If you are expecting or have a little one at home, you will want to make sure that your home is as safe as possible. Most parents have no problem baby-proofing their apartment by removing breakables and investing in locks and baby gates, but many forget one crucial element: the cleaning cabinet!
Conventional and natural cleaning products harbour many risks to human health and the environment. Unfortunately, babies with their sensitive skin and weak immune system are even more susceptible to health risks associated with cleaning products.
POISONOUS CLEANING PRODUCTS
Many conventional cleaning products are poisonous if ingested, harmful if inhaled or touched, leave toxic residue and contribute to indoor air pollution.
In 2010, American poison control centers received more than 116,000 calls about household cleaner accidents involving children under the age of five. Records show that in 2006, 10,318 children five and under required some sort of medical treatment as a result of poisoning with household cleaners. 744 of them had symptoms that were life-threatening or resulted in significant disabilities.
A lock on your cleaning cabinet will help reduce the risk of your little one getting in there. But what if you forget to lock the cabinet just once, or your baby gets into it while you are in the process of cleaning... the danger is always lurking. Therefore, it’s best to completely avoid any cleaning products labeled “Danger”, "Corrosive" or “Warning”, which might lead to poisoning by ingestion.
On that note, it’s also important to add that all cleaning products leave a residue. If the product is dangerous when ingested, it will also leave a toxic residue on the surfaces that could harm your child.
Dish soap and dishwasher detergent residue can remain on plates, cutlery and sippy cups and be ingested by you as well as the little ones. But everyone who has children knows that babies don’t just take those items into their mouths - nothing is safe from their grabby little fingers and openly drooling mouths.
And that goes to show that all your cleaning products, from the all purpose cleaner that wiped the toys your baby is chewing on to the kitchen cleaner that wiped the table your kid is licking the spilled food from (and don’t forget the floor cleaner when you have a crawling child in the house!), need to be toxin-free and baby-safe.
HARMFUL WHEN TOUCHED
Other cleaning products contain risks through other means than ingestion. For example, many oven, toilet bowl and drain cleaners are often highly acidic or alkaline. When touching the skin, those cleaners can lead to severe chemical burns, which can leave permanent tissue damage or scarring. They are especially dangerous when spray triggers might spray them directly into eyes.
Even with less corrosive cleaning products, it’s important to remember that skin is a living, breathing organism. Chemicals can be absorbed through the skin into the body, and even more so by sensitive baby skin. Even if you wear gloves while cleaning and keep all cleaning products away from your little ones, you can’t avoid all contact, so it’s best not to use caustic cleaners in your home, especially not around your kids.
TOXIC FUMES HARMING EYES AND AIRWAYS
Some cleaning products release fumes which can harm eyes, airways and lungs, such as chlorine. And if you accidentally mix chlorine with a cleaning product containing ammonia, you will have even more dangerous chloramine gas, a strong irritant with potential for serious tissue damage. Even apart from chlorine, studies have shown that the chemicals used in conventional cleaning products can aggravate asthma symptoms, and increase the risk of suffering from asthma.
Many cleaning products also contain volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. They lead to indoor air pollution and can also cause asthmatic attacks. It’s recommended to avoid VOCs in the home as much as possible.
IRRITATIONS AND ALLERGIC REACTIONS
All cleaning products touching skin or being inhaled can lead to irritations or even allergic reactions. Some ingredients used in conventional and even “green” cleaners have been found to aggravate existing allergies and even cause allergic reactions!
It’s especially important to think of your laundry detergents, which also leave residues in blankets and clothes which are constantly touching skin. Word of advice: stay clear of products specially marketed as “baby-safe”, as they are usually no safer than regular products, but with a hefty mark-up!
ALL-NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS FOR A BABY-SAFE HOME
Your best bet to find baby-safe cleaners is to choose all-natural cleaning products which are 100% plant and mineral-based and free of harmful toxins. Unfortunately, not all "green" cleaning products fall into this category. Therefore, not all "green" cleaners are equally suited for you and your family.
In the meantime, you can shop AspenClean cleaning products! All our products are all-natural, non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals, hypoallergenic and absolutely baby-safe.