How to Safely Clean Your House While Pregnant

Pregnant woman folding laundry

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It would be lovely if all of your household chores disappeared when you had a positive pregnancy test. But sadly, most pregnant people still need to clean their homes while expecting.

Although pregnancy is a good time to delegate chores when you can (you need your rest!), nine months is a long time to go without vacuuming and scrubbing. There are a few new rules to follow while housekeeping to keep you and your baby safe.

Avoid Fumes

Avoid using harsh, abrasive chemicals. Try your hand at some green cleaning instead. This will protect you in pregnancy, but also prepare you for a shift in how you care for your home without harsh chemicals once your baby is born. You would be amazed at what you can do with vinegar, baking soda, and lemons.

Keep Away From the Kitty Litter

The one chore that you do need to nix is changing the kitty litter and cleaning the litter box. Coming into contact with cat feces can cause you to contract toxoplasmosis. This parasitic infection can cause miscarriage or premature delivery.

Watch Your Back

While unlikely to be a problem at first, your back may start to ache as you progress in your pregnancy. After the fourth month of pregnancy, your center of gravity changes. The lifting and carrying that occurs when cleaning may become more difficult.

This problem is aggravated if you don't use proper back mechanics (like lifting with your legs). Start now, so that it is second nature by the time that point comes. This is also true when reaching to clean things that are high up. Get extendable handles when possible to clean tall items like tops of cabinets and ceiling fans.

Don't Overdo It

The first and third trimesters are often marked by intense periods of exhaustion. Plan for this to alter how you clean.

If you were a once-a-week cleaner, for example, now you may need to find a way to spread your tasks out throughout the week. Try doing chores in 15-minute segments, maybe one in the morning and one later. This approach may help you prioritize. You may also rethink your house-cleaning needs, which are likely to change once your baby arrives anyway.

Be Careful With the Belly

It's true—eventually, your belly will get in the way. Be careful in small spaces, like a shower stall or behind furniture.

Also, be careful of bumping your belly. It is very easy to turn a corner and bump into something, including the corners of furniture. While it is highly unlikely to hurt your baby (due to the protective cushion of the amniotic fluid), you can certainly wound your pride and get a nice bruise.

A Word From Verywell

Keeping a clean house while pregnant isn't always easy. You have a lot going on, feel more tired than you're used to, and have a lot on your mind. Fatigue in pregnancy is real, as are other symptoms that may keep you from cleaning (or feeling like cleaning).

Consider asking for help from loved ones or friends. Or if you can, hire someone to come in and clean for you. Some services will do a single cleaning of your home. This also makes a great baby shower gift for the expectant parent and may become a necessity if you're on bed rest.

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Wang A, Padula A, Sirota M, Woodruff TJ. Environmental influences on reproductive health: the importance of chemical exposures. Fertil Steril. 2016;(106)4:905-929. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.07.1076

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Toxoplasmosis: General FAQs.

  3. Morino S, Ishihara M, Umezaki F, et al. Low back pain and causative movements in pregnancy: a prospective cohort studyBMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017;18(1):416. doi:10.1186/s12891-017-1776-x

  4. Mortazavi F, Borzoee F. Fatigue in pregnancy: The validity and reliability of the Farsi Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue scale. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2019;19(1):e44-e50. doi:10.18295/squmj.2019.19.01.009

  5. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Amniotic fluid.

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.