We’ve all been there, the kitchen has gotten so dirty it’s about to be declared a health hazard. You’ve finally had more than you can take and grab your bucket full of cleaning supplies only to get started and hear “Mommy, I help”.
You’re frozen in terror!
If I let him help, nothing will get cleaned, he’ll probably make a bigger mess, it’ll take 5 times as long, but the biggest concern, are my cleaning products safe for kids to use? Do I have child safe cleaning products?
If I don’t let him help, I’ll be entertaining him instead of finally cleaning and the kitchen will definitely be declared a health hazard and then I’ll look like a really horrible mom.
Of Course Kids Should Help Clean
Seriously, they make most of the mess, don’t they? Well, I guess that depends on the age and what the mess is.
I think we can all agree that getting kids involved with cleaning from a very early age is ideal. I mean, when they are super young they want to help with everything you’ve got to harness that excitement while you can.
Keep it age appropriate of course. I wouldn’t recommend toilet cleaning before they’re potty trained…you’re just asking for trouble.
The one thing I wish I did differently when my kids were young was to have them put away toys from one play session before they moved to the next. That has come back to bite me in the ass. Our house is in a constant state of clutter because we don’t put things away when we’re done with them. We are a work in progress.
Are My Cleaning Products Safe For Kids to Use?
In the last 30 seconds you have gone back and forth on whether or not to let him help clean and you’ve made the brave decision to let him.
We’re growing adults here, aren’t we? Sure it may take more patience, effort and time now but it will pay off in spades later, or so they say.
You give him the sponge and ask him to wipe down the lower cabinet doors because surely, that’s safe. Sure sponges are naaasty but he can wash his hands after. You have yet to determine what harmful chemicals may be in the products you currently have so it’s best not to use those yet.
Toxic Chemicals to Look For on Cleaning Product Labels
The first thing you need to know is there are currently no federal regulations of chemicals in cleaning products. If this is the first time you’re hearing this I’m sorry. Go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor, we’ve got work to do.
Do you remember trying to read the ingredients on the last cleaning product you bought?
It was so freakin confusing that if you’re like I was, you gave up figuring you’d look online when you got home. Buttt, you never got around to it because well, there’s a million other things to do and you forgot.
Toxic Chemicals Lurking in Cleaning Products
Time to hit the cabinet(s) where you store all your cleaning products. These are what you want to look out for:
- quaternary ammonium compounds (quats)
Phthalates – any time you see ‘fragrance’ as an ingredient, you can be certain phthalates are in there. These disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm count and cause reproductive malformations.
Fragrance – catch all term that includes phthalates and roughly 4000 other chemicals that aren’t listed anywhere so you have no idea if they are safe or not.
Triclosan – a probable carcinogen, it’s included in products that are antibacterial such as dish detergents, hand soaps, hand sanitizers, etc. It’s very aggressive and can lead to the growth of drug resistant bacteria (superbugs). Awesome, not!
Formaldehyde – found in laundry detergents and other household cleaners. The health concerns here are cancer, skin irritation and organ toxicity.
Ammonia – found in glass cleaner and polishing agents. It’s a very strong irritant which can lead to asthma and breathing problems in the elderly and those with lung and/or breathing problems.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (quats) – found in household cleaners labeled antibacterial as well as fabric softeners and dryer sheets. They are a skin irritant and with extended use, can lead to respiratory disorders such as asthma.
2-butoxyethanol – found in window and multipurpose cleaners. The scariest part is by law, it’s not required to be listed on the product label. When inhaled, it can cause sore throat and lead to narcosis, pulmonary edema and severe kidney and liver damage. Interestingly, the government has set workplace safety standards but not in home safety, and you’re in a much smaller space at home. So just hold your breath, right!?!
Which Cleaning Products are Safe For Kids to Use?
One option is to make your own. You can hit up Pinterest and find over a gazillion homemade cleaning product recipes for just about any cleaning job and they must work because lots of people swear by them.
I tried making my own cleaning products using recipes I found on Pinterest. Let’s just say that idea didn’t pan out very well for me.
After not having much success in that area, I opted to try some of the child safe cleaning products that I found in the Environmental Working Group (EWG) database.
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Some of my favorite child safe cleaning products were:
Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner
Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap – we also use this in our foaming hand soap dispensers.
Seventh Generation Dishwasher Detergent
Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear
It’s hard to believe but it’s been so long, I can’t remember the other products I used before switching to Norwex cleaning products.
I was still bothered by the amount of waste generated by wipes, plastic bottles, paper towels, dusting cloths, sponges, etc that I went looking for a better solution.
I found Norwex and have never looked back. I love that they generate less waste because they are reusable for many years and that for the most part, you’re just using a microfiber cloth and water so there are no chemicals that could harm you.
These products are amazing and have made cleaning so much easier but still, you do have to use the products to have a clean house. I’m not a huge fan of cleaning.
So how did your kiddo do helping you clean? My kids are older now (teens) and they don’t ask to help clean…but they have to because, well, they want to keep their phones.
Make it a green day!