Cleaning bottle secrets revealed. Do you know what the danger or warnings on the labels mean? And do you know there is a psychology and science behind each different type of bottle used for cleaning chemicals?
And did you know there are global standards for labeling your cleaning chemicals or secondary bottles? Check it out now.
Listen: Cleaning Bottle Secrets Revealed
Watch: Cleaning Bottle Secrets Revealed
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
What are Your Cleaning Supplies Trying to Tell You?
What are your cleaning supplies trying to tell you? Did you know that on every single container of cleaning supplies or solution that you buy inside your grocery store shelves has a message for you? Now, right now in 2021, we are going through nine, 10, 12 months of the COVID pandemic. And right now cleaning supplies are very short in supply. So what’s happening right now globally is we have people that are buying cleaning supplies by the concentrate. This is a gallon of cleaning supply, it’s a disinfectant, and it can be diluted into 32 gallons of cleaning supplies.
Lots of house cleaners are buying empty bottles and they are adding their own versions, their own dilutions of the bigger product. So this is now a diluted version of the concentrate.
Your Cleaning Bottle is Trying to Tell You Something
But one of the things that’s interesting, and I want to bring this to your attention today, is that the bottle of cleaning supply itself, the original bottle, has a label with a whole bunch of things that it’s trying to tell you, and I want to cover that today.
But before I cover what’s on the label, I want to talk about the bottles themselves. Now, in the pandemic, lots of people are reusing existing cleaning supply bottles. Did you know that there’s a psychology and a science behind cleaning chemical bottles? It’s true.
Check this out, if I hold this up and I don’t tell you what the brand of this is, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see this jug? If you said dish soap, you are correct. This is the type of bottle that is used for dish soap.
Be Careful When Moving Liquids
So if you take some dish soap from another container and you have to put it in an empty container, put it in another bottle that says dish soap. You would not want to put it in a jug like this because this says, drink me.
So if you put it in something like this, it is possible that a child or a person that’s not paying attention could drink your dish soap. Oh, gross. When I hold up this kind of a bottle, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If you said glass cleaner, you are correct. This is what a glass cleaner bottle looks like.
The reason it looks this way and it’s clear is so that we can see in, we can see that it’s blue. Did you know that most glass cleaners are artificially colored blue so that at a conscious level and an unconscious level you will say, “Oh, glass cleaner.”
We Have Perceptions of Different Types of Bottles
If I hold up a jug like this, do you think glass cleaner? No, you do not, you think furniture polish. Why? Because of the color and because of the style of the bottle. This is the type of bottle you would use for a furniture polish bottle. When I hold up a bottle like this, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
If you said fabric, you are correct. This is not the type of bottle you would use if you were cleaning glass. Just the shape of the bottle and the way the bottle is designed makes you think of fabric. Now, when I hold up this, what is the first thing that you think of? Because of the shape of the lid, the first thing that you’re going to think of is his furniture polish.
Why? Because this is what furniture polish looks like if it’s not a liquid, like the other container I showed you. So it’s also a common color because at first glance with the color, the shape of the lid, we immediately think, regardless of the brand, we think furniture polish.
Every Container Has Its Own Psychology
Now, if you go to Costco or Sam’s or some of these big discount outlets and you buy a great big enormous tub of soap and you are going to put it in a smaller container, what kind of soap would you buy? If you said laundry soap, you are correct.
This is a laundry soap container, it looks different from our glass cleaner and from our furniture polish because this looks like a laundry soap container. So every single container has its own psychology because we want you to think of a certain thing even if you don’t know the label.
When you see this, do you think of bleach? Yes, you do. Why? Because this is what a bleach container looks like with the blue lid.
Heavy Duty Chemicals Have a Different Type of Container
Heavy duty chemicals. Beware this is for repairs. Yes, because it’s a very different type of container than the normal cleaning chemical bottles that we use.
So if, if, if you have to replace what’s inside a jug, you’re taking a bigger concentrate and you’re putting it into a smaller jug, use the same type of container so that dish soap goes in dish soap, laundry soap goes in laundry soap, and so on.
We do not want to mix the types of bottles because unconsciously people will grab that type of bottle and they go to use it on what they think that it’s for even without checking the label.
What is OSHA?
Which takes us to the next part, which is the label. Now, OSHA, which is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States has a labeling program called HazCom, stands for Hazard Communication.
It’s super important that we understand that when you’re taking a great big container like this and you’re putting it as a diluted version into a smaller container, that you also have a label that you have fixed to that container. The reason being is it’s going to have six pieces of information that you need to keep safe.
So, the first piece of information is the product identifier, and that’s going to tell you that that particular product is OdoBan. And this is not sponsored, I’m using this as an example. But it’s going to tell you what that is and that it is a disinfectant, so it’s going to be an identifier of the product.
Also Look for Signal Words on the Label
The second thing that is going to be on that label is going to be a signal word. Now, there are two signal words and the first one is danger, which means whatever’s inside this bottle is really, really bad, and the next one is warning.
So we’ll either have danger or warning. Warning means it could be bad so just be careful. So it will either say danger or warning. There’s also a hazard statement, and the hazard statement will say something like, this product is reactive or this product is flammable or something like that so you can take extra precautions.
Pay Attention to the Precuationary Statement
Now, there will be the next piece of information, a precautionary statement. The precautionary statement has four parts, it’s either going to be prevention, response, storage, or disposal. So the prevention would be used in a well ventilated area.
