Everyday cleaning products can contain numerous chemicals that are not safe for anyone, but especially babies and young children. Natural cleaning products are a better alternative to these toxic cleaners.
Breathing in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products can cause irritation and inflammation in respiratory airways. Many of the chemicals in cleaning products can also cause cancer, reproductive problems, and other health issues.
A recent study found that children whose mothers used a lot of cleaning products while pregnant and shortly after birth were 41 percent more likely to have wheezing or asthma by the age of seven. Another study found that women who used the most cleaning products have double the risk of breast cancer.
A Sept 2018 study suggests that babies exposed to typical cleaning disinfectants are more likely to be overweight as toddlers than those living in homes with non-toxic cleaners.
Hand sanitizers, disinfecting sprays, antibacterial soap, and antibacterial wipes are popular to keep germs away from kids. These antimicrobials are not necessary, and there may be unintended consequences from using them. It’s actually healthy for babies and kids to be exposed to bacteria! Disinfectants have the capacity to decrease your child’s health by changing their microbiome.
Natural Cleaning Products
The good news is that you don’t need chemicals to clean your home!
Toxic chemicals are not needed to remove dirt, bacteria, grease, and oils from your home. There are many natural cleaning products that work really well or even better. You can even make your own effective cleaners.
Companies don’t have to disclose what is in their cleaning products so it’s difficult to find out the exact ingredients. If you are purchasing products that say they are non-toxic, beware of vague or general claims on labels, such as “environmentally friendly”, “biodegradable”, or “eco safe”. Avoid products that don’t show ingredients and labeled only with generic terms like surfactants or preservatives. And be wary of products that have a strong smell.
You Can Clean with Just Water!
With products such as E-Cloths, you can clean your house very thoroughly with just water! This is a chemical-free way to remove dust, dirt, bacteria, and soap residues – and it really works well. E-cloths are proven to remove over 99% of bacteria from hard surfaces. You just spray with water and then wipe with the e-cloth. They collect dirt, grime and bacteria from the surface, and then you simply rinse the cloth under hot water, then re-use later. If you wash the cloth once a week, the E-cloths are guaranteed to last for 6 years of cleaning. You can find E-Cloths by doing an Internet search.
The Environmental Working Group has created an online guide for household cleaning products. This database provides easy-to-navigate safety ratings for more than 2,000 cleaning products:
You can also make your own natural cleaners from simple kitchen ingredients. The Washington Toxics Coalition has created a guide to safer household cleaners and includes suggestions for safer products and recipes for making your own safe and effective cleaners.
The Washington Toxics Coalition has also created an informational guide about antimicrobials.