Your kids can tidy up after themselves, but the heavy duty cleaning of their
childrens activity table and play area is usually left to the parents. And for good cause.
Peruse the cleaner aisle at your neighborhood grocer or peer under the average household sink and you will almost certainly find a stockpile of toxic chemicals that pose a heavily understated risk to our health and our environment. Children are particularly susceptible to the hazards of chemicals found in many common household cleaners.
Ammonia, benzene, chlorine, lye, phenol, ethanol, cresol, and even formaldehyde are present in many ordinary cleaning products. These products are far from ideal for cleaning children's areas, particularly childrens tables and chairs, where they spend so much of their time. Why welcome these poisons into your home, especially when there are safe and organic alternatives readily available?
It is likely that you already own many of the organic alternatives for highly effective cleaning. These non-toxic substances will not only keep your children's activity area free from noxious chemicals, but they also act favorably on the environment and your pocketbook. Vinegar, baking soda, borax (washing soda), citrus peels, lemon juice, fruit surfactants, olive and linseed oils, salt, and toothpaste are each part of an all natural arsenal for combating dirt, stains, and odors.
The use of non-hazardous materials is essential for cleaning your children's high traffic areas. Typical messes such as crayon marks on nearly any surface, including the plastic, wood, and foam materials typically used for childrens tables and chairs, are no match for a simple paste of baking soda and water. You can use rubbing alcohol to do away with marker stains. Another terrific and practical substitute for industrial cleaners is the baby wipe. Keep a container of these handy for spot-cleaning and removing food stains from your children's clothes and carpet.
A one to one mixture of white vinegar and water is tough to beat for all purpose cleaning in your children's high activity areas as well as the rest of your house. Vinegar kills mold, bacteria, and neutralizes foul odors. Borax mixed with water is an excellent germ eliminator. Baking soda and salt can be substituted for scouring powders or sprinkled into carpet to eliminate odors. To polish wooden furniture, use olive or linseed oil mixed with vinegar, or crushed raw nuts for an especially brilliant shine. For a fresh clean scent anywhere, you can always introduce a little lemon juice.
Even with all these health and safety conscious alternatives, there is no substitute for child supervision and responsible storage. Clearly label your homemade solutions and vigilantly reseal the lids on every container after use. For any home with children, a lock is a wise investment to safely store all cleaners, both toxic and non-toxic.
You have the power to create a safer home for you and your children by choosing organic cleaners. There is a wealth of information available in bookstores, libraries, and online concerning child conscious alternatives to hazardous chemicals. Don't hesitate to seek advice on safe and effective child-friendly substitutes, especially for cleaning your children's high activity areas.
How you clean your children's space is up to you. Choose to clean responsibly. For the best cause.