News Masthead


March 18, 2011 10:36 AM


Contact: Brian Sansoni, 202-662-2517/202-680-9327 or

Beware the Mix-at-Home Mix-up

  • Cleaning Product Labels Provide Specific Information on Safety, Usage, Storage

  • Do-it-Yourself Recipes Often Come Without Safety Assurances

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 18, 2011– When it comes to the safety of make-your-own cleaning products, you’re on your own.

National Poison Prevention Week (March 20-26, 2011) serves as an important reminder that keeping the home safe for children and pets is a year-round responsibility, according to the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI –

It is also crucial to remember that much of the advice to create your own cleaning product recipes doesn’t come with specific information on safe use, proper use, storage and ingredients.

"Safe and responsible use of cleaning products is a critical part of how cleaning products are researched, developed, manufactured, sold, used and recycled," said Nancy Bock, ACI Vice President of Consumer Education.

"Formulated products come with a wealth of information, through the product label, company websites, and toll-free hotlines.

"With safety in mind, we urge consumers to be wary of mix-at-home mix-ups.

"We completely understand that Americans exhibit a can-do and do-it-yourself ethic in all facets of life, including make-your-own cleaning products. But there’s often little safety, use or ingredient information offered by the purveyors of some of these schemes," Bock added.

ACI noted that in case of accidents caused by improper use or storage of cleaning products, most manufacturers have provided Poison Control Centers with specific information on product ingredients.

"Safe use is built-in to formulated cleaning products. Many of the mix-at-home concoctions don’t come with those assurances," Bock said.

ACI lists several reminders to safeguard family members and pets from accidental poisoning:

  • Install child-safety locks on cabinets that house cleaning supplies, medicines, cosmetics, chemicals and other poisons. Never assume a cabinet is too high for a curious, climbing toddler.
  •  Read and follow the product-label directions. Pay particular attention to products whose labels include the words "Caution," "Warning," "Danger" or "Poison."
  • Keep all household products in their original packages. Packaging includes useful first-aid information in the event of accidental exposure or ingestion. If you purchase these products in bulk quantities, buy a smaller size of the same product and refill this container, as needed.
  • Discard empty cleaning supply containers, including detergent containers. Do not use them for storage of any other materials, particularly those intended for human consumption.
  • Thoroughly wash with soap and water or in the dishwasher any utensils used in dispensing or measuring medicines.
  • Wash your hands after cleaning product usage.
  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after each use. Remember, however, that this type of packaging is "child-resistant" not "child-proof."  It is not a substitute for keeping products securely out of reach of young children.
  • Don’t mix household cleaning products. This could release harmful vapors or cause other chemical reactions that can have dangerous results.
  • Post the Poison Control Center phone number (1-800-222-1222) by every phone in your home and enter it into your cell phone’s contact list.

ACI is a longtime, active member of the Poison Prevention Week Council ( and offers online information for parents and educators about proper use of cleaning products. Visit ACI online at  for more information.

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The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI - formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI ( and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.