Green Alternatives to Bleach

Green Bleach Alternatives in the Kitchen
Green Bleach Alternatives in the Kitchen

The main ingredient in bleach is chlorine, or sodium hypochlorite. Chlorine is extremely caustic, meaning that it can burn a person’s skin, eyes and internal organs if it is accidentally swallowed or inhaled. In fact, chlorine is frequently involved in household poisonings. In addition to being caustic, sodium hypochlorite is a sensitizer.Sensitizers are ingredients that cause the body’s immune system to overreact to harmless substance. Sensitizers, such as chlorine bleach, can cause people to develop seasonal allergies and allergies to pet dander, dust, and other common substances. Not only does bleach have possible negative impacts on your health, it is harmful to the environment as well. One of the concerns about chlorine bleach is that it has the potential to create toxic byproducts.
Given the harmful effects, it is easy to see why you might want to opt for green alternatives to bleach. Green alternatives can make cleaning safer and reduce exposure to the entire family.

Non-Chlorine or Color Safe Bleach as Green Alternatives to Bleach

Non-chlorine bleach is one of several greener alternatives to chlorine bleach. The package should say “non-chlorine,” or “color safe.” These products are generally less irritating, less caustic, and do not cause increased sensitization to allergens, because they do not contain chlorine. These non-chlorine products make safer alternatives to bleach for household laundry.

Hydrogen Peroxide as Green Alternatives to Bleach

Hydrogen Peroxide is another of the green alternatives to bleach. Use household 3% hydrogen peroxide for cleaning and laundry stains. Hydrogen peroxide, also known as H2O2, has the same molecular structure as water, with an additional oxygen molecule. Most hydrogen peroxide sold is actually 3% hydrogen peroxide and is considered very safe for basic household applications. Do not purchase stronger, 35% hydrogen peroxide, for household use.
According to the label, hydrogen peroxide can be safely used as a gargle, or mouthwash, as long as it is not swallowed. It also makes a great teeth whitener when combined with baking soda. Also, hydrogen peroxide works great as a green cleaner for dentures and other orthodontics.
To use as a household green cleaner, apply a small amount to a cotton cloth and use it to disinfect surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom, or any hard surface in the home. Hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle, also works great as an all-purpose sprays and as bleach alternatives in the bathroom, because it effectively combats mold and mildew. It is very safe for septic tanks.
A half and half solution of hydrogen peroxide and water can be used as a green fruit and vegetable cleaner. Mix it up ahead of time and keep it in the kitchen cupboard to spray fruits and vegetables. Rinse the fruit or vegetables with water after spraying them with this solution.

All-Purpose Sink Cleaner - Baking Soda

Baking soda is the all purpose sink, tub and tile cleaner. It works anywhere that you need a little scrubbing
Baking Soda
action. Think of it as nature's soft scrub. You can dress it up a variety of ways:
  • Put it into a glass shaker with herbs. 
  • Add a few drops of essential oils. 
  • Add a bit of food coloring and water if you want to make a realistic "soft scrub" cleaner. 
Regardless, of how you prep it for cleaning, baking soda works fantastic. I tend to use it straight out of the box. Use warm water to rinse. Because baking soda can leave a residue, or film, I follow up with a spray of vinegar. That leaves the cleaned surface sparkling. The wonderful thing about natural cleaners, is that you can involve the kids without worrying about carcinogenics or strong chemicals that may cause respiratory illness.

Green Oven Cleaning

You can clean your oven without being exposed to nauseating fumes. Below are two recipes for scrubbing the oven. The first is a recipe used to occasionally maintain a clean oven. The second is for ovens that have been neglected.

Easy Oven Cleaner

  • 2 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid castile soap
  • 10 drops of orange essential oil
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees, then shut it off.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake.
  3. Spray on the oven walls and wait 20 minutes. Wipe clean and rinse well.
Super Oven Cleaner

  • water
  • 10 drops of orange essential oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 1/4 baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons liquid castile soap
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, then shut it off.
  2. Combine the 1/4 cup of water and oil in a spray bottle. Shake it well and spray it all over the oven. 
  3. Combine the 1/4 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda and sprinkle it all over the oven. Sprinkle extra where you see burnt on food.
  4. Mix 1/4 cup water with 3/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of salt and the castile soap. Spread this paste on the walls of the oven. Let it sit overnight.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup of water with 1/4 cup vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray all over the oven. (When you spray vinegar on baking soda it will foam.) Wipe clean and rinse well. Use a scrub brush to loosen any stubborn spots.

Dishwashing Liquid

Dishwashing Liquid Ingredients

Did you know that a typical bottle of dishwashing liquid contains chemicals that can be harmful to people? Naphtha, phosphates, sodium nitrates, petroleum-based surfactants, diethanolamine, and chloro-ortho-phenylphenol are just a few. If you want to clean your dishes without risking your health, try these recipes for dishwashing liquid:

Basic Recipe
  • liquid castile soap
  • lemongrass essential oil
  • lavender essential oil
  • bergamot essential oil
  1. Fill a 22 ounce plastic squirt bottle (a recycled dishwashing liquid bottle works wonderfully) with soap and oils.
  2. Shake before each use to mix oils with soap.
  3. Use 1-2 tablespoons to wash dishes.
Extra Cleaning

For very greasy dishes, add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the water.
For burnt on foods, soak, or use baking soda as a scrubber.

The Dishwasher

It is difficult to make a good dishwasher detergent at home, but luckily there are are a few green products on the market that are more friendly to the environment and to your health. Ecover happens to be my favorite brand because it works better than others.