Having a baby changes the lives of everyone involved. The everyday routine of the new parents turns upside down, new habits come in the place of the old ones, and everything revolves around the idea to help your child grow healthy and protected from bad outside influences. This includes the cleaning routine in the house – you start paying attention to labels, harmful ingredients, possible side effects of those ingredients, and all kinds of other information. It can be quite overwhelming, so to help you out, here are a few baby-friendly cleaning tips and recipes.
Avoid harsh chemicals. One of the things we learn when we have a baby, is that everything we use around the house is potentially dangerous, especially the cleaning detergents. Organisations like the Environmental Working Group research common detergents we use all the time (all-purpose cleaners, oven cleaners, detergents for windows, tiled surfaces, toilets, and more), and the results are shocking. Elements like chlorine bleach, ammonia, caustic soda and 1,4 dioxane are present in almost all the products, and they are well known skin and respiratory irritants that cause asthma and allergies.
So, when you choose your cleaning detergents, avoid products containing these elements. Instead, aim for something healthier for your baby and the environment. Look for labels like “organic”, “green” and “non-toxic”. Other labels, which will show you that a product is baby-safe, are “solvent-free”, “biodegradable”, “petroleum-free”, “VOC-free” or “phosphate-free”. Also, avoid spray-on cleaners on upholstered furniture or carpets, the dangerous ingredients can become trapped in the fabric for a long time.
Avoid antibacterial products. Antibacterial soaps are quite popular lately, but the truth is, that regular soap will take care of the germs just as well. Antibacterial soaps contain added chemicals, which your baby doesn’t need, and in the long term, you risk creating tougher and more resistant bacteria, which is not good for a baby with a developing immune system. Kids need to be introduced to a moderate amount of germs from time to time, in order to develop the antibodies they need to fight them.
Leave the dirt outside. Most of the sand we gather from around the house comes from outdoors, we bring it on our shoes, through the door, or through the windows if the weather is windy. If you find a way to limit the dirt that comes from outside, you will notice that the cleaning happens faster, there is less sneezing and coughing, and your overall routine gets easier. There are a few ways to achieve that. One is to wipe your feet, or even better take your shoes off near the door and implement a “no shoes in the house” rule for everyone who comes in. Another thing you can do is limit the soil and dirt around the house – make sure the way to your home is paved and regularly swept. You can also invest in one of those super absorbent doormats – they cost a little extra, but they trap the dirt at the door and keep it there.
Make your own cleaning agents. This may sound tiring and time consuming at first, but it’s actually very easy to prepare your own baby-friendly cleaning products. Most of the ingredients can be found in almost every home – baking soda, washing soda, white distilled vinegar, castile soap, lemon juice and other similar items. Making your own detergents is the safest option when you have a baby, because you know exactly what they contain.
A few baby-friendly cleaning recipes:
- Bathroom surfaces. A simple paste made of baking soda and water is more than enough to scrub off the grime and soap residue from the sink and shower, as well as to clean all kinds of non-porous and tiled surfaces. You will need a sponge or a soft-bristled brush to apply and scrub. The toilet bowl can be cleaned by spreading baking soda all over it, scrubbing a little, then adding some vinegar, waiting for a while for it to fizz, and then scrubbing again and flushing everything away.
- Laundry detergent. Get 4 bars of castile soap, grate them, and then add 2 cups of washing soda. You can also add a few drops of essential oil of your choice; it will make your baby’s clothes smell better. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load and store the DIY laundry detergent in an airtight container with limited exposure to moisture.
- Kitchen surfaces. The best all-purpose cleaner for kitchen surfaces includes half a cup baking soda, 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water mixed in a spray bottle. For a better smell and better disinfection, you can also add a little lemon juice. You can use that on countertops, inside the fridge, the kitchen sink, even inside the oven.
- Cleaning baby accessories. In order to safely clean and disinfect baby toys, trays, bottles and other similar items, you can mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Once you spray the item, let the solution stay for around 10 minutes, then wipe it clean using a damp sponge. The vinegar has strong disinfecting qualities, and the smell disappears in an hour or so.
Author bio: Jane Wilson is a mom, blogger and marketing manager from Melbourne. She represents the local branch of Fantastic Cleaners – a licensed cleaning company, which provides all kinds of cleaning services for busy homeowners. Her passions include home improvement and green cleaning.
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