There are plenty of bleach-alternatives that will do just as good a job at cleaning your bathroom.

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Some of us are minimalists when it comes to cleaning the bathroom. A spritz of spray cleaner here, a wipe here, a squeeze of toilet cleaner there, a little scrub here and we're done. For others, though, that approach doesn't quite cut it. For the more militant housekeepers among us, a bathroom isn't truly spotless unless it's been disinfected with bleach, and lots of it. And it's for good reason that some are so devoted -- bleach is an amazing sanitizer. It pulverizes mold, decimates mildew and destroys germs.

But if you're a die-hard member of the bleach brigade, you might want to think again about your cleanser of choice. Chlorine bleach isn't exactly the best thing for your (or your children's) lungs. It's a known carcinogen that can cause burns, respiratory problems and gastrointestinal issues. If you happen to mix it with anything that contains ammonia, it produces an extremely toxic gas.

Bleach can also cause serious pollution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, our indoor air is twice as polluted as the outdoor air, mostly because of the cleaners we use. Studies have shown that chlorinated VOC (volatile organic compound) levels in the home skyrocket when you clean with bleach.

But, you ask, if bleach is off-limits, what else can I use to disinfect my bathroom? There are plenty of effective alternatives out there that aren't so dangerous. On the next page we'll tell you about some of them.