April 19, 2021
Really! I don’t use bleach – I haven’t used it in at least 10 years. Bleach was never a product I could rely on to clean up, but when I found out how harmful it was, I quickly got it out of the house. If you’re anything like me, my biggest concern when I give up something is to make sure I have an exchange that works as well (or better) as the product I am replacing. Hope this post keeps you informed and gives you some simple products that you can safely use in place of bleach.
I talk a lot about bleach in my third book, Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home. The main ingredient is sodium hypochlorite. This ingredient is also found in cleaning agents as a disinfectant. Bleach is dangerous in itself, but is especially harmful when mixed with other chemicals – vinegar, alcohol, detergents, toilet cleaners, and ammonia – that create a super-toxic cocktail that can do real harm. Even when mixed with hot water, it can create a stronger chemical with noxious fumes. Bleaching agents are also irritating to the skin and tissues and irritating to the respiratory tract. Definitely worth looking for an alternative or two!
Typically, bleach is used in laundry to lighten areas in the bathroom, such as grout and toilets, as well as to disinfect surfaces. Over the years, I’ve found two main products do what bleach used to do for me. When I found out how damaging it can be, I started rethinking its place in our home, realizing that there are safer ways to remediate and cleanse this work. My favorites are Oxygen whitener and Hydrogen peroxide. Hooray for safe alternatives!
My most used swap is Oxygen whitener – It’s safe, natural, and doesn’t have any of the health and toxicity warnings you find with bleach. Do you want to lighten your whites? Oxygen Whitener does it for you, but there is so much more you can use it for! It’s a detergent booster and has so many uses in addition to lightening the laundry.
What is it? Clean Mommy’s Oxygen Whiter uses sodium percarbonate (washing soda + hydrogen peroxide) and other ingredients derived from the earth – sodium carbonate, citric acid and pure lemon essential oil. These ingredients break down minerals from hard water to bring back your whiteness, as well as stains and grime. Have a bag or two handy – there are so many uses!
- White: Add 1 scoop to each load of white. I use a shovel on my son’s WHITE baseball pants and there isn’t a single stain. I was asked how I keep his pants white – that’s my secret! I add a ball to white towels, white sheets…. Shoot, I add a bullet to most charges, even colors 🙂
- Extra dirty clothes: Add 2 scoops for an extra grubby or dirty load.
- Pretreatment: Would you like to pretreat your laundry without pretreating it? Add a scoop to each load of laundry. This is especially helpful for children’s clothing.
- Stains: Moisten the fabric with water, sprinkle it or make a paste and rub it directly into the stains. Let rest for at least 15 minutes or overnight. Wash as usual.
- Kitchen sink peeling: Add a scoop to a wet sink and make a paste. Scrub and rinse thoroughly. If you have a white sink, this is especially helpful for removing stains.
- Tiles and Grout: Wet, sprinkle and scrub the surface. Rinse and repeat if necessary. I love using the oxygen whitener on our fireplace – I find this by using a sponge and bowl of warm soapy water (castile or dish soap). Moisten with the sponge and water, sprinkle a little over the top and make a paste. A SMALL goes a long way, just a splash is all you need! Scrub, rinse, dry.
- Toilet whiter: Sprinkle a scoop or two in your toilet, let sit a little or overnight, scrub and flush. I keep a mason jar with a scoop in the bathroom (in a closet out of the reach of children). This is my favorite application besides in the laundry room – it works so well! You can also put a squirt of Castilian soap under the rim to increase cleaning power. I CLEAN TOILETS NATURALLY HERE.
- Soap scum and mineral build-up: Wet the surface, sprinkle with powder and scrub clean.
- Tiles and Grout: Wet, sprinkle and scrub the surface. Sometimes I add a squirt of Castilian soap to the paste to increase the cleaning power. Rinse and repeat if necessary. This is great for white mortar, but works for colored mortar too – test on a small spot first. The shower in our bathroom has a creamy light gray tile and our water leaves a little shade of orange within a week of scrubbing – this works very well to fight the orange. Here’s a post on how to clean the floor.
Would you like to try it? You can find Clean Mama Oxygen Whitener and other safe laundry products here in my shop.
I also use Hydrogen peroxide for disinfection. Just put a sprayer on top of a hydrogen peroxide bottle – don’t pour the hydrogen peroxide into another container or mix it with anything else – it will lose its effectiveness in just an hour if exposed to light.
I keep a bottle under the sink, in my bathroom cleaning trolley, and in my cleaning cabinet. I use it to sanitize all types of surfaces in the house. Simply spray, let rest for 5-10 minutes, wipe off. When I disinfect a surface, I spray, rinse, and then spray with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a clean white cloth like this one. Remember that hydrogen peroxide brightens fabrics – only use it on white fabrics as it brightens them.
- Spots on white – Spray directly on the stain and watch it light up in front of your eyes.
- Toilet seats and toilet brushes – I spray toilet seats and let them sit. After I finish scrubbing the toilets, I place the brush under the seat and spray it with hydrogen peroxide to disinfect it.
- Cutting boards – I wash cutting boards, spray with hydrogen peroxide, let it sit, rinse, and put it in the dishwasher.
- Sink – I spray hydrogen peroxide in the kitchen and sink to sanitize, rinse, and wipe it a little more.
- Counter – When I disinfect a surface, I spray, rinse, and then spray with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a clean white cloth like this one.
- Toys – If you have young children and are wondering how to sanitize those little plastic toys (especially if a virus passes through the house), hydrogen peroxide is a great solution. Put them in a container in a large sink or bathtub, spray them with hydrogen peroxide, let the toys sit for about 10 minutes, and rinse them off. After disinfecting, I add a squirt of safe dish soap, wash and rinse. Let it air dry outside in the sun.
- Mold and mildew – If you have mild mold or mildew in a bathroom, such as: B. grout or sealant, spray with hydrogen peroxide, let it sit, rinse, and repeat if necessary.
You can safely let go of your bleach with these safe alternatives! If you’re looking for safer swaps, I have a new 2-sided free printout with Cleaning & Laundry Swaps. Go to the free prints page, enter your email address ONCE and I will send you the password that will allow you to access the free prints page.
If you like my free prints you will LOVE my printable collection – find it here in the Clean Mama Shop!
Don’t miss the laundry products in the Clean Mama Shop – natural, safe AND effective, Check it out here.