicted to Seventh Generation products!
I'm with you on adding the extra level of caution.
Hmm. Maybe I'm lucky because my under-the-sink area isn't dank or icky. I use it to store cutting boards and pots and pans. Could you possibly clean it out and paint it (or have D paint it?) so that it doesn't seem like such a forbidden space anymore?
So about a month back, I switched to using vinegar as a cleaner in my house for lots of different surfaces - and I wanted to say *thank you*!

Now that I'm pregnant, I don't have to worry one bit about crazy toxic fumes while I'm cleaning, and no worries about the future baby drinking anything toxic :) It's awesome! And the vinegar works great
That is so awesome!

(Anonymous)

kids getting into products

check out Seventh Generation's blog The Inspired Protagonist, there is a funny story about a child getting into dish soap. exactly what your talking about!

www.inspiredprotagonist.com

Re: kids getting into products

Thanks for sharing the blog. I wasn't able to find the specific article you mentioned, though. Maybe I just didn't go back far enough . . . Still, there's a lot of good stuff!