Do a Home Detox with These Natural Cleaning Solutions
There a lot of things that change when a baby arrives, besides sleepless nights and a sudden, obsessive need to photograph everything. Hands are washed more often, sheets are changed regularly, mosquito repellent purchases shoot up, and everything possible is done to create a germ-free environment. But too many chemicals, even ones designed to keep us safe and clean, are bad for your baby too. The good news is you can easily do a home detox with these recipes for baby safe cleaning products and more.
That’s right. Your answer to a cleaner and healthier home is the same as your grandmother’s: homemade cleaning products.
Homemade cleaning products for a home detox
These homemade cleaning products are natural cleaning solutions that take no time to whip up and reduce the amount of chemicals in your home.
Natural rug and upholstery cleaners
The stuff that keeps your carpets clean usually contains perchloroethylene and naphthalene. The former is linked to loss of appetite and disorientation, while long-term exposure to the latter can cause liver damage. Neither is something you want to see in your growing child. Instead, you can use a mix of essential oil and baking soda, along with a powerful vacuum cleaner, to get the dirt out of your carpet without doing any damage to your family’s health.
Homemade window cleaners
Depending on the brand you use, window cleaning liquids contain one or more of the following chemicals: Ammonia, Ethanol, Isopropyl Alcohol, and Methanol. No matter which or how much of these strong-smelling chemicals you use, you don’t want your child inhaling them (or licking them)! So ditch the store-bought spray and replace it with plain old newspaper and vinegar for sparkly glass, sans toxic fumes.
Natural floor and countertop disinfectants
We know your windows aren’t the only things you want sparkly. Floor cleaner is one of the most commonly used household cleaning products in India, yet unfortunately almost all brands contain Phenol. While you want the floor to be germ free when your little one goes exploring, our guess is you don’t intend to expose her to chemicals that could adversely affect her respiratory and circulatory systems. A solution of vinegar and water makes a substitute that will leave your floors just as clean. Disinfecting countertops is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of food borne illness, and yet many people disinfect with harsh cleaning sprays that can cause respiratory irritation (and wear away the finish on your countertops). For disinfecting countertops, lemon juice or vinegar are easy alternatives to the sprays.
Homemade mosquito repellent
Most mosquito repellent formulas contain N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, also known as DEET. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of the chemical is known to be harmful to adults and children alike. And it’s less effective than you’d think; a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that mosquitoes are growing resistant to DEET. Instead, consider a natural, DIY bug spray like this as a substitute. Or use neem oil, which is known to be an excellent mosquito repellent.
Nix air freshener and perfume
While this doesn’t technically fall under the cleaning category, most of us like our homes and ourselves to smell good. But allergic reactions to these sweet-smelling chemicals are common. Remember, air fresheners are not actually cleaning the air — they’re just masking unpleasant smells with substances that can tax delicate respiratory systems. So trade in the perfume for a mildly scented talc, and eliminate the air freshener all together. An occasionally wrinkled nose is a small price to pay for a healthy child.
While this list is a good start to a home detox, don’t overreact; you may not use all of the above cleaning products, or the brands you use may not contain the chemicals we’ve listed. There’s no need to rubbish your cleaning supply cabinet just yet. Simply pay attention to any new cleaning products you purchase and use while your child is young; wherever possible, try to substitute formulas that use some of the substances we know to be harmful with natural cleaning solutions like baking soda, vinegar, neem oil, and lemon.