Our 2022 Guide to Cleaning while Pregnant
Everything You Need to Know About Safe Cleaning Products for Pregnancy
Are pregnancy safe cleaning products labeled as such?
Sadly, no. There’s no official seal or certification specific to this product category. The good news is that most cleaning products are safe to use while you're pregnant, although there are some you should avoid altogether. In general, products that include logos from Good Housekeeping Green, Well Building, and the EPA generally include more pregnancy safe Ingredients than traditional chemically based cleaners.
We recommend reading the ingredients listed on your cleaning products. For example, arbOUR’s Everyday Spray is made smarter with these five pregnancy safe ingredients:
Non-caustic citric acid & stearic acid
Lemongrass essential oil
Soap bark (Quillaja Saponin)
What cleaning products should I avoid while pregnant?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, you should avoid using cleaning products that include the following ingredients:
Glycol ethers. Most commonly found in oven cleaners, and sometimes listed as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) or methoxydiglycol (DEGME), this toxic substance has been associated with miscarriage, decreased male fertility, and birth defects.
Phthalates. Prenatal exposure to phthalates may increase the risk of congenital reproductive anomalies in male children. If a label lists generic “fragrance,” it likely contains phthalates.
Aerosol Cleaners with alcohol, ammonia, chlorine, glycol and glycol-ethylene, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), acrylic polymers, and terpenes. Prenatal exposure to spray cleaners with these ingredients may increase the risk of asthma. There’s no increased risk of asthma if cleaners with these ingredients aren’t sprayed because there’s far less chance of inhaling harmful chemicals.
Air fresheners and caustic drain cleaners are also a no-no, according to the Environmental Working Group.
So, what kind of ingredients ARE safe to use while pregnant? ArbOUR products are safe to use as directed. You won’t find any of the ingredients listed above.
Take our Laundry Detergent, which is made up of: water, a proprietary blend of anionic and nonionic surfactants, sodium salts, sodium lauriminodipropionate, potassium salt of an anionic phosphate ester, caprylyl/decyl glucoside – all of which are safe to use while pregant.
Is cleaning with bleach while pregnant OK?
The active ingredient in bleach is sodium hypochlorite, a form of chlorine. According to Mother to Baby, a nonprofit that specializes in answering questions about safety and risk of exposures during pregnancy, chlorine and chlorinated disinfectants have not been shown to increase the risk of birth defects.
If you do use bleach to whiten those whites before the baby arrives, we still recommend extra steps to ensure safety:
Make sure that you have good ventilation
Wear protective gloves and clothing to protect your skin
Always read the warning and instruction labels
The makers of Clorox Bleach also say you don’t need to follow any special precautions besides general ones you should always follow when handling liquid bleach:
Use recommended amounts
Dilute and use as instructed
Avoid splashes and spills
That said, never mix bleach with ammonia. It’s dangerous for anyone—not just pregnant people—to inhale.
When I check product labels, what should I look for to confirm safe cleaning during pregnancy?
Reputable brands clearly spell out what’s in—and what’s not in—their products. Look for natural non-toxic ingredients, plant-derived fragrances, and a pledge to source sustainably.
Here are common terms you may see when reading the labels of cleaning products and what they mean:
Antibacterials are compounds that interfere with the growth and reproduction of bacteria, and can be used to disinfect surfaces in the home.
Biodegradable ingredients break down in the environment once they enter wastewater treatment plants, rivers, streams or landfills.
This term means the product produces fewer allergic reactions than other conventional products.
Manufacturers use the term to mean that some or all of the ingredients come from plants or minerals rather than petroleum.
Phosphate in laundry and dishwashing detergents can trigger harmful algae blooms in our water supplies, so you will see phosphate-free listed more often these days.
Should I wear gloves when I am cleaning?
Unless you’re taking a swig from the bottle of your household cleaner, the harmful ingredients are unlikely to reach and affect your baby. But it’s always a good idea to limit potential exposure to your skin, where trace amounts can be absorbed.
Wearing rubber gloves while you wipe down your kitchen counters can give you some extra piece of mind. For added safety while cleaning, use non-toxic plant-based products like arbOUR.
Similarly, wearing a mask while using spray cleaners can help you avoid inhaling any droplets. Plus, a mask may help you feel less nauseous if your sense of smell is heightened during pregnancy. Skip the mask and avoid any smell issues by using our unscented product line.
Should I have my partner do all of the cleaning?
While it may be tempting to tell your partner that you’re not allowed to handle cleaning products while pregnant, this technically isn’t the case. However, as a soon-to-be parent, asking for help with household chores will only serve you and your family well in the long run. Trust us, it takes a village.
Learn more about arbOUR pregnancy safe cleaning products (including pregnancy safe laundry detergent).
With no dyes, chlorine, sulfates, parabens, or other chemicals and caustics, our cleaners can be used safely while pregnant on almost any hard, nonporous surface in your home.
We offer an Everyday Spray, Everyday Wipes, and something new parents everywhere are sure to appreciate: a pregnancy safe laundry detergent. Once the new baby arrives, you may find yourself asking, “How many times does a baby need a change of clothes?” The answer is a lot.
The good news is that we formulated our laundry detergent to get out more than just stains — it also rids nasty buildup and makes those onesies softer after just a few washes.
Curious about what makes arbOUR different from standard cleaners? (Hint: Soapbark is our secret ingredient that’s safe for people, pets, and our planet — and it actually kills germs.) Learn more here.