When it comes to home cleaning, it can be tough to find that perfect balance between sanitation and a “green” lifestyle. However, with a growing number of natural alternatives on the market, there’s no need to keep investing in toxic products like bleach. Here, we’ll outline the main reasons why you should attempt to eliminate bleach from your list of cleaning supplies. After that, we’ll provide you with a few simple tips to avoid toxic cleaning products.
It’s a major irritant.
It goes without saying that bleach is a deadly substance, but even latent exposure to the fumes can result in unpleasant symptoms. The use of chlorine bleach has been known to cause headaches, nosebleeds, and other forms of neurological distress. Inhaling the fumes can worsen asthma symptoms, and induce coughing and respiratory problems even in healthy individuals.
Mixing chlorine with ammonia results in the release of toxic gas.
Ammonia is found in a number of common home cleaning products, such as toilet bowl cleaner, dish detergents, and glass cleaner. When ammonia is mixed with chlorine, the reaction creates a gas known as chloramine. Exposure to chloramine can cause skin and eye irritation, in addition to the respiratory symptoms listed above. These gases are particularly dangerous when they build up in the water, as the added moisture makes them heavier and therefore more difficult to dispel.
It isn’t particularly effective.
People who clean with chlorine bleach are generally trying to do away with as much dangerous bacteria as possible. But did you know that the solution has to fully dry in order to kill off all of the bacteria? If you wipe it away with a cloth or paper towel, it won’t get the job done anyway. That’s one more reason why natural alternatives are a better choice.
The fumes linger on the skin.
Even if you wear gloves—and you should never use bleach without some form of skin protection—it takes forever for the scent to wear off. In addition, your hands will feel dry and crackly for the rest of the day.
Tips to Avoid Toxic Cleaning Products
Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to find eco-friendly home cleaning solutions that are less toxic, but no less effective. You don’t need to invest a lot of money in fancy organic compounds. Most solutions can be whipped up using simple household staples. Here are a few natural alternatives to get you started.
- Mix 12 cups water with 1 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1/4 cup lemon juice.
- Mix 2 gallons of warm water with 1 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 cup washing soda (don’t be tempted to substitute baking soda, as it’s less caustic). This solution is best for laundering white clothing.
- To 7 gallons of water, add 3/4 cups each of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 10 drops of lemon essential oil.