How to Use Cleaning Products Safely During Pregnancy
Prior to pregnancy you probably didn’t give it much thought: When the floors needed to be cleaned you picked up a bottle of cleaner. Now that you’re pregnant, your concern for your unborn baby outweighs concern for sparkling clean floors.
Some cleaning product chemicals can be harmful to you and your unborn baby while the odor from others might just bring on a bout of morning sickness. Learn how to spot the cleaners you should avoid, and if you’re still not settled, turn to all-natural cleaning solutions for absolute peace of mind.
The Cleaner Conundrum
While the cleaning products found on store shelves are generally considered safe for household use, there is an ever-growing body of research with findings to the contrary. The byproducts of boric acid — a compound commonly found in detergents — can cross the placenta, explains the Environmental Working Group.
Bleach fumes include the gases chlorine, chloroform and carbon tetrachloride — each of which is an irritant or a carcinogenic substance. Ammonia is a strong irritant; and even the fragrances used to give cleaners a more pleasant odor can create headaches and breathing problems.
You’ve probably glanced at cleaning labels before to figure out just how much easier it will make the job, but now it’s time to scrutinize every ingredient and warning on the container. If you find any label that reads “poison,” “toxic,” “corrosive” or “dangerous,” leave it on the store shelf.
These warnings are often found on products that will clean your toilet bowl, unclog your drain and degrease your oven. Labels on some common household cleaners — such as those for glass — might not include such alarming words, but most will alert you to the presence of other less threatening but still irritating chemicals.
You can help to keep yourself and your unborn child safe on cleaning day by making a few adjustments to your routine. Start by opening the windows in each room you’re cleaning to allow fumes to exit quickly. Place a fan in front of the window to draw fumes out or use the exhaust fan in the bathroom.
Because your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, wear gloves when you clean. Products that you could use with ease before might begin to irritate your skin, causing contact dermatitis. As your belly grows, bending, squatting and scrubbing on your knees all become tiring on your already burdened body. One of the best ways to avoid irritating cleaning products while saving your back, too, is to hand over the mop to your partner.
If you’re uncomfortable using store-bought cleaning products during pregnancy, you don’t have to resign yourself to a home filled with dirt and dust bunnies. You can make cleaning products that are safe to use during pregnancy. Instead of glass cleaner, mix 1/4-cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
The mixture also may be used to disinfect your bathroom counters, clean the kitchen floor and keep the dishwasher sparkling clean. Use baking soda to remove laundry stains and eliminate pet odor. If your wood furniture needs polishing, turn to olive oil instead of furniture polish for an equally impressive result.
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