We’re going to prevent accidents or we’re going to prevent inhalation by using a well ventilated area. The second area is response, the response is if you do breathe at this, go to fresh air so that you can recycle your breathing and you can breathe clean again. The storage information would be something like, keep out of the reach of small children and pets.
And the disposal information would include something like, okay to recycle with your regular household trash. So it’s going to have one of those four precautionary statements on the label itself that you’re fixing to the jug that you’re pouring the new chemicals into.
How to Read the Pictogram
All right, so then the next thing that it’s going to have is a pictogram. Now, a pictogram is one of nine different universally recognized hazard warnings. The pictogram is a white box with a red frame, and then there’s a little black box picture in the middle.
It either shows an explosive or it shows somebody with heart problems or something like that, which either explains it’s toxic or it’s flammable or it’s combustible or it’s bad for the environment or something like that.
So it’s going to have a pictogram as well. Then the last piece of information that has to go by the OSHA standards on the label that you are relabeling your container is the contact information of the manufacturer, their address, their email, and their phone number.
How Do You Get the Labels on Your Container
Now you say, “How do I get all that stuff on a label if I’m just using my own container?” So there are a couple of ways to do this. The first one is OdoBan because they’ve thought well through this process, they have these printable labels on their website.
So if you’re buying the gallons of containers which are now readily available in your Walmarts and your Home Depots in your Lowe’s and all the different places, they’ve done an amazing job keeping us stocked with OdoBan disinfectant and sanitizing during the pandemic. So if you’re using that, they have principal labels right from their website.
You print it, you put the date, you check off the information, and now you just put a piece of packing tape over the top of the label so that it’s a clear label and when it gets wet it doesn’t bleed. So, this is awesome as far as printing that from their website.
You Can Also Buy OSHA Stickers
OSHA also has created some stickers that you can buy, and I will leave links in the show notes. And it has all the stuff already printed on the labels, so there’s a place where you just write in with an ink pen, you write in the label identifier, you write the MSDS or the SDS number, which is the safety data sheet, which is the corresponding information to the chemical itself.
All right, the next thing is it already has the reactive stuff on there and you just check it off, “oh, this product is flammable” for example. Then it has the precautionary statements and it has a little list of things that will help keep you safe.
Like, do you wear gloves or goggles or whatever, and then you check them off as you go. Then at the bottom, there’s a place that you can write in the phone number and the email address of the company in case you have a question and you’re out on a job.
This is Important for Cleaners and Homeowners
Now, the reason this is so important and the reason I’m sharing this with you, even though I know lots of household owners also watch this show, the reason that this is important is because right now a lot of people are using and reusing containers for other things.
So for example, they go outside and the rose bushes need some bug spray. They buy a big concentrate of bug spray but they don’t have a sprayer. So they take a regular container and they pour out the supply into another jug, what other jug did you pour it into?
Did you pour it in a similar jug so that it never gets confused? We would never pour a cleaning solution into something that can be confused for something else. Like I said, there’s a psychology and a science behind the types of containers we use.
Changing Containers Can Cause Confusion
But they’re taking a container and they’re pouring their own, let’s say it’s bug spray, they’ve put it inside a glass cleaning bottle, for example. Then they go out and they spray, they come in from the job and they’re tired so they just leave the container there.
Then what happens is either a house cleaner comes over or someone in the house decides that they’re going to clean and they think it’s glass cleaner.
They grab that bottle, and without knowing what’s inside because it’s not labeled any differently, they start spraying around. Now they’ve got this white milky film on their glass and their mirrors and they have no idea why.
Now is More Important Than Ever for Labels
So if, if, if you’re going to use a recycled jug, it is more important than ever that we have a label affixed to it so that you know what’s inside and so that everyone in your household knows what’s inside so that you can stay safe. I cannot tell you how many times we’ve gone into a home to clean out a linen closet or clean out from underneath the bathroom sink and there are cleaning chemicals.
I know because I know the cleaning chemicals, this is supposed to be a green cleaning supply and what’s inside is an orange cleaner of some sort. So, I know immediately they’ve taken something from another container and they’ve put it inside this jug.
Then I asked the homeowner what’s inside here? They don’t remember. You’re going to remember the same day but you’re not going to remember six months from now.
Include the Date on the Labels
One of the most important things also with these fixed labels that you put on here is to include the date because we know that most cleaning supplies have a 12 to 18 month life cycle before they become ineffective or unstable.
So if this is three years old or five years old and it’s been sitting underneath your bathroom cupboard, this is no longer good. So we want to make sure that we have the proper name, we have the information that’s supposed to be on the label, and then also the date of when you mixed the chemical or diluted it and put it inside your container.
This is what your cleaning supply is trying to tell you. It’s trying to give you all this information to help keep you safe and help keep your family safe so that you don’t damage your property by using the wrong cleaning chemical on a surface that it’s not intended for.
Odoban Printable Labels http://bit.ly/OdobanPrintLabels
OSHA: Premade Chemical Labels
GHS Labels, SDS OSHA Labels – https://amzn.to/3qRmBje
Right to Know Blank Labels https://amzn.to/2Ycg3zl
Permissions To Share
Savvy Cleaner Training – House Cleaner Training and Certification
My Cleaning Connection – Your hub for all things cleaning.
HouseCleaning360 – A hub connecting homeowners with house cleaners
Savvy Perks – Employee benefits for your employees.
Turnover Cleaning Tips – for Vacation Rental and Airbnb Hosts