There must be something about the longer days and the fresh spring air that inspires people to take stock, organize, and clean their spaces. And when you welcome baby into your home, you want to ensure that surfaces are safe for crawling, chewing, and exploring. Thankfully, you can take a few steps to tidy the nursery to make it a safer space.
Make the Nursery a Shoe-Free Zone
It may appear as a no-brainer for keeping your cutie’s floor clean, but not wearing shoes is about much more than dirt. The soles of sneakers pick up all kinds of gross stuff, including mold spores, germs, bacteria, and parasites. A study from the University of Arizona discovered that more than 421,000 different bacteria were found on the bottoms of shoes—some of which can make your family sick.
At the top of the list is poop from birds, dogs, humans, you name it. Picking up fecal matter is almost an absolute when walking outside, whether it’s animal waste or using a public restroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), E. coli, a bacteria found in feces, has certain strains that can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, and other illnesses.
Another danger lurking underneath your feet is Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), a nasty bacterium that causes colitis, an inflammation of the colon, with symptoms ranging from severe diarrhea to fatal infection for higher-risk individuals, such as those with weakened immune systems and people age 65 and older. A study from the University of Houston found that 26% of shoes carry the bacterial strain, and 17% of homes surveyed were positive for contamination.
While healthy adults may have minimal risk of coming in contact with harmful bacteria on the floor, non-walkers with oral fixations and less mature immune systems are far more susceptible to the risk of illness. The easiest solution? Check your shoes at the nursery—or, better yet, the front door.
Minimize Dust Accumulation
You’re not imagining things. Dust appears overnight and seems to re-cover surface areas once removed quickly. Bedrooms can generate more dust due to high-collection fabrics and furniture, such as comforters, blankets, and rugs. (All those adorable stuffed animal friends on the shelf also contribute.) If a room also has carpet, the particles like bedding fibers, dust mites, and skin cells can accumulate even more. We know your ick-radar is going off, but before you break out the cleaning supplies, ensure your appliances aren’t contributing to the problem in the first place.
Regularly vacuuming is a given, but a clean filter is needed to prevent dust and debris from spreading from room to room. Most vacuum manufacturers recommend replacing the filter every three to six months. Check to ensure nothing is blocking the suction of your vacuum, too. (Pro tip: Some vacuums use more than one filter at a time, depending on power settings and efficiency, so check before you purchase replacements.)
Other common dust offenders include your air conditioning filter and ceiling fan. Keeping your little one’s room cool is essential for quality sleep, but running these appliances overnight will result in more dust if left clogged by dander, dirt, and air pollutants. The new dust simply has nowhere to go but onto the floor, the changing table, or the crib.
Your ceiling fan is less discrete at hiding the evidence and collects along the blade edges over time, whether you use it or not. An extendable duster is helpful for routine maintenance without sending as much dust into the air, or you can opt for a damp cloth (microfiber is best) if cleaning by hand.
Choose Nontoxic Cleaning Products
Ideally, you should clean your babe’s nursery without harsh chemicals; bonus points if you can avoid phosphates, phthalates, preservatives, and fragrances. When used correctly, these gentle agents should suit tummy time sessions and curious crawlers. Here are a few of our go-to essentials: