Chlorine bleach is very toxic to not only people, but it’s also bad for the environment. Bleach releases dioxins and other chemicals in the air when you wash with it. It’s not something you really want to have around your house if you can help it. Unfortunately, many people use bleach as a disinfectant and brightener for clothes, as bleach has been around for many years. It does work well, but it’s not something I want to use on a regular basis. Every time I think of bleach and the environment, I think of the coral reefs in Australia that are losing their color. Sad news!
Fortunately, there are many alternatives to chlorine bleach, and many of them work well to disinfect and whiten whites. Here are some eco friendly alternatives we use instead of chlorine bleach.
–Sunshine. The sun is a powerful whitener and brightener. We hang our whites outside to dry. Not only does it save us from having to use the dryer, which saves us money, but it also will help remove spots out of clothes. I actually had a colored shirt of Penny’s that was badly stained that I laid out in the sun wet, and by the afternoon the spots were gone! I seriously couldn’t believe it. The sun can also help kill germs, which is a nice added bonus.
–Peroxide. Our midwife swears by peroxide, and now we do too! It actually gets blood out of fabrics without bleaching them. Sometimes when our whites are looking a little dingy I’ll soak them overnight in hot water, laundry detergent, and 1/2-1 cup of peroxide. It helps get stains out of Mr. Money’s chef coats as well. Remember how when you used to get a cut and your mom would pour peroxide on it? That’s because it helps kill germs too. Sometimes when our cloth diapers get a little funky I’ll do a rinse with some peroxide and it really helps!
-Seventh Generation Non-Chlorine bleach. It only contains natural ingredients: natural oxygen safe bleach, oxygen bleach stabilizer, and deionized water. It is non-toxic, color safe, and biodegradable. We’ve used it with great results!
–Ecover Non-Chlorine Bleach. Ecover non-chlorine bleach is 100% sodium percarbonate, which is biodegradable and non-toxic. I like that this product does not contain fillers like certain other brands. When you buy the Ecover non-chlorine bleach, you’re spending money on the product, not fillers.
–Vinegar. We use vinegar in pretty much all of our homemade cleaning products. I love that it kills germs and makes things feel so fresh and clean. Vinegar can be very helpful in killing mold in the bathrooms!
–Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities. While tea tree oil will disinfect, I don’t think it will help whiten and brighten clothes as well as some of the other options.
These are some of our favorite ways to avoid traditional chlorine bleach. We do keep some on hand for emergencies (you never know when you may need it!) but for every day use we try to skip it.
Do you use chlorine bleach in your house?
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