House-Cleaning Tips for Moms-to-Be
Pregnant or Not, Here I Clean!
Oven and drain cleaners are particularly toxic substances. Play it safe by having your spouse or a friend handle these chemicals whenever using them becomes necessary and make sure these areas are well ventilated (don’t return to a recently cleaned bathroom or kitchen until the chemicals have dissipated).
Get Back to Basics
Like many expectant parents, I would suffer withdrawal symptoms if forced to part with my cell phone, computer, or digital camera. I also have an entire shelf full of the latest consumer cleaning products. After all, they’re so handy and their labels promise to make my house a germ-free, spotless haven of tranquility. But it has occurred to me that for generations, people managed to keep their homes clean using basic, organic substances like lemons, vinegar, baking soda, and soap.
Today, entire books and dozens of websites provide tips and recipes for chemical-free cleaning. One of my favorites is Safe Substitutes at Home: Non-toxic Household Products (es.epa.gov/techinfo/facts/safe-fs.html) authored by two men from the University of Tennessee Waste Management Institute. If reading the warning labels on your favorite household cleaners starts to give you willies, give one of the old-fashioned solutions a try. You might just get that coveted “lemony fresh scent” with actual lemons!
As much as you might like to, you don’t have to convince your mate that washing the dog or taking out the trash is hazardous to your health. Keeping your home clean during your pregnancy is safe as long as you use common sense. Stay away from kitty litter, paint, pesticides, and oven and drain cleaners. Read the labels of other cleaning products to determine if you feel comfortable using them. Try organic alternatives. And when all else fails, leave the cleaning until tomorrow and take a nap!
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