The Case Against Bleach

I’m not one to call out products usually but I am about to make an exception. Bleach, your days are numbered. Why so tough on bleach? I mean we’ve all been told how it is a must to keep our home germ free, right? Especially now with all of these nasty flus and viruses running rampant through our homes, schools and play spaces.

WRONG. For years a well-know bleach brand, Clorox, has played on the vulnerability of moms everywhere. Starting with ad campaigns in the 40’s, Clorox wooed moms to believe if there is anything dirty or disgusting in their house, it can be wiped away with bleach.

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No wonder it has stuck with our grandmas and moms that the best way to fight a stain, clean your bathroom and kitchen and disinfect your home is with diluted sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide, the ingredients found in bleach. Just look at that convincing ad and remember this was back when if it was in the newspaper, it had to be true.

Little did they know and probably even you now know that bleach is terrible for both your external and internal body. For one, you know it burns your skin on contact. This is “due to defatting and saponification of skin oils and destruction of tissue.” (source)   It also makes your eyes water/burn if you are in an enclosed area when using it. Additionally there has been proof that it emits VOCs (volatile organic compounds): “these chlorinated compounds are emitted during cleaning applications, some of which are toxic and probable human carcinogens.” (source)

Here’s a list of what’s in Clorox Bleach from the Environmental Working Group:

Now Clorox has decided to get into the green business with some of its “green” products by making a joke of women who want to buy green products. Think Desperate Housewives meets Mean Girls all while eschewing green as the new skinny. Blech! While some greenies may seem a bit holier than thou, I assure you most of the women I know are not. But what makes this commercial even more maddening is that Clorox is trying to pass off its product as green, which it is not. It’s still chemicals.

You know what is green and does disinfect? Hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. That’s right. So instead of picking up a bottle of Clorox the next time you are at the store, how about skipping it and picking up a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide (the kind that comes in a brown bottle) and a big jug of white vinegar. Put a spray cap on the top of the hydrogen peroxide (better to keep it in its original bottle as it is light sensitive) and then put the vinegar into its own spray bottle. Spray the surface of any object or food with the hydrogen peroxide. Wipe it down. Spray the same area with the white vinegar. Wipe it down. Do not combine them as it doesn’t work that way because it only makes a new combo that isn’t effective. This is seriously the best disinfectant you can use. Plus it’s much safer than bleach and it gets the job done. Clorox, be gone!

Here is what some other Women Eco Warriors have to say about bleach, vinegar and killing viruses:

Eco Karen gives the dish on what she prefers to use when killing the flu germs invading her house: Vinegar or Chlorine? What’s better for cleaning?

Karen at Best of Mother Earth shares her preference for having an EPA registered germicide: How Do You Kill Germs Greenly?

  • Lisa at Retro Housewife Goes Green gives some nitty gritty details about bleach and other household products that she uses for “bleachable” moments: Bleach or No Bleach
  • Lori at Groovy Green Living shares why the “Mom Against Cooties” campaign is a crock and why the chlorine industry did a huge disservice to moms everywhere by spreading tall tales about bleach and it’s use in homes, schools and daycare centers: Hey Chlorine Industry- I’m a Mom FOR Cooties
  • Jen from Jen & Joey Go Green tells the story about the time her husband washed her clothes (and her baby’s clothes) in bleach and why it was a HUGE deal: Bleach Bomb

Do you have any other posts you’d like to share about bleach or any other tips on disinfecting your house, clothes and foods?

Green Parenting is published every Friday. Questions, comments, etc, can be emailed to Elise Jones.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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