lots of things change when you’re expecting, including how much housecleaning you should tackle — and what’s safe and what’s not. So before you go and plug in the vacuum or dig out the dustpan and brush, get the lowdown on some dos and don’ts of cleaning when pregnant.
Always read the labels.
If you see the words “toxic,” “danger,” “poison,” or “corrosive” on the label of any housecleaning product — and you’re most likely to on oven, drain, rug, and toilet-bowl cleaners — skip it, even if you used it with no problem before you became pregnant. These days, your defensives are down and the toxic fumes could irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Cleaning products that have low “acute toxicity” (most glass and general cleaners) probably won’t bother you, but since no one really knows how these chemicals could affect your baby, experts recommend erring on the side of safety by reducing your family’s “toxic burden” wherever possible. So get a little greener before your baby arrives. Look for products labeled nontoxic and all-natural instead.
Air the property.
No matter what kind of cleaning products you’re using, make sure you’ve got some ventilation. Keeping a window open can greatly improve your indoor air quality and effectively remove toxic vapors. Run the extractor fan in your bathroom, too, while you’re tidying there and for 15 minutes or so afterward.
During pregnancy, your skin is much more sensitive than normal. Products that never bothered you before could cause contact dermatitis — and turn your skin into an itchy, irritated, and inflamed mess. Chlorine, detergents, bleach, added dyes, and fragrances — stuff you’ll likely find in many of your Domestic Cleaning supplies — are all potential culprits. So get a pair of latex gloves and use them every time you clean to protect your hands and arms.
Make your own safe cleaning supplies.
Another way to make the switch to more natural products is to DIY. These three are particularly cheap — and effective:
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to make an all-purpose cleaning solution for countertops, tubs, and tile.
- 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 — so your hands don’t smell), then sprinkle generously with baking soda. Scrub the tile clean with the same vinegar-soaked rag.
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