If you're looking for an easy way to break your bleach addiction, you can always switch to oxygen bleach. It disinfects and cleans just as well as chlorine bleach, but because its active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, it's completely nontoxic and odor-free. (Chlorine bleach's main ingredient is sodium hypochlorite, which is pretty much the opposite of nontoxic.)
Beyond oxygen bleach, there's an amazing variety of safe bathroom cleaners out there. You can always choose from any number of ready-made "green" products on your supermarket's shelves. Borax, for example, is a time-tested, extremely versatile cleanser that contains no chlorine or phosphates. But if you're ready for a big change (and you enjoy saving lots of money), you can work wonders in your bathroom with a few all-natural ingredients that you probably already have.
You might be surprised to hear this, but distilled white vinegar, lemons and baking soda (along with some borax and a little tea tree oil) are all you really need to combat bathroom mold, mildew and grime. Here are some of the ways you can combine these magic ingredients to produce powerful cleaning action:
- A thick paste made of a half-cup of vinegar and a quarter-cup baking soda will spiff up bathroom tiles -- as will scrubbing with half a lemon dipped in borax powder.
- A spray consisting of equal parts vinegar, baking soda and water is an excellent multipurpose cleaner.
- Sprinkle a cup of borax and a quarter-cup of vinegar into your toilet bowl, let it sit overnight, then scrub and flush in the morning.
- Unclog a drain by pouring down a handful of baking soda and a half-cup of vinegar, covering for 15 minutes and then flushing with 2 quarts of boiling water.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as uses for these amazingly versatile cleaning agents. We hope we've been able to persuade you to give them a try! Check out the links below for more info on alternative cleaning options.
- Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. "Safer Alternatives to Hazardous Household Chemicals." (July 7, 2012) http://www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Portals/0/Health/EnvironmentalHealth/healthyhomes-safer%20alternatives.pdf
- Maker, Melissa. "Oxygen Bleach: The Effective and Safe Alternative." May 24, 2011. (July 7, 2012) http://www.naturallysavvy.com/naturally-green/oxygen-bleach-the-effective-and-safe-alternative
- New York Times. "Sodium Hypochlorite Poisoning." Feb. 2, 2011. (July 7, 2012) http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/poison/sodium-hypochlorite-poisoning/overview.html
- Sethi, Simran. "Clean and Green." Oprah.com, Jan. 19, 2010. (July 7, 2012) http://www.oprah.com/home/How-to-Clean-House-Without-Toxic-Bleach
- Van Schagen, Sarah. "A test of eight green bathroom-cleaning products." National Geographic. (July 7, 2012) http://grist.org/article/i-dont-want-no-scrub/
- Wieman, Bethany. "Natural Alternatives to Bleach for Disinfecting." (July 7, 2012) http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/natural-alternatives-bleach-disinfecting-2724.html