There's no escaping it - babies make messes. They spit up, they have diaper accidents, they drool, and as they grow they throw their food. This makes for a lot of clean-up!
Cleaning products can contain a wide array of health hazards. You hopefully already know that you can accidentally create toxic gases called chloramines if you mix chlorine bleach with products that contain ammonia. That would be an emergency! Some products contain allergens, phthalates in fragrances, solvents like toluene, and other hormone disrupting or cancer-causing chemicals. Air fresheners in particular have been found to contain allergens. Dryer sheets can contain volatile organic compounds, allergens, asthmagens (such as "quats" or quaternary ammonium compounds). Adding fabric softeners to sleepwear can increase their flammability.
It's amazing how much clean-up you can do with common household ingredients, like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and olive oil.
For babies, it's important to choose fragrance-free (not just "unscented") cleaning products. Remember: the smell of clean is *nothing*. Don't use masking agents, remove the source of the offending odor, or absorb it naturally.
MADE SAFE certifies the following cleaners:
- All Purpose Home Cleaner
- All Purpose Home Cleaner Refill
- Laundry Powder, Unscented
Pure Laundry: Laundry Detergent, Free and Clear
On a budget? There are also plenty of cleaning products you can make at home with inexpensive ingredients. Women's Voices for the Earth offers a lot of DIY cleaning product recipes. We recommend skipping the essential oils.
In general, look for products that disclose all ingredients (including fragrances) and choose plant-based products whenever possible.
You can cut static electricity and still skip dryer sheets by using wool dryer balls.
References & Resources
Learn more about the hidden hazards by reviewing the glossary or take a deep dive by reading Safer Products for Babies and Toddlers: Resources and Recommendations for Retailers.