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 BleachNon-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 BleachHydrogen 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.