Health Officials Warn About Potential Dangers of Mixing Cleaning Chemicals

Apr 17, 2020

The Illinois Poison Center urges people to use caution with cleaning products, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The center says exposures to cleaning products are up 30-percent as people try to disinfect their homes.

Shawnna Rhine with Southern Seven Health Department says people are starting to use non-traditional chemicals for cleaning purposes.

"They're wanting to wash their hands with bleach, hydrogen peroxide, things of that nature, instead of using regular hand soap. That's causing rash problems, irritation problems on the skin. Also, we're seeing people who want to wash their groceries with bleach, wipes, cleaning powders, things of that nature. You do NOT want to wash your produce with any of those items, just washing them with warm water is sufficient."

She says another big concern is adults leaving cleaning chemicals out where children can get to them.

"Kids are hearing about these things too. They're starting to understand --even at a very young age -- that bleach is used to clean. So, we don't want them to ingest those or to use those things improperly."

Rhine says another danger is mixing chemicals can become toxic -- to make hand sanitizer for example.

She says the good news is approximately 90% of poison exposures can be treated safely and effectively at home.