You might need to hide this post from any children, or else I’m sure to hear some, “Gee, Thanks” complaints from them. Nonetheless, herein lies one of the biggest perks for me of natural house cleaning. Not only is most of this stuff safe to use around children, it is also safe for children to use.
Prior to my switch to natural house cleaners, my house cleaning was more of a covert operation. I didn’t want my kids breathing the fumes while I was cleaning and I didn’t want them coming up behind me and getting ahold of a spray bottle. (Yep, that happened once. My first call to poison control. Just so you know, one spray of Formula 409 in the mouth isn’t considered a problem. At least not to them.) And so I was left to cleaning late at night while they were in bed, or during those precious few nap hours.
However, now that I use house cleaners mostly made from things meant to go in or on the body, the kids can help clean the messes they help make.
It takes a little bit of pretense on my part to make housecleaning sound like great fun, but anything they can do is one less thing that I have to do, and more time is left for having fun. So, one kid really likes the squeegee, so that one “gets” to do mirrors and windows, with a spray solution of diluted vinegar or pure club soda. My 5-year old likes spray bottles and a bright, child-sized scrub brush I found, so that means bathroom sinks and counters, using the All-Purpose Spray made with Sal Suds or Castile Soap. Maybe things aren’t quite as sparkly or streak-free as if I did it myself, but you know what they say about practice and perfection.
As a first step, kids can be cleaning their own toys with non-toxic green cleaners. That will certainly turn some chores into play time!
When the kids clean with these solutions, it’s OK if they accidentally leave some of the solution on the surfaces. The residue isn’t harmful. There aren’t any fumes to worry about. If any of the spray ends up on—or in—my kids, there is no need to call poison control. (I am not recommending drinking Castile Soap or Sal Suds. It will probably cause a slight tummy ache. And I would wait until a child has enough coordination to direct a spray bottle away from his or her face.)
I still prepare the solutions myself because there are a few ingredients that go into my natural house cleaning solutions that are very potent full strength. I am thinking of the essential oils.
It has taken me a while to arrive at this realization—that these cleaning solutions are safe enough for kids to use. And now it has really changed how we, as a family, do housecleaning. Otherwise, I don’t know how long I would have waited before I was comfortable cleaning with my kids in the room, or even how much longer beyond that before they themselves could start learning how to clean a house. Now, I am hoping that since they are cleaning up the messes of their own making, perhaps they might be a little more conscientious about not making the messes in the first place. We’ll keep our fingers crossed on that one.
Note: That 5-year old now towers over me!