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Cleaning Chemicals to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman cleaning a window

As mothers embark on their pregnancy journey, there are countless considerations to keep in mind. One major area of concern is harmful cleaning chemicals. They can be hard to avoid if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Get ahead of potential harm as we discuss cleaning chemicals to avoid and tips for cleaning while pregnant.

Any chemical or substance that can potentially cause harm to a fetus or embryo is called a “teratogen”.

Some common examples you may already be aware of are cigarettes, alcohol, and illicit drugs. If you are exposed to a teratogen while pregnant, you run the risk of causing physical or functional defects in the developing child.

It’s important to avoid any prolonged exposure to teratogens throughout your pregnancy. Common household products that you normally wouldn’t think twice about using could put your unborn baby at risk. But, of course, in order to do so, you have to know what to look for. 

What Household Chemicals To Avoid During Pregnancy

There are a host of chemicals to be on the lookout for in your cleaning products. It can be near impossible to completely avoid all of these chemicals.

Some of them are not only prominent in cleaning products but also other common household items you interact with on a daily basis. The first step in reducing potentially harmful consequences is to know what to avoid and where they might be lurking. 

Here are some of the top culprits to avoid: 


Phthalates in ingredient list

According to research
, phthalates are associated with reductions in healthy gestation. This chemical is one of the most widespread and potentially the hardest to avoid.

Not only is it present in many cleaning products but it’s also a prominent ingredient in a number of other household staples as well. Moreover, this chemical can be a tricky one to track down. It’s often listed in ingredient lists as a “fragrance” or “perfume”.

Check for phthalates in your laundry detergent, fabric softener, and any other fragrant cleaning product. It’s best to swap your usual cleaning arsenal out with unscented alternatives while you’re pregnant. Additionally, phthalates can be found in many plastics, food packaging, and personal care items such as lotion.

Of course, some of these items are impossible to avoid but, generally, try to steer clear of scented products throughout your pregnancy.  

Glycol Ethers

Glycol Ethers in an ingredient list

Another family of ingredients to avoid are glycol ethers. These chemicals are considered the most toxic substances found in household cleaning products. Unfortunately, their regular use has been linked with miscarriages. You can find these chemicals in products such as Windex Aerosol and Lemon Fresh Pine-Sol. 

These chemicals are hard to avoid if you have to clean at home or if cleaning is a part of your occupation. They are found in a widespread of common household cleaners. One glycol ethers to look out for in particular is 2-Butoxyethanol. To avoid this chemical, try swapping your normal cleaning products out with options that don’t include this ingredient. 

Aerosols and Air Fresheners 

Woman holding an air freshener spray bottle


Aerosols are known to contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and phthalates. We already touched on the adverse effects of phthalate-derived fragrances. Exposure to VOCs can be quite harmful too. They are known to cause birth defects in developing babies.

If you do use aerosols or air fresheners during your pregnancy, be sure to check for potentially harmful ingredients. Look out for chlorine, alcohol, ammonia, sodium hydroxide, glycol ether, and sodium hydroxide. But it’s best to simply avoid these products altogether during pregnancy if possible. 


Person spraying a toxic pesticide on plants

This isn’t technically a cleaning product but it is an important household item to avoid. Pesticides are engineered to attack the nervous system of insects and other pests. It can inadvertently hinder the development of a fetus’ nervous system development. In the first 3 to 8 weeks of your first trimester, this can be especially troublesome. This is when your baby’s neural tube development takes place. 

Between agriculture and personal homes and gardens, we use about 4.5 billion pounds of pesticides yearly in the United States. But the good news is that they’re fairly easy to avoid. For one, don’t spray weeds with pesticides while you’re pregnant. If you want to be extra precarious, you can also opt to buy local, organic fruits and vegetables. But rest assured that the risk factor of eating pesticide grown produce is fairly low if not nonexistent.

Tips For Cleaning While Pregnant

While pregnant, it’s best to pass on any cleaning duties to someone else if you have the means to. But this usually isn’t accessible to most families. Luckily, if you plan on cleaning during your pregnancy, there are ways to protect yourself and your unborn baby. 

Wear Gloves

Gloves are a vital tool to keep close at hand when cleaning during pregnancy. A lot of harmful chemicals make their way into your bloodstream through your skin (dermal). Be sure to reduce the odds of this by never coming in direct contact with cleaning solutions.  

Check Every Label 

Be aware of the products you’re regularly using to clean. You never know what harmful ingredients might be lurking within the most unassuming cleaning products. Even seemingly natural, eco-friendly cleaning products might contain harmful chemicals.

Open a Window 

Another way chemicals can absorb into the bloodstream is through the lungs. If you’re using a harsh cleaning chemical, reduce your risk of harm by cracking a window. Proper ventilation is one of the best ways to protect you and your baby from harmful chemicals. To take this one step further, wear a face mask to protect yourself from harmful chemical inhalation.

Find a Natural Cleaning Solution 

The world keeps moving after you get the news that you’re having a baby. Messes will continue to arise and you might just have to be the one to clean them up. If you don’t have the luxury of completely avoiding cleaning products while pregnant, you can at least pick a solution you know won’t hurt you or your developing baby. 

At Green Earth, we make people our priority. Our hospital-grade cleaning supplies are so safe you can use them on your kid’s or pet’s favorite toy without worry. At the same time, our Electro-Biocide™ technology is still effective in eliminating most odors, bacteria, mold, and other pathogenic organisms. If you’re pregnant, this is the perfect solution for you! 

Browse our inventory! We offer everything from disinfectant spray to gel hand sanitizer. Whatever you need, we’re here to keep your home clean and your family healthy!