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Guide to Cleaning the House Safely for Your Baby

May 6, 2019

Kristin Brown @kristinbrownphotography from Unsplash

A lot changes when a baby enters your life, even things that might not be obvious at first. Yes, you have another human you are now responsible for, another person living in your home, a baby to love and tend to. However, as a new parent, you may not have thought extensively about how you have to change your home to make it safe for your little one, or how to ensure your closet of cleaning supplies won’t be a hazard for your baby. Think of all the chemicals that each one of those bottles, wipes, and sprays contains. Uh-oh! All of a sudden your home has turned into a science lab. So, to keep your baby away from becoming part of a science experiment, we created a guide on all things cleaning related when it comes to children in the home.

Children’s Health and Cleaning Supplies

Most cleaning supplies involve a lot of chemicals, many of which are a cause for concern, as they might cause health issues in early childhood. Some of the most common complications can include skin and eye irritation, asthma, hypersensitivity to allergens, chemical burns, and even poisoning.

A good way to prevent your child from experiencing any of the health issues listed above is to have them avoid:

  • Coming into contact with recently cleaned household items
  • Breathing in chemicals emitted by cleaning products or recently cleaned objects
  • Accidentally ingesting or spilling cleaning products

Luckily, you can also avoid specific chemicals in your cleaning supplies to minimize the danger they pose to your child’s health and safety. Keep in mind that these chemicals can compromise your child’s health, so watch out for these guys and the products they’re usually found in:

  • VOCs (paint, resin)
  • Bleach (clorox wipes)
  • Triclosan (some toothpastes, body washes, etc.)
  • Parabens (some shampoos, body washes, etc.)
  • Phthalates (detergents, food packaging, etc.)
  • Glycol ethers (paints and cleaners)
  • Petroleum solvents (paint)
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (cleaning products and cosmetics)

Tips for Cleaning in a Child Safe Way

Simply having cleaning supplies at home that contains potential allergens will not automatically become a problem. However, if bottles of dish soap or bags of cleaning detergent aren’t stored correctly, they might cause trouble. Here are some tips to keep in mind when cleaning to ensure your sparkling clean home remains safe for your child:

  1. Child-resistant caps: Remember to buy products with child-resistant caps, so that your little one can’t experiment with that pretty blue liquid mama uses for laundry.
  2. Create a very clear separation between food and cleaning supplies:
    1. Keep food and all cleaning supplies apart and far removed from each-other.
    2. Do not store your cleaning supplies in old tupperware or any other food containers. Doing so may potentially lead to confusion.
    3. Those curious toddler fingers, if left unattended even for a second, might reach for that bar of soap that looks like a maple leaf and smells like maple syrup and take a very unhealthy bite.
  3. Don’t use poisons for rodents or insects: Poison is very dangerous, whether it is for pests or your child. Even ant traps tucked around the corners of your home may become an issue. As your baby crawls around, everything in their reach becomes a point of exploration. Make sure that the area they are exploring is harm-free, and keep all harmful chemicals away from their reach.
  4. Create a safety zone: As your child gets older, you may want to teach them about household chores. Perhaps, they may take an interest in helping you clean up around the house. When this happens, create a cupboard with supplies that is okay for your child to use. Make sure it excludes anything with strong chemical components that may cause allergies or other severe reactions. Maybe having just a clean, colorful mop and a water sprayer in there is all that’s needed for now.
  5. Keep your dishwasher closed: Sharp items are very common objects in a dishwasher. Knifes, forks, fragile china cups are all the things you don’t want your child to get ahold of unattended while you’re cleaning up. Close the dishwasher to avoid having hand cymbals made of your favorite plates.
  6. Dilute your cleaning products: Many cleaners are so strong that can diluting them won’t really take anything away from all their cleaning glory. It will lessen the severity of chemical ingredients they include. Bonus point: your cleaning supplies will last you longer. However, make sure to check the product for dilution guidelines.
  7. Ventilate: After cleaning, always air out the rooms or the items that were cleaned. This will decrease the amount of chemicals that your child inhales and allow object to dry faster. Touching that counter top you just wiped down with Clorox wipes will become safer, too.

Child Safe Cleaning Supplies You Can Find in Your Cupboard

Before we dive into the store-bought products that could be good counterparts to the more  chemical-heavy options, there are many items you likely already have in your cupboard that are great (and safe) for cleaning. Vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda can all be mixed in different quantities and combinations to create kid-safe cleaning supplies. Mix some vinegar and water to dust off your shelves with or try using baking soda for oven cleaning. For a natural air-freshener mix two tablespoons of thyme and one sliced lime and spray the mixture around your home.  

Child Safe Cleaning Supplies Available on the Market

There are a lot of all natural and low chemical cleaning supplies you can find at your local grocery store. These supplies are safer for your little ones and minimize the risks we mentioned above. Below are some suggestions for child safe cleaning supplies:

  • Laundry Detergent: Try using Molly’s Suds All Natural Laundry Powder or GreenShield Organic Laundry Detergent in place of the regular, more chemically saturated counterparts. Neither of these options contain harsh chemicals, which great for washing kids’ clothing.
  • All-Purpose Cleaner: With just six ingredients, Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner gets the job done, without endangering your child or you.
  • Dish and Dishwasher Soaps: Keep your food safe with Better Life Sulfate-Free Dish Soap and Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent Packs. Both are efficient in removing grease, while still being family-friendly. As a bonus, they are unscented.
  • Hand Soap: Keep your baby’s hands clean while avoiding skin irritations with Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castille Liquid Soap – Baby, the unscented version.
  • Dusters: Wipe your shelves down with Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar Wipes to avoid using chemical heavy solutions.

Have other ideas or product recommendations for kid-safe cleaning? Let us know by tweeting us @ApartmentList.

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Angelina is a Marketing Specialist at Apartment List where she writes content on rental lifestyle. Angelina previously worked as a Russian and German language specialist at Facebook and Google, and has a BA in Applied Linguistics from UCLA. Read More
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