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Laundry Room and Detergent Safety

​​​Any family with young children spends a great deal of time doing laundry! 

In order to stay one step ahead, parents need to make sure that anything little fingers may try to open, pull on, or play with in their laundry room won't cause an injury. 

Read on for help protecting not only your small child, but your entire family from laundry room dangers.

Laundry Products

Parents need to pay close attention to how they store laundry products before, during, and after use.

  • Keep laundry products in their original containers with the original label intact.
  • Read and follow all instructions on the product label. Know where the safety information is located on the label and what to do in case an injury occurs.
  • Never combine laundry detergent with ammonia or other household cleaners, because some chemical mixtures may release irritating or dangerous fumes.
  • Always put products away in a secure location after use, out of the reach of children and pets. Consider storing them in a high, locked cabinet. Do not store products on top of the washer and dryer.
  • If a product container is empty, throw it away properly. Do not reuse detergent buckets or bottles for other uses.
  • Clean up any spills, and immediately wash your hands and any items you use to pour or measure products.
  • Close and lock the laundry room door when you are finished, so curious young children cannot get in.
  • Pay special attention to spray bottles. They are a common source of exposure to cleaning solutions and should be kept out of a child’s reach.

​Laundry Detergent Packets: A Warning for Parents

Detergent in single-use laundry packets are very concentrated and can be toxic. Even a small amount of the detergent can cause serious breathing or stomach problems or eye irritation.

Between May 17 and June 17, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1,008 cases of laundry detergent poiso​nings. Of these, almost half were from laundry packets.

  • Never let your children handle or play with the packs. The packs dissolve quickly when in contact with water, wet hands, or saliva.
  • Remember to seal the container and store it in a locked cabinet after each use. Make sure the container is out of sight and reach of children.
  • Adults should follow the instructions on the product label.
  • If your child does put one of these packets in his mouth or gets any in his eye, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

Washers & Dryers

To avoid injuries from washers and dryers, try to:

  • Use childproof locks on front-loading washers and dryers to prevent small children from opening the doors while they are in use and also to prevent them from ever crawling in the machines.
  • Clean the lint trap after each use to help prevent fires. Clogged lint traps are a common cause of house fires. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that washers and dryers were involved in 1 out of every 22 home fires reported in 2006-2010.
  • Do not lean or allow children to play or hang on the doors of washers and dryers, as this can cause them to tip over.
  • Vent the dryer outside the home to prevent mold and mildew build-up.
  • Make a rule in your house that the washer and dryer are not toys.

​​Laundry Chutes

Young children may want to explore this “mysterious opening” we call the laundry chute. While convenient for adults, it poses a great danger for small children. 

  • Make sure laundry chute doors are out of the reach of a small child (36 inches or more off the floor).
  • Consider installing childproof locks to keep your child from opening the chute.
  • Tell your children that the laundry chute is meant only for clothes. Toys and people should never go in the laundry chute.

​Additional Information on

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2013)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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