Toxic chemicals are lurking in many household cleaning products, and if you are pregnant, you are worried about the safety of your baby. So let’s find out whether it is safe to use OxiClean during pregnancy?
Reducing exposure to toxic chemicals during pregnancy is a wise thing to do for your baby’s safety.
We are exposed to chemicals (indoor or outdoor) in our daily life. Whether you are using regular shampoo, facewash, beauty products or sleeping on a mattress, or using a pregnancy pillow, you are exposed to toxic chemicals. Fortunately, the quantity of those chemicals is low enough to cause any harm.
But exposure to large quantities and/or long-term to those chemicals during pregnancy may increase the risk of having a baby with congenital or long-term health issues.
If you are reading this article means that you are worried about the safety of your baby during pregnancy. You want to know whether it is safe to continue using OxiClean during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
If you have been using OxiClean to remove stains from the fabric or carpet, you may want to take precautions while using it during pregnancy. That being said, there is no immediate health concern if you have used it recently during pregnancy, as it is considered a low-risk product with limited potential to cause a health hazard.
But let’s look at all the ingredients of OxiClean in detail to decide whether it is safe to use OxiClean during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
What is OxiClean?
OxiClean is a versatile stain remover, and it is available in powder form. The powder gets activated when it gets added to hot or warm water. So the bubbling sound you hear when you apply to fabric is nothing but oxygen releasing and binding to the stain and working to remove the stain.
Basically, it is a formula that uses the chemical structure of oxygen to fight the stain. According to OxiClean company, their product is non-toxic to human health and the ecosystem as it gets broken down into natural compound. The great thing about OxiClean is that it does not contain chlorine (unlike bleach), a major skin irritant. It is also known as oxygen bleach.
OxiClean can be used to remove stains from clothing, carpet, upholstery and can also be used to clean hard surfaces indoors and outdoor.
According to Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), the main ingredients of OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover are
Disodium Carbonate (55-70%)
Carbonate Peroxyhydrate (30-40%)
Ethoxylated Alcohol, C12-C15 (1-5%)
Disodium Carbonate or Sodium carbonate is also known as washing soda or soda ash. It is a salt-based surfactant commonly used in household cleaning products. The main purpose of Sodium carbonate in stain remover is to allow water to penetrate stubborn stain and lift it off the fabric.
While sodium carbonate is a safer alternative than other harsh surfactants, exposure to a very concentrated form can be potentially harmful. For example, household cleaning solutions usually contain sodium carbonate at a level of 10%, which is moderately irritating to bare skin.
But OxiClean contains sodium carbonate at a level of 50-70% (w/w%), which is much higher, and it can react chemically with open skin or burn your skin. It can also cause respiratory irritation or difficulty in breathing if inhaled for a longer duration.
You may be happy to know that sodium carbonate is not carcinogenic or neurotoxic, so you don’t need to worry about it affecting your fetus. However, you need to be extra careful while using it during pregnancy.
Carbonate peroxyhydrate is the active ingredient in OxiClean. It is nothing but a combination of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. Just like sodium carbonate, carbonate peroxyhydrate is not carcinogenic or neurotoxic.
But if ingested, it can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation. And if it comes in contact with the eyes, it can cause eye irritation or redness.
Ethoxylated Alcohol is a common ingredient in detergents, emulsifiers, and wetting agents. Ethoxylated Alcohol is a class of compounds formulated via the reaction of alcohol and ethylene oxide, enabling them to solubilize stain and help remove it.
Undiluted ethoxylated Alcohol is linked to dermal and eye irritation.
According to The US National Toxicology Program, ethoxylated Alcohol is not considered mutagenic or carcinogenic, but one by-product of ethoxylation, 1,4-dioxan, is a possible human carcinogen.
It is also toxic to aquatic life, so it should not be flushed into the sewer system. But given that it is a common ingredient in many detergents or stain remover, it will likely end up in the sewer system.
So, Is it safe to use OxiClean during pregnancy?
Determining the safety of any cleaning products during pregnancy is the hardest job as many chemicals are not studied on pregnant women. Even when chemicals are studied, they are tested on pregnant animals like rats and mice. And the quantity they are exposed to or injected during the study isn’t even close to how you will be exposed to in real life.
