September 04, 2018

Safe alternatives to bleach in the home

I know we all love a good bit of bleach.

That’s what I used to use around the home weekly to easily remove those pesky mould marks and anything that I literally wanted to……bleach.

But I recently came across a bottle shoved at the back of my cleaning cupboard and it got me wondering why on earth did I still have it. Is it a little security blanket that I just can’t seem to say bye to, just leaving it there in case my natural alternatives fail?

As I pondered I thought I’d look back through my research to see exactly why I believe bleach is just not all it’s cracked up to be.

So let’s get the facts straight.

Bleach is a sodium chloride solution that is regularly found in a number of domestic cleaning products. It actually has a very short shelf life so by the time it may get to your home it could potentially have lost its potency. It is advised to throw out all open bleach based products after 3 months as the solution is pretty much useless.

Now we all love bleach because it apparently gets rid of mould and it makes us feel like we have a super duper clean home. That toxic smell of bleach just reinforces it doesn't it? But not only is bleach extremely corrosive and toxic an article written by Choice mentioned that ‘while bleach can kill off surface growth and spores on non-porous surfaces, it will not penetrate porous materials, contrary to claims made by several products on the market.’ Say what? Meaning if the mould is growing beneath the plaster or grout it will not kill it.

This fantastic whitener can also make grout and tiles more porous which makes it more vulnerable to fungal growth. 

Bleach is also known as a ‘masking agent’ and can take the colour out of mould making it invisible. So don’t be fooled into thinking it has done the trick.

Let’s up that one, let me guess you don’t only have bleach in your cleaning cupboard you have a tone of chemical based surface sprays, disinfectants and other fancy stuff. Did you know bleach mixed with some of these especially ammonia, ammonia quaternary compounds and other acids result in toxic gases? Good hey. Want to know more about toxic chemicals other than bleach read my top 5 big 'no no' chemicals click here.

In 2012, the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) named bleach as an asthmagen, which means it can cause asthma not just trigger an asthma attack. 

Children are at greater risk from breathing bleach vapours because their lungs are still developing.

To add to this growing list of ‘fantasticness’ (I say that sarcastically 😉), the lingering by-products of chlorine in the environment such as dioxins have been named by Greenpeace as one of the most dangerous chemicals known to science linking it to cancer, endocrine disorders and other serious health effects.

So why with all the above are we still using it and more importantly it still available on the shelf?

Especially when a number of articles document safer and natural alternatives that have the same bleaching power and superior mould killing benefits. 

You will come across many natural alternatives if you search the net. This is one that I use that is similar to those you may find. 

Natural Bleach Alternative:

Mix in a 1 Litre amber glass bottle.

¾ cup 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

¼ Cup Lemon Juice

15 Drops of Lemon Essential Oil

Fill to the lid with water.

Decant a small amount into a 500ml amber bottle and spray away.

If you wish to use this solution to bleach clothes then add about a teaspoon of citric acid to remove the hardness from the water.

Happy Bleaching!