Auto-Pilot isn’t always the safest setting


You may have heard me a time or two on this blog complaining or worrying about summer – the season when I have all my kids under my feet 24/7 and I get a little crazy. Well, this summer so far, we are doing GREAT! Better than ever  before. I am committed to having fun with my kids and we are staying really active. But one result of this is that I am very distracted. My meal planning has tanked and so has my housework routine – dinner is sometimes late or hastily thrown together, my crock pot has failed to be started several times, and laundry is typically done the night before we need to wear it!

My routine is definitely not on auto-pilot. And you know what? That’s actually a good thing. Because sometimes when you’re in a routine and you’re rocking and rolling, you can forget about the little things that make your routine work, or you can put convenience ahead of safety without even realizing it. But what I really want to do is to make safety a natural part of my household routines. For instance, wearing a seat belt for safety in the car is automatic for me – I don’t even think twice about it, I just do it. I’d love to be that safety-minded about my routines inside the house as well.

For the next six months, Emily and I are proud to be working with the American Cleaning Institute to spread the message about laundry routine safety.  (I know, right, domestic *geniuses* like us working with the ACI?? Not funny at all.) As I’m sure you’ve experienced, laundry products have recently changed for the better with the advent of single-load liquid laundry packets. I LOVE them! They are so! very! convenient! Just toss it in and voila! No measuring, no spills…love.

The thing is that these packets are amazing when used properly, but can be dangerous in the hands of  curious kids –  they get into everything!  And we know these products are intended to be used by adults. That’s why it’s imperative if you use these products in your home to store them safely away from kids as soon as you get them in the house. Find a space that is either locked up or out of kids’ reach and store them there.

I’ve made some changes in my own home in this regard recently. After most grocery runs, it was my habit to leave the laundry detergent by our basement door (laundry is in the basement in our house) until the next time I went down. As Jonah became more active and sneaky, I realized this wouldn’t work any more. At two years old, he can get open the “safety gate” we have across our kitchen, so as soon as the laundry packets enter the house, I take them downstairs and store the container up high – just in case the little booger tries to sneak into the basement sometime for his next trick.

laundry supplies storage

My basement laundry storage. Not glamorous, but safe! I have to stand on my tiptoes to get the packets down.

To encourage laundry-doers like us with young children around, the American Cleaning Institute has a few tips to keep in mind and to insert into your laundry routine.

  • Out of Reach and Out of Sight – Don’t give those kiddos a chance to get into those single-load laundry packets!
  • Label Lessons – Keep those packets in their original packaging to avoid misuse.
  • Eye on the Prize – Focus on your task when you are doing laundry. Do it away from young kiddos to avoid distractions that could lead to a mishap.
  • Safe Handling is KEY – Know exactly how to use single-load laundry packts. Don’t let kids handle them, don’t puncture them or pull them apart, and keep them dry until they go in the wash – they’ll dissolve when wet!
  • Don’t wait, pack it up – Close the single-load laundry packets as soon as you are done with them.
  • Re-use = misuse – Don’t ever re-use single load liquid laundry packet containers for any reason. Especially not something that is intended for human consumption.

In short, these things are highly concentrated. Treat these packets just like you would any other common household cleaning product.  Keep them stored safely away from your kids and use them correctly! And always have Poison Control’s phone number easily accessible (a good rule of thumb no matter what!). Here it is if you need it: 1-800-222-1222.

Emily and I are excited about working with the ACI and helping parents like us to develop strategies to keep their cleaning routines convenient and their families safe! What are some of the safety measures you use with laundry products in your home?

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  1. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I love the single use packs for the dishwasher and for laundry, but I don’t always store them safely. My almost three year old knows where they are; so far we’ve had no problems, but I know that doesn’t guarantee he won’t get into them one day. Better run, time to flip the laundry!!

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