Bleach Substitutes: 5 Safer Cleaning Options
5 Green Cleaning Options
Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is a chemical that has long been used for disinfecting purposes. We know now that bleach, however, is not environmentally friendly. This is because chlorine bleach forms toxic by-products such as dioxin, and other organochlorines, when it reacts with other elements.
Alternative options, many very old, are available that are safer and useful for disinfection. See list below:
1 - Grapefruit Seed Extract - Grapefruit seed extract is one of the newer products on the market. A powerful, nontoxic disinfectant, it is used to protect against common bacteria viruses and parasites found in the home. This includes influenza, salmonella, staph, e.coli, and strep. Grapefruit seed extract is ideal for disinfecting baby toys, clothes and bottles, because it is harmless to infants. Many hospitals now use grapefruit seed extract to wash linens, as a safe alternative to harsh chemicals, including bleach, to protect against fungi and bacteria.
2 - Hydrogen Peroxide - Hydrogen peroxide is a bleach substitute that has been used for ages. It is made simply of water and an extra oxygen molecule (H202). Because hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen, this makes it kinder to the environment. Hydrogen peroxide is also the active ingredient used in many "oxygen" bleaches.
3 - Vinegar - Vinegar used for disinfecting can be traced back to ancient Rome. It was used to purify drinking water and fight disease. Today, vinegar is used to disinfect the home and is especially useful for cleaning wood cutting boards, kitchen counter tops, and as a germ killing agent for rinsing fruits and vegetables. Distilled white vinegar will eliminate exposure to toxic commercial household cleansers. It has acetic acid - making it an effective disinfectant for inhibiting mold and bacteria growth.
4- Isopropyl alcohol - is another old cleaner used for disinfecting and sterilizing surfaces in the home, in hospitals, in food processing plants, dairy farms, veterinary institutions, barbershops and eating establishment. Isopropyl alcohol has properties that are antimicrobial and is a virucide, fungicide and bactericide.
5 - Borax - Borax, also known as sodium tetraborate and sodium borate, is a naturally occurring substance. As a powerful cleaning agent, borax has antimicrobial properties and effectively inhibits fungal and mold growth. Borax has been used since Victorian times. When dissolved in hot water, borax acts a bit like hydrogen peroxide because of its bleaching effects.
For more green options, see links below:
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