Many people become more conscious about the ingredients in everything they use during pregnancy, from skincare to makeup to laundry detergent. But when it comes to cleaning the house, transitioning to products that are safe for the baby can be tricky. You don't want the cleansers and disinfectants you use to be dangerous, but you do want them to be effective (and zap those germs right off the bathroom sink). Thankfully, there are plenty of non-toxic but potent products so you can safely clean the house during pregnancy.
Although it may feel like an overabundance of caution, there are definitely some common household items that are safest to avoid during pregnancy.
"One product you do need to avoid is oven cleaner. It can be dangerous to breathe, especially in the close quarters of your oven," Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, explained on WebMD.
That's because oven cleaners may contain ingredients such as butoxydiglycol, which may be unsafe in terms of developmental and reproductive effects, according to the Environmental Working Group.
As for other ingredients, because research into the exact ways they can affect a fetus is still ongoing, it's difficult to say with certainty exactly which substances are potentially problematic. Definitely discuss any specific concerns with your doctor, and consider switching up your cleaning routine in the meantime.
To learn more about cleaning products that are generally considered pregnancy safe, Romper spoke with Tamara Iglesias, founder of Wellynest, a conscious parenting company. As a certified holistic health coach and yoga instructor with an RIE (Resources for Infant Educators) certification in childhood development, Iglesias works with families to create healthier relationships and environments, and shares her expertise in nontoxic products with parents everywhere. Here's what Iglesias deems safe for cleaning during a pregnancy and beyond.
1. The Bathroom
Simple products can go a long way when it comes to bathroom cleaning. "For cleaning my kitchen and bathrooms, I use baking soda and water to disinfect tile," says Iglesias. For extra protection against mold, fungus, and germs, she recommends adding a bit of tea tree oil (a strong anti-fungal treatment, according to How To Remove Black Mold) to cleaning products.
2. The Floors
Even floors can be spruced up with some simple ingredients. "Olive oil works great for hardwood floor and furniture polish. I use 2 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice, then apply in a circular motion to any woodwork," says Iglesias. Apple cider vinegar can also be used to clean hardwood floors, as Iglesias explains.
If you have particularly delicate or antique furniture, then do a patch test with the cleaner first to make sure it will work with your piece. In some instances, you may want to use a drying oil such as boiled linseed oil for wooden floors, according to Woodworker's Journal. It's another natural choice for your home.
3. The Windows
Iglesias recommends everyone's favorite multi-use product when it comes to windows: apple cider vinegar. To get even more use out of the stuff, check out the weird but genius ways you can use apple cider vinegar (including as a natural deodorant and hair rinse) at Bustle.
4. The Kitchen
With no added fragrance, this soap is excellent for use on sensitive skin and babies.
This cult fave product has found its home in Iglesias's cleaning regime. "For dish soap and so many other cleaning needs, I use Dr. Bronners All-In-One Unscented Soap with my own essential oils added in," says Iglesias. The oils themselves can also serve many cleaning purposes. Lemon oil especially makes sense in the kitchen, because it acts like a natural fruit and veggie cleaner, as well as a disinfectant, she says.
The amount of essential oils you add is easy to personalize. "I like to add about 10-20 drops of essential oils to my cleaning supplies but as little as 5 drops will do!" says Iglesias.
As you're tackling the kitchen counters and other surfaces , apple cider works best. "It's great to clean and disinfect around the house on everything from floors (other vinegars can dull hardwood floors) to drains, bathroom tiles, kitchen surfaces, windows, glasses and mirrors and more!" says Iglesias. To make a simple cleaner, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar to 1 cup water, as Iglesias recommends.
This laundry powder is made from only four earth-derived ingredients, and it’s safe for sensitive skin.
When it comes to laundry, "I love Molly’s Suds for washing my daughter’s clothes as well as my own," says Iglesias. This line of detergent was created by a pediatric nurse and mother who was concerned about the amount of toxins in consumer products.
This color-safe formula is designed to brighten, whiten, condition, and fight stains.
Iglesias also uses Bio Kleen’s oxygen bleach plus option for getting stains out, saying that it works as well as traditional products.
6. The Air
This filter removes virtually all particles, toxic ozone, and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from air in your home.
Even the air inside a home may be of concern. "Air quality is vital to you and your baby’s health. I like Air Doctor’s air purifier because it’s easy to transport and improves air quality exponentially," says Iglesias. Opening your windows often and placing organic plants throughout the home are also ways to help clear the air, as Iglesias explains.
In lieu of buying pre-packaged all-purpose cleaners, Iglesias makes her own:
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 5-6 drops lemon essential oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup hot water
Using the apple cider vinegar and water alone also works, as Iglesias explains, but baking soda creates a scrubbing agent, while lemon essential oil acts as a disinfectant.
8. Cleaning Tools
For the most part, it's easy enough to use simple, everyday products to safely clean your home during pregnancy. As Iglesias shows, there are plenty of ways to buy (or even make) safe, effective cleaning products for the home.