Chemical
Safer Cleaning: Banish Chlorine Bleach

Safer Cleaning: Banish Chlorine Bleach

January 7, 2013

It’s been a household staple for decades, so why banish chlorine bleach?

Here are a few reasons to protect your children from chlorine bleach:

  • Household bleach is the most common cleaner accidentally swallowed by children.
  • Chlorine-bleach-containing household products release toxic VOCs that may significantly increase the risk of cancer.
  • Dangerous (potentially fatal) gases are created when cleaners containing bleach are mixed with other cleaning agents, such as ammonia.
  • Chlorine bleach can cause severe skin and eye irritation or chemical burns to broken skin.
  • Inhaled in high concentrations, it can cause respiratory problems including coughing, choking, chest pain, emphysema, and chronic and acute bronchitis.

Choose safer options:

  • Laundry brightener: Add 1/2 cup of strained lemon juice to the rinse cycle or a cup of white vinegar to the wash.
  • Laundry whitener: Use hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine bleach.
  • Mold and mildew treatment: Protect your children and family from inhaling mold and mildew. If you discover mold and mildew in your house, first find the source of moisture and stop it. It’s pointless to clean mold if it’s only going to return! To clean mold: remember to wear gloves and a facemask, since mold spores can be inhaled. Use a stiff brush, and hot water to scrub mold off of non-porous surfaces. Use a stiff bristle toothbrush to get in between tiles. You can also use a paste of baking soda and water. Spray with vinegar to kill surface mold and mildew and let dry (don’t rinse).
  • Disinfectant: Vinegar is also an effective natural disinfectant that’s been shown to kill both salmonella and E. coli. Spray produce, cutting boards, and countertops with vinegar and then spray with hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria. You can also use hydrogen peroxide first, just as long as you don’t mix the two together.