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Survey: 85 Percent of Americans Say Cleaning Products Are Safe When Used as Directed

  • Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) Offers Home Safety Checklist for Parents
  • National Poison Prevention Week: March 16-22, 2008

Survey Recap

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 12, 2008 – More than eight out of ten Americans recognize that the cleaning products they buy are safe when used as directed, according to a survey for The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA).

Among 1,013 adults surveyed for SDA by International Communications Research (ICR), a strong majority believe the cleaning products they use are “very safe” (27%) or “safe” (58%) when used as directed.

“The proper and safe use of cleaning products is as important as their effectiveness,” said Nancy Bock, SDA Vice President of Education. “We strongly encourage consumers to read the cleaning product label, use it properly and safely, and to store it securely.”

Bock, who has served as the Chair of the National Poison Prevention Week Council the past three years, offered a checklist of home safety tips for parents with small children:

  • 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.
  • 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 use this container for refills.
  • 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’s not a substitute for keeping products securely out of reach of young children.
  • Read and follow the product-label directions. Pay particular attention to products whose labels include the words “Caution,” “Warning,” “Danger” or “Poison.”
  • Take out only the amount of cleaning product needed for the job at hand. Store the rest away securely so there’s no chance that small explorers will get their hands on it.
  • Don’t mix household cleaning products. This could release harmful vapors or cause other chemical reactions that can have dangerous results.
  • Don’t leave cleaning buckets unattended. Even those with a small amount of liquid pose a danger to “top-heavy” toddlers. If the child falls into a bucket, it may not tip over and he or she could drown. The product could also spill onto a child’s sensitive skin.
  • Schedule cleaning during “down times” such as nap time or when children are in school or on a play date.
  • Immediately clean up any spillage. Quickly and safely dispose of rags, paper towels, etc., that you have used for cleanup.
  • Avoid distractions or interruptions when children are present during cleaning. If you answer the door, take the child with you. If the phone rings, let the answering machine do its job.
  • Know where to call for help. Post the Poison Control Center phone number (1-800-222-1222), along with other emergency numbers, by every land phone in your home and enter them into your cell phone’s address book.

National Poison Prevention Week takes place March 16-22, 2008. Visit SDA’s website for more information on the safe, proper and beneficial use of cleaning products, at



International Communications Research (ICR) questioned 1,013 American adults (507 men and 506 women) via telephone in January/February 2008 for The Soap and Detergent Association. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

How safe do you believe the cleaning products you buy are, when used as directed?


  • Very safe (27%)
  • Safe (58%)
  • Not very safe (10%)
  • Not at all safe (3%)