Ah, the smell of bleach… you probably grew up thinking that it was the scent that meant “clean.” Today, we know better. Even if you’re not that worried about bleach’s potential health drawbacks, you’ll be interested to know that cleaning with bleach can cause your appliances to break down more quickly. Check out our top reasons to avoid bleach to learn how that happens.
What’s in it for you?
- Better health
- Mold prevention
- Safer home
What you need to know:
- Bleach doesn’t kill mold. If you’ve noticed mold in your bathroom or grout, many remedies will call for a mix of bleach and water. However, chlorine bleach isn’t actually a mold disinfectant. Bleach only takes away the color of mold; it doesn’t get rid of it. Instead, use a mixture of borax and water to prevent and remove mold.
- Bleach is hazardous to your health. Bleach is a toxic chemical, classified similarly to gasoline. In it’s gaseous state, bleach releases dioxins, a compound linked to cancer. After making contact with skin, bleach can burn the unprotected area and be highly corrosive.
- Bleach found in cleaners can rust out your appliances. Most of your household appliances will have a 9-12 year lifespan. The active ingredient in bleach (a chemical compound called sodium hypochlorite) may help remove stains, but the oxidizing properties of bleach accelerate rusting, as iron loses electrons more readily than in plain water.
- Bleach expires quickly. Though bleach has no expiration date, it loses more than half its strength 90 days after bottling or packaging (and becomes generally ineffective after a full year).
So, what else can you use besides bleach? Try these greener options:
- Borax: not just for laundry. Instead of using powdered cleansers containing ammonia or bleach, Borax is a great way to clean your toilets and sinks, and is a fantastic mold-getter-doner. Borax is non-reactive, so it can be safely mixed with other ingredients to form clean mixtures. Mix with warm water and a little dish soap to make a soft scrub for your bathroom.
- Lemon juice: comes in handy in the kitchen beyond just cooking. Rub a slice of lemon over your cutting boards to clean and disinfect them. And grind a halved lemon in your garbage disposal (or pour lemon juice down your drains) to keep them fresh and smelling clean, without fear of rusting.
- Vinegar: a great, all-purpose cleaner you can use on just about any surface; walls, mirrors, windows, and counters. Distilled, white vinegar is a mild disinfectant that when combined with dish soap and water, can handle tougher jobs and stains.