Green Cleaning Around Baby
When it comes to cleaning baby items we have to walk a fine line between trying to get rid of the germs and not using toxic chemicals that the baby could ingest. I suggest using some DIY recipes for cleaning. These are recipes you can make at home and will work safely on items that are near your baby. We also have to remember that babies LOVE to put their mouths on everything, so we should use very green cleaners on all their items.
Here are some recommendations for cleaning specific baby items:
Use a microfiber cloth with an all-purpose cleaner which is a mixture of white distilled vinegar and seltzer water. The vinegar is a natural way to kill bacteria and germs. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you can add an essential oil to it and the oil will cancel out the vinegar smell. Now you have a great anti-bacterial spray that won’t hurt the baby.
Use hydrogen peroxide to clean baby toys. Whether hard plastic or stuffed, hydrogen peroxide will kill the germs, yet is safe if baby puts them in his/her mouth. Hydrogen peroxide is used in hospitals to kill germs and is also used by dentists to whiten our teeth!
Clean the baby tub before and after being used. Spray it down with an all-natural spray and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. The microfiber will catch and hold the dirt and wipe it right off the tub. You want to make sure you clean the tub after the bath too, just because you just never know what may have gotten into the water during the bath (if you get my drift). Babies don’t know how to control their bowels or bladder, so you need to use the antibacterial spray on the tub after the bath too.
Get a very good mattress cover for the mattress. Organic mattresses are the best, but if you can’t afford them, just buy a high quality mattress cover to keep the allergens inside the mattress. I would also recommend an organic cotton cover too. Launder it with a gentle laundry soap so that it doesn’t bother the baby’s skin or promote allergies. You can make your own laundry soap from a recipe. I have one from my Great Grandmother which has four simple ingredients – baking soda, washing soda, soap flakes and Borax. This recipe washes totally out of the clothes so there won’t be any residual detergent in the mattress cover to aggravate the baby’s skin. If you don’t want to make your own, there is a good natural soap called Charlie’s Soap that moms love for baby clothes and diapers.
Keep a bottle of anti-bacterial spray (natural) right by the table for accidents. I also would use paper towels here – so you can throw it away right after cleaning. I know this isn’t a green solution- but it is safer than reusing a rag or cloth. The linens should be cleaned in a gentle laundry soap.
Keep a microfiber cloth and a small spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner in the bottom of the stroller. Cleaning right when an accident happens is much easier that waiting until you get home. A simple spill will harden in the hot car, and will be 10x worse to remove. Also, a simple spot remover for spills on the fabric would be good to keep with you as well. You can make a spot wipe with vinegar and club soda with some lemon essential oil to keep handy. Just soak the mixture in paper towels and store in a zip lock bag.
Three recipes for DIY cleaners that are safe for babies and young children. They all are from The Joy of Green Cleaning.
Great Grandma’s Laundry Soap
- 2 cups Soap Flakes1-cup baking soda
- 1-cup Borax
- 1-cup washing soda
- Essential oil for scent, 6-8 drops
Mix and store in an airtight container. Use 2 tablespoons for a front loader – 1/2 cups for a top loader.
Daily All-Purpose Cleaner (disinfectant)
- 1-cup white vinegar
- 1-cup seltzer water
- 8 drops tea tree oil
- 1/8 cup hydrogen peroxide (Will only disinfect for short time – you can add more each time you want to use the cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide is very volatile and turns to water quickly.)
- 1/4-cup vinegar
- 1/4-cup club soda
- 8 drops essential oil for scent
Combine all these ingredients and soak 20 heavy-duty paper towels in the mixture. Squeeze out the excess and store in a zip lock bag. Use for spots and spills as needed.
What Does Gaia Mean?
Quite simply, Gaia is life. She is all, the very soul of the earth. She is a goddess who, by all accounts, inhabits the planet, offering life and nourishment to all her children. In the ancient civilizations, she was revered as mother, nurturer and giver of life. She goes by many names, but in an effort to better connect and understand this energy, let’s explore the myriad of forms in which she appears on Earth.
Gaia in Goddess Traditions
Every culture has their version of the Earth Goddess. The Greeks called her Gaia, while the Incas know her as PachaMama. In some cases, she predates writing: ancient, pre-linguistic references to her have been found, alongside shrines, statues and paintings of her in every corner of the globe. She is the first goddess, the primeval one, the creator of all life and the fullness of her legacy is still being resurrected after patriarchal suppression.
The paleolithic Venus figures dot all of Europe, hearkening a worship of the feminine earth mother which has been lost to us. Despite the efforts of many historians, archaeologists and artists, we’re only now beginning to remember the stories of the goddess.
Gaia in Greek Mythology
To the Greeks, Gaia was the ultimate goddess of raw, maternal power. In the beginning, there was chaos, nebulous ethers waiting to take form. This primordial landscape awaited direction; it’s then that the spirit of Gaia arrived to give structure to the formless and the Earth was conceived.
Mother of Life
She became the Earth, birthing all form of landscape, plant and creature. Though her creation was majestic, her solitude was great. She longed for love and created the sky with whom she mated, igniting a creative force which birthed countless offspring: Time and the Fates, the Muses and the oceans, to name a few. She’s considered the primeval mother of whom all gods—and life itself—descended.
A Return to Divine Feminine
As the prevalence of gods and goddesses in the 19th and 20th centuries faded away, so did history books’ tales of female pharaohs, women scientists and amazon warriors. History is kept by the victors—and the victors are most often men. This left a void in collective consciousness and Gaia was relegated to mythology alone. With the convergence of feminism in the 1970s, all that changed when a groundbreaking pro-female establishment was founded, providing new understanding of how our planet operates.
Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis
In 1970, chemist James Lovelock and his research partner Lynn Margulis (the wife of Carl Sagan at the time) proposed that the earth is a living being, self-regulating the elements to sustain life on it. This revolutionary hypothesis was seen as heretical, but has since been accepted as fact; a theory, no longer a hypothesis.
Their work suggested that in the earth chemicals all “talk” to one another to protect life on the planet; all elements work in perfect harmony to ensure life on earth is sustained. The stability of life and its consistent ability to self-regulate and protect earth’s creatures connotes a universe much more intelligent than previously imagined. Gaia theory taught that a sophisticatedly aware universe is regulating these many facets to protect and preserve life on the planet.
Far beyond the mythological Gaia, the name has come to represent an all-loving, nurturing and intelligent cosmic force which oversees life on earth. The goddess traditions have worked tirelessly to resurrect the ancient teachings of the Great Mother and ensure her presence as a force of love on the planet. More than saving the planet or participating in Earth Day celebrations, we can treat every day like a ceremony. To be in a sincere connected relationship with Gaia, we must acknowledge her sundry gifts and be open to receive her wisdom.