Being pregnant can seriously curtail your ability to get round and perform the most basic of household tasks. Everything takes just that little bit longer, which makes keeping a home clean and tidy very difficult. So having to avoid certain cleaning products is the last thing you’re going to want to do. But according to BabyCentre.co.uk, you probably don’t need to worry too much about most everyday cleaning agents, as long as you’re using them properly.
There is some evidence that using chemical-based agents regularly throughout a pregnancy can affect the development of a baby’s lungs, so it’s probably best to do everything you can to minimise your contact with cleaning products.
With most agents, simply opening windows and doors for ventilation during cleaning will suffice. Always wear gloves, and use a face mask if you’re in any doubt. Follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions, and you won’t need to worry unduly.
However, there are four chemicals you might use in your home that should be avoided altogether if at all possible.
The fumes emitted by oven cleaners can be highly caustic. If you have even the mildest of respiratory complaints, you should refrain from using commercial oven cleaners altogether.
Thankfully, there are alternatives that use only natural ingredients — one of which involves using baking powder.
Sprinkle baking powder liberally over every surface of the inside of your oven. Spray the baking powder with water until you start to see it foaming. You can add a little white vinegar to the water if your oven is particularly dirty. Leave the oven for two hours before rinsing off the baking powder and wiping the surfaces down with a microfibre cloth.
Aerosols contain a range of different chemicals, some of which are harmful to health. These chemicals are dispersed into the air, and even small amounts of them can cause breathing difficulties and skin irritation. You should be able to use lemon juice, vinegar and baking powder as a substitute for polishes. If you use aerosol air fresheners, try bowls of salt with a few drops of essential oil instead.
Some of the strongest cleaning products we use are for the bathroom. However, there are some very simple alternatives that deliver similar results. For instance, always have a spray bottle of one part water and one part white vinegar in the bathroom. When combined with baking soda to make a paste, it can remove mould, limescale and soapscum very effectively.
Some window cleaners contain high amounts of ammonia, which can cause skin and respiratory problems. Equally as effective is white vinegar. Put some in a spray bottle, and spray it liberally over your windows. After a couple of minutes, use a paper towel to wipe the windows dry. They should be left squeaky clean and streak-free.
A quick word about paint…
There are some paints on the market that are definitely to be avoided during pregnancy. Never use old or cheap paint in case it contains lead — although none of the respected paint and DIY brands use lead in their products anymore. Oil-based paints and thinners contain solvents, which have been linked to pregnancy issues in the past, so check before you buy.
Although there aren’t any many direct links between everyday cleaning chemicals and pregnancy complications, reducing your exposure to these synthetic compounds has to be a good thing. Wherever you can, switch to a natural alternative for cleaning, and you can minimise the chances of any cleaning-related health issues during your pregnancy.