Cleaning and Lead Poisoning Prevention

Practice Good Hygiene

Small children have hand-to-mouth tendencies, so they often place items such as hands and toys in their mouth. If these items are contaminated with lead, a child can become lead poisoned by ingesting small amounts of lead. Regularly washing these items is an important step to prevent lead poisoning.

  • Wash children’s hands, face, and mouth often, especially before every meal and before naptime.
  • Wash toys, pacifiers, and bottles, especially after they fall on the floor.
  • Wash surfaces frequently and thoroughly where food is prepared.
  • Wash clothes contaminated with lead separately from others.
  • Keep fingernails short so that lead dust cannot be easily trapped.

Lead Dust Control

Lead dust can come from chipping or peeling lead paint. Also, lead dust can enter your home from outside. You can control how much lead dust is created or enters the home by:

  • Frequently cleaning the house and wiping down surfaces.
  • Picking up paint chips that you find on the floor, inside windows, or in other places where your children play.
  • Having people remove their shoes before coming indoors.
  • Placing washable doormats at all entries of your home and wash them weekly.
  • If you remodel or renovate certain areas, follow lead-safe procedures

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Hard Surfaces and Floors

Lead dust can accumulate on surfaces inside a home, which can exposure children to unsafe levels of lead. To clean properly:

  • Wipe or dust flat surfaces with a wet rag or paper towel on a frequent basis.
  • Wipe down walls, window sills, steps, grates, registers, baseboards, and other hard surfaces weekly.
  • Wet sweep floors before mopping by spraying floor with cleaning solution or water, then sweep.
  • Do not dry sweep

Cleaning Carpeted Floors

  • If you know your carpet is contaminated, consider removing the old carpet. Replacing carpeting with nonporous flooring such as tile or wood makes it easier to clean and it traps less lead dust.
  • Do not use a regular household vacuum cleaner to clean up lead paint chips or peeling paint. Instead, use a HEPA vacuum rated for lead dust so that lead dust does not contaminate the air.
  • Some communities or hardware stores may sell or offer a loaner HEPA vacuum for household where children have lead poisoning.


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