Watch Out for These 6 Unsafe Items in Your Baby Gear and Cleaning Products

The process for getting your home “baby safe” can seem overwhelming at times, but take it room by room— you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to remove harmful chemicals and toxins from your space, adding in natural cleaning products in their place!

What’s important to understand is that even when lids are closed and pantries are locked, chemical products emit VOCs into the air we breathe and on the surfaces they touch. Studies show that indoor air quality can be up to 500x worse than outdoor air quality as a result of the products we bring into our space.

But remember, there is a non-toxic alternative to everything —and better air is better health—so you’ll strongly want to consider swapping your conventional products for ones that are human-safe for an instantly healthier home.

To get down to the bottom of what parents (and everyone, for that matter!) should be avoiding in their baby and home cleaning products, we asked Kelly Love and Allison Evans, the founders of Branch Basics, a standout brand offering non-toxic, natural home cleaning products. 



Pesticides, repellents, flying insect sprays, and foggers contain a long list of dangerous chemicals that emit harmful VOCs into your indoor air even when they aren’t in use.

These items can contain endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, asthmagens, and neurotoxins, meaning their impact on our health can range from itchy eyes to serious chronic illnesses and even cancer. There’s a non-toxic and sometimes even a homemade alternative to everything out there, so skip the harmful chemicals.

Synthetic Personal Care Products

Use natural, unscented mild soaps and lotions that don’t irritate eyes or skin like Branch Basics’ Foaming Wash or Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap. Become fluent in ingredient labels by scanning for synthetic fragrances, preservatives, petroleum based ingredients, and look up names you don’t recognize on EWG’s Skin Deep database.

For babies, all ingredients should be rated a #1 on the EWG safety scale.

Soft Plastics

Soft plastic toys and pacifiers contain endocrine disruptors called phthalates that can wreak havoc on baby’s hormones. Choose toys with natural materials like wood and organic fabrics, as well as natural rubber pacifiers. Anything plastic should be BPA-free, fragrance-free, and phthalate-free.

Some trusted brands include Bibs, Natursutten, Elegant Baby, Scandiborn, and Kathy Kruse.

Synthetic Bedding

Your baby’s bed and bedding are some of the most important purchases you’ll make for your little one. Healthy, detoxifying rest is critical for their development!

Start with a solid wood crib. Any manufactured wood or particleboard will contain Formaldehyde, a harmful chemical that emits dangerous VOCs. Purchase a natural, organic mattress with no flame retardants and stay away from synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon for bedding as these can contain chemical treatments that are harmful and do not allow the baby’s skin to breathe.

Avoid anything that promises “stain resistance” or “water resistance” as these are likely also treated with more chemicals. Instead, choose natural materials like organic cotton and linen, which will always be the most breathable.

Finally, make sure your laundry routine is non-toxic. You might try using Branch Basics or a non-toxic, fragrance-free, allergy-safe laundry detergent and wool dryer balls instead of chemical dryer sheets. Laundry is in close contact with the baby’s skin 24/7, so this step is extremely important!

Synthetic Fragrances

If you see “fragrance” or “parfum” on an ingredient list, it can be a concoction of thousands of chemicals including carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, asthmagens, obesogens, and more. Look for this in personal care and cleaning products (including laundry) as well as candles, air fresheners, trash bags, and even diaper pail bags. Always choose fragrance-free or items that are fragranced with high quality, 100% organic essential oils.

Wording Red Flags

Conventional cleaning products are loaded with harmful chemicals that emit VOCs into your home and reduce your air quality. Remember, better air means better health for your baby and family.

Remove any products that contain these red flags on the label and replace them with a non-toxic, multipurpose concentrate like Branch Basics

“Danger,” “Caution,” “Warning” 
Warnings of eye, skin or lung irritation 
Instructions to wear gloves 
Directions that require ventilation 
Instructions for hazardous waste disposal 
Sanitizers and disinfectants— The CDC doesn’t recommend them. Soap is just fine for removing germs.

Beware if ingredients are not listed! Seeing a label that says “non-toxic” or “safe” isn’t always enough. Become your own expert by vetting ingredients you don’t recognize through EWG’s Skin Deep database. We recommend tossing products with ingredients rated three and above. 

Branch Basics also just started their #TossTheToxins initiative, in which Branch Basics’ best-selling Starter Kits will ship in a streamlined cardboard box that outlines the three easy steps to identify, remove, and safely dispose of toxic conventional chemical products. And bonus— customers who post a picture of their box and tag #TossTheToxins on social will receive a $5 discount off their next refill!

You’ll also want to read these 20 Questions with Jewelry Designer April Soderstrom or browse these Fall Baby Names Inspired by Nature.