Adopting a new definition of “clean”

We all know the basics of what pregnant women need to avoid — alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc.  But, we don’t often think of the other potentially harmful things we eat or otherwise come into contact with that could effect our unborn babies.  Deli meat, for example.  Pregnant women are now advised to avoid deli meat  (unless heated until steaming) due to possible exposure to the listeria bacteria which can cause preterm labor, miscarriage, or stillbirth.  I mentioned this to a friend of mine who has a 4 year old and she didn’t remember this being a recommendation when she was pregnant just a short time ago.

New research is surfacing and things are constantly changing.  It makes me wonder what other “common” activities, foods, and chemicals are harmful that we just aren’t yet aware of.  Bringing a baby into the world makes me even more concerned about it.

This concern is what has prompted me to switch to organic cleaning products.  I’m currently reading the book, “Green This!” by Deirdre Imus.  Did you know that some chemicals used in household cleaners have been found in umbilical cord blood and have the ability to cross the placenta?  That really freaks me out, because the placenta is kind of a big deal.  It protects our babies from all sorts of harmful things, but some substances are just too much for it and they can cross it and harm a baby.  These super harmful substances include things like alcohol, drugs, and cigarette smoke, so it’s interesting that we are “cleaning” our homes with chemical-based products that can prove just as harmful as the substances that most of us wouldn’t dream of exposing ourselves to during pregnancy.

I’m beginning by getting rid of all the non-organic cleaners in my home, which, admittedly, is most of them.  I switched to using Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products, which I love.  However, while some of the products are reasonably priced, some are a little too expensive for me to buy on a regular basis.  So I am also exploring making my own cleaning products out of all natural products like borax, lemon juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, olive oil, and baking soda.  It’s amazing how much less expensive it is to make my own cleaning products and I have the added benefit of peace of mind knowing that I can clean my home without posing any unnecessary harm to my family.

The first homemade product I made was laundry detergent and I love it!  Here’s the recipe:

1 cup Borax

1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (in laundry aisle)

1 bar Ivory soap, grated

a few drops of essential oil (optional) – I used lavender

Mix all of the ingredients and store in an airtight container.  From what I understand, this detergent will work in high efficiency washers, too.  You only have to use 1 tablespoon per load, so it lasts a really long time!