Decoding Cleaning Chemical Labels: What To Look For And What To Avoid

March 22, 2024


When it comes to cleaning our homes and workplaces, we often reach for the most powerful products on the shelf with a single goal in mind: to disinfect and shine every surface possible. But within those bottles and containers lie complex chemicals that may carry potential risks to our health and environment.

Understanding the labels of cleaning chemicals is an essential step toward making informed choices, ensuring safety in our cleaning habits, and minimizing our ecological footprint. That’s why it is important to read and understand the labels on cleaning products before using them.

In this blog post, as a reliable cleaning products supplier, we will explain how to decode chemical labels what to look for and what to avoid when choosing a cleaning product. We will also share some tips on how to use cleaning products safely and effectively.

Cleaning Chemical Labels

Cleaning chemical labels are the information printed on the packaging of cleaning products. They provide important information about the product, such as its name, ingredients, directions, warnings, and disposal instructions. These labels are regulated by various authorities, such as the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Health Canada.

Cleaning chemical labels are designed to help consumers and workers make informed choices and use cleaning products safely and responsibly. They can also help consumers and workers identify and avoid products that contain hazardous or toxic chemicals.

What To Look For On Cleaning Chemical Labels?

When reading cleaning chemical labels, there are some key elements to look for, such as:


This section tells you how to use the product correctly and effectively. It may include information on how much product to use, how long to leave it on the surface, how to rinse or wipe it off, and what types of surfaces or materials it can or cannot be used on. Follow the directions carefully to get the best results and avoid damaging your surfaces or materials.

Caution Warnings

This section tells you about the potential hazards or risks of using the cleaning product. It may include words like “Danger”, “Warning”, or “Caution”, followed by statements that describe the nature and severity of the hazard, such as “Flammable”, “Corrosive”, or “Irritant”.

It may also include symbols or pictograms that indicate the type of hazard, such as a flame, a skull and crossbones, or an exclamation mark. Pay attention to the caution warnings and follow the precautions and first aid measures to prevent or treat injuries or accidents.


This section tells you what chemicals are in the product and their functions. It may include the common or generic names of the chemicals, such as “Sodium hypochlorite” or “Bleach”, or the specific or proprietary names of the chemicals.

It may also include the percentage or concentration of the chemicals. Knowing the ingredients can help you compare different products and avoid products that contain chemicals that you are allergic or sensitive to, or that are harmful to your health or the environment.

Storage And Disposal Instructions

This section tells you how to store and dispose of the product properly. It may include information on how to keep the product away from children, pets, heat, or sunlight, seal or close the container, and recycle or discard the container or the leftover product.

Follow the storage and disposal instructions to prevent leaks, spills, fires, or explosions, and to reduce waste and environmental impact.

What To Avoid On Cleaning Chemical Labels?

While reading cleaning chemical labels, there are some things to avoid, such as:

  • Products that do not have labels or have incomplete or illegible labels. These products may not comply with the regulations or standards for labelling or may have been tampered with or altered.
  • Products that have misleading or false claims or labels. These products may claim to be “natural”, “organic”, “green”, “eco-friendly”, or “non-toxic”, but these terms are not regulated or standardized, and may not reflect the actual ingredients or performance of the product.
  • Products that contain chemicals that are known or suspected to be hazardous or toxic. These chemicals may harm the environment, such as ozone-depleting substances, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Some examples of chemicals to avoid are:
    • Ammonia
    • Chlorine bleach
    • Formaldehyde
    • Phthalates
    • Triclosan

Using Cleaning Products Safely And Effectively

To use cleaning chemicals safely and effectively, follow these tips:

Read And Follow The Label Instructions

Always read and follow the directions, warnings, ingredients, and disposal instructions on the label before using a product. From the label, see how the cleaning product works. Do not use more products than recommended, or mix different products together, as this may reduce effectiveness or create dangerous reactions.

Wear Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Depending on the product and the task, wear gloves, goggles, masks, or aprons to protect your skin, eyes, nose, mouth, and clothes from exposure to chemicals. Wash your hands thoroughly after using a product, and remove and wash any contaminated clothing or PPE.

Use Adequate Ventilation

Open windows and doors, or use fans or exhaust systems, to ensure good air circulation and prevent the buildup of chemical vapours or fumes. Avoid using products in enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces, as this may increase the risk of inhalation or suffocation.

Store And Dispose Of Products Properly

Keep products in their original containers, and close or seal them tightly after use. Store products in a cool, dry, and secure place, away from children, pets, heat, or sunlight. Do not reuse or refill empty containers, or pour leftover products down the drain or into the trash.

About Us

Sunrise Industrial Cleaners is an industrial cleaning and degreasing specialist in Edmonton, Alberta. We offer a wide range of cleaning products and services for various industries and applications, such as automotive, oil and gas, construction, and food processing.

We are committed to providing high-quality products and services that meet or exceed our customers’ expectations and comply with all applicable regulations and standards. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your cleaning needs.

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We take pride in providing our customers with premium industrial cleaning products at affordable rates!

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