Reasons not to Use Bleach for Cleaning
- It is caustic and when mixed with other cleaners, such as ammonia it produces a toxic gas. In fact chlorine gas is so caustic it has been used in chemical warfare from WW I to Vietnam to the Iraqi War
- It deteriorates your clothing, eating away at the fibers
- Chlorine loses its effectiveness in just the first 90 days inside a never opened jug or container. Chlorine constantly escapes through the plastic walls of its containers.
- Chlorine is a key component of DIOXIN. One of the earliest findings of dioxin's toxicity in animals was that it caused birth defects in mice at very low levels. This finding led to dioxin being characterized as "one of the most potent teratogenic environmental
agents". The first evidence that dioxin causes cancer came from several animal studies completed in the late 1970's.
There are many alternatives to bleach when cleaning. So many of them are versatile and can be used for more than just laundry too. There are safer alternatives such as borax or vinegar which don't produce dangerous fumes or leave behind toxic residue. For these reasons try to avoid using bleach and if you must use it, only use it on non-porous surfaces.
Borax can be used as a deodorizer as well as to cleaning toilets and drains. Borax is also used as an insecticide, herbicide and fungicide and it can be mixed with water in a solution to kill and remove mold as it is a natural mold inhibitor. Borax is found in the laundry aisle and is cost effective too. I personally use this in my laundry, but the more I learn about it the more versatile it is. Last spring we had plenty of rain and it caused mold growth in our basement. We used diluted bleach but we were not able to work for long. I have since found out that the bleach does not penetrate the sheet rock, so the roots regrow again. Now I know why the mold came back. Next time we get a mold bloom I will be sure to use Borax.
Vinegar is a mild acid and is even effective at killing l 82% of mold species. It has a long history of use as an antiseptic but has the the advantages of being natural and safe. Vinegar is non-toxic and doesn't give off dangerous fumes like more caustic bleach. It is strong enough to be used to clean my counters, yet gentle enough to be used in my hair. Back in the so called dark days of medicine, the medieval ages, vinegar was used as the primary antiseptic.Hydrogen Peroxide
Before last week I never considered using Hydrogen Peroxide for cleaning, but I happened upon this post on Stacey Makes Cents has a post about cleaning with it, and I ran across another post here on using hydrogen peroxide for cleaning. When you think of it it makes sense in more ways than one. Oxy Clean and other oxygen cleaners are basically hydrogen peroxide. We use hydrogen peroxide to clean our wounds. So why not use it to clean our houses? It is safe enough to use on our food and surfaces where we prepare food yet it is effective enough to kill mold, mildew, bacteria and
Baking soda is one of my go –to cleaners. It makes a great abrasive when you need to scrub things. Baking soda is great for deodorizing too. When the laundry is particularly stinky I will add some baking soda to it. I use it regularly in my toilets and in scrubbing porcelain sinks, even though it is abrasive it is fairly mild too.
Tea Tree Oil
I could rasp poetically about tea tree oil. I include it in my homemade cleaners Tea tree oil is an essential oil which is harmless to people and pets. Tea tree oil is antifungal, capable of killing all types of molds. Tea tree oil is antibacterial as well. I make sure to put some in stinky loads of laundry or on stinky pets. Who are usually stinky from rolling in something dead. Kill those microbes.
You can buy tea tree oil for about $10 for a small bottle from most natural food stores. Make sure the tea tree oil you buy is derived from the Melaleuca Alternifolia, which is the technical name for tea tree, as not all brands always are.
When it comes to laundry and your whites, the sun is one of the best bleaching agents ever. It miraculously gets your diapers and towels clean. That with a little vinegar in my washing machine do the trick. If you don't believe me about the sun's bleaching effects try this experiment. Take a piece of construction paper and lay a leaf on it in the sun, come back a few hours later and remove the leaf. This is an age old tradition of sun printing.
What is your favorite bleach alternative?