Cleaning up a home in preparation for the arrival of a child is sometimes nothing less than chaotic. The aisles of the grocery store are lined with cleaning products, both for the home in general, as well as in the baby section. It is no secret that now larger companies are offering a selection of cleaning products that are non-toxic, safe, and considered green. A lot of the times, these products are priced a bit higher than normal cleaning products, and that is normal.
There are options for those parents that don’t want to break the bank on cleaning supplies. Baking soda, olive oil, table salt, lemon, and vinegar are all things normally found in a pantry, and are all things that can be used in various conditions to clean many messes as well as sanitize surfaces. Choosing to combine these ingredients in different ways can make powerful disinfectants or cleaners to use everywhere in the home.
When choosing to use items like these to clean the home, not only is the environment remaining safe for the baby, but the mother is safe as well, not inhaling any potentially harmful or toxic chemicals. A porcelain sink can be cleaned with baking soda and lemon, while soap scum can be removed with baking soda and vinegar. These mixtures only remove stains, not bacteria. When choosing to sanitize, opt for something stronger, like hydrogen peroxide. Other floor surfaces can be cleaned with a simple solution of clean water and a mild dishwashing liquid. Apply this to the floor with a mop and let dry.
Believe it or not, indoor air is filled with more pollutants than outdoor air, and around 80% of our exposure to pesticides happen inside of the home. Setting up an air filter in both the nursery as well as the play areas will help to combat any airborne toxins. There are also indoor plants that help to purify the air naturally, and are generally low maintenance. The spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum), snake plant (Sansevieria), corn plant (Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’), golden pothos (Epipremnum Aureum), and Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Modestum) are all plants that have been deemed child-safe and are ranked as NASA’s top air purifying plants. All of these plants come in a variety of sizes and pots, they can sit in the corner of a room never to be touched, they can hang from the ceiling to give a room a bit of depth, and they can also sit atop a dresser as added décor for the room.
It is vital to have carpets that are safe for baby—eventually the little one will be on the floor for tummy time, and then crawling session. Bringing in a carpet cleaning service might seem like the best bet for ridding of the carpet of any existing spilled chemicals, packed in dirt, or any other possible grossness. The truth is that some traditional carpet cleaning solutions are a mixture of noxious synthetic chemicals that are toxic and are known to cause fatigue, dizziness, and nausea if inhaled or ingested. These are also linked to kidney and liver damage from exposure. Other chemicals used in carpet cleaning solutions can affect the central nervous system and are possible carcinogens.
Green carpet cleaning is the solution to this. Many larger cities actually have businesses devoted to green carpet cleaning, but be sure to inquire about what exactly makes their process green. Of course there are also do-it-yourself methods for green carpet cleaning. Simple solutions of Borax, baking soda, and other household items can be used to make homemade carpet cleaners. It is important when taking this task on, not only be conscious of the mixture that is being used, but be sure to remove it all while extracting the dirt and grime.
Cleaning hard floor surfaces is important because it is almost guaranteed that the baby will end up on the floor one way or another. Another likely scenario is that baby will pick something up off of the floor and put it in their mouth. When this happens, the little tot shouldn’t be at risk because of the chemicals that have been used to clean the floors. Many floors can be cleaned with a simple mixture of mild soap and water. A sponge or mop can be used to apply this to the floor and wipe away. A natural all-purpose solution can be used on ceramic and stone floors. This can be made by mixing 10 drops each of lavender essential oil and tea tree oil, a squirt of natural soap (liquid castile soap is okay) and two cups of water.
While it might be tempting to paint the room as soon as you decide on a color, it is worth the effort to take the time and choose a paint that is eco-friendly. These paints are VOC free and can be found at many of the larger paint retailers. Instead of painting the room, it is also worth it to consider jazzing up the walls with art pieces or removable wall decals. These will save the hassle of repainting when the child grows out of the theme that was picked out when he/she first came home.
After the baby’s furniture has been purchased, it is imperative to clean it as well. All bedding should be washed in hot water with a mild detergent. A brush attachment on a vacuum can clean the mattress, while the mattress cover can be wiped down with a solution of castile soap and water. Cleaners with a lot of fragrance likely contain chemicals that are questionable, and this also includes lotions, shampoos, and other soaps. Rubbing alcohol can be used for cleaning changing tables—it may simply be applied using a rag or a cloth, and wiped on all sides. If battling mold and mildew, two cups of water mixed with a few teaspoons of tea tree oil and then sprayed onto the affected area and should not be rinsed off.
By Sasha Brown
Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 06:31pm EST