Lead-Safe Cleaning Guide

Lead exposure is a serious concern that can have severe health consequences, especially for young children and pregnant women. It’s essential to take steps to minimize the risks associated with lead contamination, especially if you suspect your home may contain lead-based paint or other sources of lead. In this blog post, we’ll discuss lead-safe cleaning tips to help you maintain a healthy and safe living environment for your family.

Homeowner and Tenant Cleaning Guide: Lead Paint Chips and Dust

Overview of Lead-Safe Cleaning Tips

  1. Put on Rubber Gloves: When cleaning areas that may have lead, always start by putting on rubber gloves. If you don’t have gloves, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning to minimize the risk of lead exposure.
  2. Use Soapy Cleaners or Lead Dust Removal Products: Opt for cleaning products specifically designed to remove lead dust or soapy cleaners. Ensure that these products are disposable, as you’ll want to discard them after use.
  3. Remove Paint Chips: In older homes, peeling paint can often contain lead. Start by carefully removing any paint chips you come across. Window areas and porches are common places to find peeling paint and lead dust.
  4. Dispose of Paint Chips Properly: Collect the paint chips you’ve removed in a plastic bag and seal it securely. Proper disposal is crucial to prevent further contamination.
  5. Clean Floors and Window Sills: Use a wet paper towel or disposable cleaning product to clean floors and window sills thoroughly. Avoid using brooms, as they can stir up lead dust into the air.
  6. Rinse Surfaces After Cleaning: After cleaning, rinse the surfaces with clean water and fresh paper towels to remove any residual cleaning agents or lead dust. Always dispose of wash water down a toilet.
  7. Regular Cleaning Maintenance: It’s essential to maintain a regular cleaning schedule. Repeat these cleaning steps weekly or whenever you notice dirt and dust accumulating on floors, porches, window wells, window sills, stairs, and children’s play areas.
  8. Avoid Brooming Lead Dust: As mentioned earlier, never use a broom to clean lead-contaminated areas, as it can release lead dust into the air, increasing the risk of exposure.
  9. Dispose of Contaminated Clothes: When you finish cleaning a specific area, discard the clothes you were wearing during the cleaning process. This prevents the spread of lead dust to other parts of your home.
  10. Consider Using a HEPA Vacuum: A High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum is an excellent tool for effectively removing lead dust. If you don’t own one, you can borrow a HEPA vacuum from your local health department. In Kent County, for example, you can contact the Kent County Health Department at (616) 632-7063.

Additional resources for lead-safe cleaning:

State of Michigan Lead-Safe Cleaning Guide

Download a PDF guide to ensure you are not spreading lead from paint chips and dust while cleaning.

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