So that makes it really hard to decide what is safe and what is not.
But in the case of OxiClean, most of the ingredients are neither carcinogenic nor neurotoxic. So, it is safe to say that OxiClean is safe to use during pregnancy, given that you are not being exposed to larger quantities either through inhalation, ingestion, absorption.
Any chemical can be toxic if it reaches your bloodstream in higher quantities. So, the dosage of a chemical decides whether it is toxic or not. Unless you are drinking (which you are not) the OxiClean or other cleaning product, it is not toxic to you or your baby.
When you are using OxiClean or other cleaning products, you may end up inhaling some of them. However, as long as it is short exposure and you are not doing it frequently, it won’t reach your baby or affect your baby.
Sometimes, chemicals have a strong odor, making you uneasy when you are around the cleaning products. It does not mean that your baby is being affected by its odor. But when you are feeling dizzy or have a breathing problem, which could mean that you are being exposed to a higher dose of chemicals, and it may affect your baby as your baby may not get sufficient oxygen to breathe in.
Another way chemicals get into your bloodstream is via dermal exposure. But that too when your skin is socked in a chemical for a long time, or you have an open skin. Even then, there is no evidence that shows the adverse effect on the fetus.
With OxiClean, all the ingredients are caustic to the skin. So, care should be taken while using it during pregnancy or otherwise. Wearing gloves and safety glasses should do the trick to protect your skin and eyes. Also, if you are using OxiClean spray as a stain remover on carpet or upholstery, as a precaution, wear a mask and keep the room well ventilated to avoid breathing in the vapor of the chemical.
Related Reading: Is it Safe to use Lysol during Pregnancy?
A better Alternative than OxiClean
While OxiClean is not considered toxic to human health (toxic for Aquatic life), it is still caustic to the skin. So, if you want to avoid exposure to OxiClean during pregnancy, there is a safer alternative.
The active ingredient in OxiClean is hydrogen peroxide, so to make a safer alternative, you need to take hydrogen peroxide, natural surfactants like castile soap, and water softening agents like baking soda.
Here is a formula for a safer alternative to OxiClean
You can fill this mixture in a spray bottle or use ½ cup in your next laundry. It will almost give you a similar result without being too harsh on your skin or aquatic life.
Does OxiClean contain Bleach?
No, OxiClean does not contain Chlorine bleach. But it contains 50-70% of Sodium carbonate, which is called Oxygen bleach.
Which is safer – OxiClean or Bleach?
Classic bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, a form of chlorine that is not safe for many fabrics and can be toxic in case of dermal or ocular exposure. While OxiClean is a safer alternative to chlorine bleach and can be used to remove stains on whites and colors.
Can you mix OxiClean with laundry detergent?
OxiClean is not laundry detergent, and it should be added to laundry detergent to boost detergents cleaning power.
Is OxiClean hypoallergenic?
OxiClean is a safer alternative to chlorine bleach and does not contain harsh chemicals. It is also available in a fragrance-free version. Therefore, OxiClean is hypoallergenic. OxiClean Baby is also available for babies.
Can you use OxiClean to remove stains from baby clothes or cloth diapers?
OxiClean is considered non-toxic and hypoallergenic (fragrance-free version), so it is safe to use it on baby clothes or diapers to remove food or poop stains. It also works great for removing stains from cloth diapers and baby clothes. I have used OxiClean free version for washing baby clothes in laundry load and never looked back. You can also try the OxiClean baby version if you do not want to use OxiClean free version.
Can you use washing soda instead of OxiClean?
If you are making your version of OxiClean, you can use washing soda or baking soda, depending on your need. For example, if you want to get rid of stubborn stains, then use washing soda, but for a gentle version, use baking soda along with castile soap, water, and hydrogen peroxide (recipe listed above).
OxiClean is generally considered safe to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This is because all the ingredients in OxiClean are neither carcinogenic nor neurotoxic. But they are caustic to your skin.
So, precautions should be taken while using OxiClean during pregnancy. Gloves, safety glasses, and well-ventilated room while using OxiClean will avoid exposure.
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