Many women experience a sudden nesting instinct toward the end of their pregnancy, an overwhelming urge to create a clean and welcoming environment for the baby’s arrival. The nesting instinct might prompt setting up a crib, painting the nursery, or deep cleaning every inch of the house.
While most cleaning products are considered safe to use during pregnancy, it’s possible to make your own germ-fighting formulas without using bleach, ammonia or other chemical ingredients
Natural cleaning products use plant oils, Castile soap, salt, baking soda, lemon or vinegar, ingredients that may normally be found around your home. Making these products doesn’t require a lab or a lot of time. Here are some tips on making a few safe cleaning products.
Vanish dirt with a dash of vinegar
Straight vinegar or vinegar mixed with water can be used to clean floors, coffee pots, windows, or dislodge food residue in your microwave.
- Use a solution of ½ cup of white vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water to mop wooden floors. No need to rinse. You can add essential oils, such as lavender, for fragrance, if you like.
- To clean your microwave, mix a quarter cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water. Place in the microwave until it boils. Once food residue is dislodged, wipe clean.
- To clean your coffee pot, pour straight vinegar into the carafe instead of water. Let it run through two times (without coffee or a filter), then run clean water through once.
- For sparkling windows, mix a cup each of white vinegar and water. Put the mix in a plant spray bottle and spray the windows. Wipe off with a clean cloth or paper towel.
- For an all-purpose cleaner, mix a half cup of water, half cup of vinegar, and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
Heavy duty cleaning may require baking soda
Need to scrub? Mix a quarter cup plant-based oil soap, three quarters of a cup of baking soda and an eighth of a cup of white vinegar. Or mix one and a half cups of baking soda and a half cup of liquid soap with lemon to treat stubborn stains.
To clean your toilet without chemicals or bleach, sprinkle baking soda into the toilet, pour white vinegar over the brush and scrub in. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Flush.
Baking soda is also good for removing stains from plastic containers and scrubbing kitchen counters.
A paste of baking powder and hydrogen peroxide will remove mildew from your bathroom tiles, but be sure to wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated room. You should avoid mold exposure while pregnant.
Mix baking soda with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to clean shower walls, floors and curtains.
Baking soda, vinegar and boiling water are also a chemical free way to unclog the kitchen drain.
Lemon is a useful and aromatic cleaning ingredient.
Use olive oil and lemon juice to polish furniture. Mix 1 cup of olive oil and ½ cup of lemon juice. Shake well before applying to furniture with a soft cloth. Rub off. Test the mix on a spot that is not visible before applying.
To clean cutting boards, sprinkle them with salt then scrub with a lemon. This will remove odors especially those from garlic and onions.
The same formula can also help pots shine. Sprinkle salt on the cut lemon and rub on copper aluminum and brass pots. Rinse well and dry.
The aromatic qualities of lemon can also be used to freshen your garbage disposal. Just pop some lemon rinds through the disposal to cut odors.
For sparkling bathroom faucets, use lemon juice to remove mineral deposits. Let the juice sit 10 to 15 minutes before wiping off.
Leave the clean-up after home renovation and repairs to someone else, since there may be lead in the paint and dust of old homes and it’s easy to breathe that in. Lead exposure is harmful to your developing baby. Also, avoid cleaning paint brushes with paint thinner.
If you do decide to use some commercially available cleaning products during pregnancy, remember the following tips:
- Read the labels for ingredients and safety warnings.
- Always clean in a well-ventilated space
- Wear latex gloves
- Avoid using oven cleaners.
- Don’t spread pesticides
- Don’t mix bleach and ammonia. This mixture can be toxic.
Mixing up do-it-yourself cleaning products can be a healthy way to prepare for your new arrival. As always, be sure to discuss any chemical exposure with your doctor.