By making simple changes and practicing child-safe cleaning, you can keep your home clean without exposing your baby to unnecessary risks. For an exhausted mom, it’s a win-win: a healthier baby without loads of extra housework. |
Tips for Child-Safe Cleaning
There are lots of good ways to practice child-safe cleaning. Keeping your child in good health and your home clean doesn't mean you need to go crazy scrubbing every doorknob, says Neeta Ogden.
Rather than rely on conventional cleaners with questionable chemicals to take care of the problem, consider these alternatives:
Place doormats at all entrances and encourage family members to wipe their feet. Wiping keeps dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants from getting on carpets. Large doormats that cover two or three strides will ensure that even those who forget to wipe will leave most of the dirt on the mat rather than your carpet.
Encourage family members to remove shoes upon entering the home. Shoes track dirt and other substances onto carpets. If family members can't adjust to going shoeless, suggest that they wear house shoes that don't go outside, slippers, or socks. In fact, bare feet can deposit natural skin oils on carpet, and the oils, in turn, attract dirt.
Vacuum two or more times per week. Frequent vacuuming helps reduce the level of dust mites, which trigger asthma and allergy attacks. It also eliminates surface dirt on carpets before it has a chance to get ground in. A vacuum cleaner with strong suction, rotating brushes, and a HEPA filter, which prevents dirt and dust from blowing back out in the exhaust, is best. Vacuum back and forth over the same spot several times, especially in high-traffic areas, to get all of the dirt and dust. Take care also to vacuum thoroughly along walls and carpet edges, because dirt and dust accumulates there.
Clean up spills on carpets immediately to prevent stains. Soak up liquid spills by covering them with clean white (or light-colored) towels or paper towels. Scrape sticky substances off carpets with a spatula or spoon. Don't rub the spill. That will damage carpet fibers and cause the stain to spread.
Use baking soda to remove odor from carpets. Carpet deodorizers and fresheners often contain fragrances that merely mask the smell. Baking soda soaks up the odor. Keep kids and pets away so they don't inhale the baking soda while it's applied, and sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface of the carpet. Let it stand for 15 to 30 minutes. Then vacuum.
Steam clean carpets with plain water. Adding detergent is generally unnecessary. Just use water and operate the machine as directed. The hot water will remove a considerable amount of dirt, even without detergent. The heat also fluffs up the fibers, returning them to an almost new appearance. Or use a mixture of 1 to 2 cups white vinegar, depending on how dirty the carpet is, and 2 1/2 gallons of water. This is also an effective way to remove rug shampoo residue from earlier carpet cleaning attempts.
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