There’s something about bringing home a brand new life that creates an urge to scrub and sanitize. I remember taking the day off from work to scrub ceiling to floor — even cleaning the back of the refrigerator, because, obviously, your baby needs the back of the fridge to be pristine. My water broke mere hours after I finished my cleaning binge.
Yet the “cleaning” agents in these products are often harsh chemicals, which you obviously want to limit your exposure to — especially in the beginning of your pregnancy. And not only that, but your front-heavy frame shouldn’t be climbing on chairs and cleaning off the ceiling fan on your tippy toes.
Here are some tips on cleaning safely, as well as alternative cleaning products:
1. Use natural cleaning products, when possible
The Internet is swarming with homemade cleaning products, made from ingredients you might have around the house. For instance, this is a common recipe for an all-purpose cleanser, which you make in a spray bottle:
- A quart of water
- A quarter cup of white vinegar
- A few drops of essential oil
Find more recipes for homemade cleaning products here.
If you’d rather just buy a safer alternative, look for ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. We really like Healthy Clean, above, which is a multi-purpose cleaner made with natural enzymes and other all-natural ingredients.
2. If you’re not using homemade cleanser:
- Wear cleaning gloves, especially when using harsher cleansers or potentially dangerous household items, like cat litter, or when gardening.
- Make sure to clean in a well-ventilated area — which means cleaning the oven is out of the question.
- Spray the cleanser directly on your paper towel or rag, rather than spraying the entire area.
3. Certain cleaning products and activities are more dangerous than others:
- You might want some help painting the nursery, not only because of the chemicals, but it could also put you at risk for lead exposure if you’re painting an older home.
- Cleaning the litter box can put you at a slight risk for a condition caused toxoplasmosis. (Need to clean it yourself? Just wear disposable gloves and wash your hands afterwards.)
- A new study suggests that an ingredient in antibacterial products — Triclosan, found in everything from hand gels to household cleansers — might be dangerous for your developing fetus.
- Avoid toxic cleansers like oven and drain cleaners. Most importantly, read the labels on your cleansers.
4. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous, stop cleaning. But we think that’s a given.
5. Ask for help. You know the dust accumulating on top of the ceiling fan blades? You have two options, and neither of them includes balancing on a ladder or chair: 1) Ask someone else to pitch in, seeing that your loss of balance and loosened ligaments makes climbing more dangerous; or 2) get one of these handy telescope dusters to clean out-of-reach areas.
What natural cleaning products/recipes do you swear by?