What’s under your sink? Perhaps this is something you’ve thought about if you currently have children, but it’s actually good to ask yourself this question during pregnancy too. Why? Because there are certain chemicals that can affect your baby in the womb, and they’re not just under your sink either! Wellness Educator, Newelle McDonald shares 6 simple tips for safely and effectively cleaning your home during pregnancy. These tips are of course relevant once you have little ones around too!
1. Opt for DIY cleaners. You don’t have to accept the “unknown” of store-bought cleaning product ingredients, and making your own cleaning products might be easier than you think! Try the following:
- All-purpose cleaning solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and use on countertops, tubs, and tile.
- Surface stain remover: Baking soda makes an excellent hard-water stain remover in your tub or shower! First, wipe the area with a rag soaked in white vinegar (wear latex gloves, see tip #4, so your hands don’t smell), then sprinkle generously with baking soda. Scrub the tile clean with the same vinegar-soaked rag.
- Laundry stain remover: Nix the bleach and try hydrogen peroxide instead. Soak clothes in one part hydrogen peroxide to eight parts water to remove stains and make whites whiter.
2. Read labels. If you’re not into DIY, you can check out what’s at the store. When doing so, read labels carefully. If you see the words “toxic,” “danger,” “poison,” or “corrosive” on the label of any housecleaning product (like most oven, drain, rug, and toilet-bowl cleaners), walk away. During pregnancy, your defenses are down, and the toxic fumes that seemed just fine before could irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, and even affect the baby. Instead, look for products labeled “nontoxic” and “all natural”. In other words, “green up” your home before your baby arrives. For great green products that are as powerful as they are safe, try these cleaning products from Shaklee.
3. Open the windows. Regardless of which cleaning products you use, make sure you have some ventilation, rather than hermetically sealing yourself in! This is important at any point, but especially during pregnancy. Keeping a window open can greatly improve your indoor air quality and effectively remove toxic fumes. Running the exhaust fan in your bathroom while you clean also helps.
4. Wear gloves. During pregnancy, hormones increase your skin’s sensitivity, and you may get itchy, irritated or inflamed skin from products that never bothered you before. Stay away from chlorine, detergents, bleach, added dyes, and fragrances — stuff you’ll likely find in many cleaning supplies. These can trigger dermatitis, especially when your body is working so hard to create new life. Wearing latex gloves when you clean can help protect your hands and arms.
5. Let go of striving for a “germ-free home”. Killing germs doesn’t make your home safe, and trying to completely get rid of germs can lead to overdoing it! Let go of the bleach and the heavy germicides, as many of those products can actually damage your immune system. Yes, it sounds a bit ironic, but building up your immune system is actually the best defense against germs! So, wiping down kitchen counters with good soap and water (or that water and vinegar mixture from tip #1!) is a great way to keep your kitchen clean and safe.
6. Play the pregnancy card! Growing a human is hard work, so ask for help with the cleaning and housework! There will be times that you’ll feel very tired, and that’s normal and healthy. You need to conserve your energy and rest sometimes, so give yourself permission. Plus, the smells of even safe cleaners might make you nauseous. Finally, as that belly grows, the bending, lifting, and squatting that cleaning requires might grow more and more challenging. So, ask your partner or family to shoulder the burden of cleaning chores for those nine months. You’ll be doing daily cleaning after that baby arrives for the next 18+ years!
Newelle McDonald is a Wellness Educator, but most people call her “The Pathfinder.” Newelle has been helping moms find their pathway to a healthy life, and healthy families, for the past 15 years. Through her company, Newelle-ness, she does one on one coaching, as well as groups and corporate education. She has partnered with the Shaklee Corporation to ensure her clients get products that are pure and effective. She loves living in Greenwich Village with her husband, Tom, and spends an hour each day in Washington Square with her dog, Rosie.