It is the time of the year when the temperature starts to climb and the nicer weather turns to thoughts of Spring Cleaning.  Open those windows and let in the fresh air and emerge from your winter hibernation!

As you start to tackle those spring cleaning projects take notice of the products and chemicals you use to make your place shine like new.  What you may not realize is that in the process of cleaning, you may be actually putting yourself in harm’s way!

Many of the common cleaning supplies have harsh chemicals that can cause burns or irritation if they come in contact with your skin.  If these chemicals get into your eyes, you could do some real damage.  Always use your household cleaners according to the instructions.  Don’t think that twice the amount will get your house twice as clean.  It doesn’t work that way, and all you are doing is increasing the chance of hurting yourself.  Reduce the chance of skin or eye irritation by switching to green cleaners which contain fewer potentially dangerous chemicals.

You may not be able to completely eliminate the use of bleach or ammonia in your cleaning, but you can limit your exposure.   Before you start, make a list of the things you want to accomplish in your cleaning.  Note all of the tasks that definitely require these harsh chemicals and take care of those items all at one.

Most importantly with these chemicals… do not mix them!  You can inadvertently create an extremely dangerous combination that can cause extreme irritation or even a highly toxic poison gas.  If you combine bleach and ammonia, for instance, you get chlorine gas which is highly toxic.  Protip: do not mix bleach and ammonia.

You definitely want to ventilate your home while you are cleaning.  In a closed in area, even green cleaners with few chemicals can start to be dangerous and irritating.  Wash your hands frequently.  Even if you are wearing gloves (another protip: wear gloves) you will get chemicals on your hands.  If you then touch your face and eyes, you can wind up with a serious problem.

Chemicals are not the only problem with spring cleaning.  As we clean a lot of dust and other particles start to fly around, any of which could wind up lodged in your eye.  In the house, you are dealing with dust, but if you are mowing the lawn or working outdoors, your tools can kick up a twig or a rock.  You should always wear eye protection to deflect anything from lodging in or scratching your eyes.

Lastly, how many times have you done some cleaning and noticed evidence of some little critters that made themselves at home in house.  And by evidence, we mean droppings.  This can be a dangerous situation itself since these droppings could become airborne irritants, and if you are not careful, and touch it, then it can find its way into your eyes.  Try not to think about that.  If you see this sort of thing, you may want to call a professional.

While you are working around the house, if you notice your eyes start to hurt or are read and swollen or you get an object in your eye, stop what you are doing.  If the irritation does not go away after rinsing with water, you should see an optometrist.