Having a baby completely changes your view of the world. Keeping your baby safe, healthy and happy becomes the most important thing. In light of this, since having my baby I have endeavoured to keep my house tidy and clean at all times, using polish, surface sprays, anti-bac wipes, bleach, etc. My step-daughter was sick a couple of weeks ago and I went mad ‘anti-bacing’ every surface and door handle in the house! When I clean the house, I take the baby out of the room I’m cleaning, or if Hubby’s about, I get him to take the baby out. I can’t bear the thought of her breathing in the polish spray or the toilet gel. After a while I began to wonder why I was happy to spray these chemicals all over my house if I wasn’t happy to use them in front of the baby. Also, even after washing my hands with soap they would still smell of the cleaning products. Obviously I am then touching baby.
Because of this I began to research ‘baby-friendly’ cleaning products. The products I found were produced by reputable baby brands, such as Milton and Ecover, however a quick scan of the ingredient list shows a whole host of chemicals.
Many household cleaners, such as toilet gel and oven cleaner, contain corrosive chemicals: Chlorine bleach and Ammonia, which have high acute toxicity, produce fumes which are extremely irritating to our throats and lungs and advice suggests these should not be used around people with asthma or lung problems. Personally I would take this a step further and question why we use them around anybody! To make matters worse, when Chlorine bleach and Ammonia are mixed together they produce a highly toxic gas called Chloramine Gas. Chloramine Gas exposure can lead to pulmonary irritation and pneumonitis. You can see why I don’t want to use these products around my precious new born, or around the rest of my family!
So began my research into natural homemade cleaners. Although many of the recipes varied, they all use the same basic ingredients: White Vinegar, Water, Bicarbonate of Soda and Lemon or other essential oils.
I decided to make my household cleaner using white vinegar, water and the juice of half a lemon. Here’s why:
- · White Vinegar contains acetic acid. Acetic acid is an organic compound produced through the fermentations of sugars and is the reason vinegar cleans so well. White Vinegar prevents mould, mildew, and some bacteria’s (for example, salmonella) from growing.
- · Lemon juice has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities. As they are highly acidic, the juice cuts through grease and neutralises odours.
I bought the bottles from the pound shop, although washed up empty bottles would be fine as well. I filled the bottle with water and then poured it into a measuring jug. It showed that the bottle would hold a pint of liquid. I used the same amount of water and white vinegar – just under half a pint. This left enough room to squeeze half a lemon’s juice into the bottle. Give the bottle a good shake and your good to go!
I have used my spray in the kitchen as a surface cleaner. I’ve also used it in the living room and dining room as a polish replacement with a microfiber cloth. I have also used it in the bathroom as a sink and bath cleaner. It worked perfectly in all places. The spray has a light vinegar and lemon smell as your using it, but the smell dissipates almost immediately – My house does not smell like fish and chips if that’s what you’re wondering! I was happy to use it with the baby in the room, and my hands don’t smell after using it!
Cleaning our homes with chemicals is the norm, something we don’t think twice about. But when the question does pop into your mind it opens the floodgates to a whole host of other issues . . . what can I replace the toilet gel with? What is in baby soap and body cleaning products? What is in baby wipes? I will be investigating these issues and others, and putting some homemade alternatives to the test in the upcoming months.
If you’d like to use a homemade cleaning spray but don’t want to make your own, I’d be happy to help :-)
Let me know what you think of the issues raised? Did having a baby change the way you did any of life’s basic tasks? Have you used any homemade cleaning products?