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Safer Household Cleaners

safe cleaning

HEAL can help support child care providers to learn more about Eco Child Care.

Eco Child Care is part of the Children's Environmental Health Network that advocates for children's health through leading research.

For more info contact Madelene McCann, HEAL Educational Coordinator 415.491.5784 or email at

Household Chemicals & Health Concerns

Household chemicals can be toxic to our health and to our environment. A wide variety of toxic or hazardous chemicals are routinely used as ingredients for cleaning products. Household chemicals can make indoor air unhealthy to breathe, irritate the skin and eyes, harm the respiratory tract and pollute the natural environment. Children are especially vulnerable to toxic chemicals because their bodies and organs are still developing. Children can be exposed to toxic chemicals through inhalation, skin and eye contact, and ingestion.

Choose Safer Cleaning Products

Safer cleaning products are not only less toxic and environmentally safe, but they also often cost the same as conventional cleaners. Green Seal and EcoLogo are non-profit companies that research and certify products that are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Visit and/or to verify whether the products you use are safe, healthy and effective. Additionally, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created Safer Choice. This label verifies that the product ingredients have been thoroughly reviewed by the EPA review. EPA also has Safer Choice Fragrance-Free, a label for products without fragrance.

Visit for more information.

Properly Sanitize and Disinfect

Properly diluted unscented regular strength household bleach is commonly used to sanitize and disinfect as it is easily accessible and affordable. IMPORTANT: Household bleach is now being sold in a variety of concentrations. It is very important to identify the concentration of sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient, in the product you purchase so that you can mix the correct amount of bleach and water. Keep in mind that there are safe, effective alternatives to chlorine bleach. Healthier options are peroxide-based bleach products that are registered by EPA. Remember to always use the least-toxic cleaner, sanitizer, or disinfectant. For EPA-registered sanitizers and disinfectants, visit: saferchoice.

Aerosols Keep aerosol spray away! Aerosol sprays - such as deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, furniture polish and air fresheners - spew invisible droplets of chemicals into the air. The invisible droplets are inhaled by children and can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.

Household Chemicals Resources

Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Educa-tion

Programs, 3rd Edition (See Appendix J for information on Bleach)

Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting: A Toolkit for Early Care and Education

Eco-Healthy FAQs on Fragrances

Guidelines for Mixing Bleach Solutions for Child Care and Similar Environments

Bleach Solutions

Eco-Healthy Child Care® is a science-based, award-winning national program that seeks to improve the environmental health of children by partnering with child care professionals to eliminate or reduce environmental health hazards found in child care facilities.

Copyright © 2016 Children’s Environmental Health Network

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