April 19, 2021
I Don’t Use Bleach – Here’s What I Use Instead
Really! I don’t use bleach – I haven’t used it in at least 10 years. Bleach was never a product I relied on to clean with, but when I found out how harmful it is, I quickly got it out of the house. If you’re anything like me, my biggest concern when giving something up is making sure that I have a swap that works as well (or better) as the product I’m replacing. I hope this post informs you and gives you some simple products that you can confidently use in the place of bleach.
I talk about bleach quite a bit in my 3rd book, Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home, the primary ingredient is sodium hypochlorite, this ingredient is also found in cleaners as a disinfectant. Bleach is dangerous on its own, but it is especially harmful when mixed with other chemicals – vinegar, alcohol, cleaning products, toilet bowl cleaners, and ammonia all create a super toxic cocktail that can do some real damage. Even when mixed with hot water it can create a stronger chemical with noxious fumes. Bleach is also a skin and tissue irritant and an irritant to the respiratory system. Definitely worth looking for an alternative or two!
Typically bleach is used in laundry, whitening areas in the bathroom like grout and toilets as well as sanitizing surfaces. Over the years, I’ve found that two main products do what bleach used to do for me. When I found out how harmful it can be, I started to re-think its place in our home and I realized that there are safer ways to sanitize and clean that work. My favorites are Oxygen Whitener and Hydrogen Peroxide. Hooray for safe alternatives!
My most-used swap is Oxygen Whitener – it is safe, natural and poses none of the health hazards and toxicity warnings that you’ll find with bleach. Want to brighten up your whites? Oxygen Whitener will do that for you but there’s so much more that you can use it for! It’s a cleaning booster and has so many uses besides whitening the laundry.
What is it? Clean Mama’s Oxygen Whitener uses sodium percarbonate (washing soda + hydrogen peroxide) and other earth derived ingredients – sodium carbonate, citric acid, and pure lemon essential oil. These ingredients break down hard water minerals to bring back your whites as well as breaking down stains and grunge. Keep a bag or two on hand – there are so many uses!
- Whites: Add 1 scoop to every load of whites. I use a scoop for my son’s WHITE baseball pants and there isn’t a single stain. I’ve been asked how I keep his pants white – this is my secret! I add a scoop to white towels, white sheets…. Shoot, I add a scoop to most loads, even colors 🙂
- Extra Dirty Clothes: Add 2 scoops for an especially dingy or dirty load.
- Pre-Treat: Want to pre-treat your laundry without pre-treating it? Add a scoop to each load of laundry. This is especially helpful for kids’ clothing.
- Stains: Wet fabric with water, sprinkle or make a paste and rub directly into stains. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight. Launder as usual.
- Kitchen Sink Scrub: Add a scoop to a wet sink and make a paste. Scrub and rinse thoroughly. If you have a white sink, this is especially helpful for getting out stains.
- Tile and Grout: Wet surface, sprinkle and scrub. Rinse and repeat if necessary. I love using the Oxygen Whitener on our fireplace hearth – I find that by using a sponge and a bowl with warm, soapy water (castile or dish soap). Wet with the sponge and water, give it a little sprinkle and make a paste. A LITTLE goes a long way, just a sprinkle is all you need! Scrub, rinse, dry.
- Toilet Whitener: Sprinkle a scoop or two in your toilet, let it sit for a bit or overnight, scrub and flush. I keep a mason jar in the bathroom with a scoop (in a cabinet out of the reach of any children). This is my favorite use besides in the laundry room – this works SO well! You can also add a squirt of castile soap under the rim to up the cleaning power. HERE’S HOW I CLEAN TOILETS NATURALLY.
- Soap Scum and Mineral Deposits: Wet surface, sprinkle with the powder and scrub clean.
- Tile and Grout: Wet surface, sprinkle and scrub. Sometimes I’ll add a squirt of castile soap to the paste to up the cleaning power. Rinse and repeat if necessary. This is great for white grout but it also works on colored grout too – test in a small spot first. The shower in our bathroom has a creamy light gray tile and our water leaves a little orange hue within a week after scrubbing – this works really well to combat the orange. Here’s a POST ON HOW TO CLEAN GROUT.
Want to give it a try? You can find Clean Mama Oxygen Whitener and other safe laundry products here in my shop.
I also use Hydrogen Peroxide for disinfection. Just put a sprayer on top of a Hydrogen Peroxide bottle – don’t pour the Hydrogen Peroxide into another container or mix it with anything else – it loses its effectiveness in as little as an hour when exposed to light.
I keep a bottle under the kitchen sink, in my bathroom cleaning caddy and in my cleaning closet. I use it to disinfect all sorts of surfaces in the house. Simply spray, let sit for 5-10 minutes, wipe clean. If I’m disinfecting a surface I’ll spray, rinse, and then spray with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a clean white cloth like these. Keep in mind that Hydrogen Peroxide will lighten fabrics – don’t use it on anything but white fabrics as it will lighten them.
- stains on whites – spray directly on the stain and watch it lighten before your eyes.
- toilet seats and toilet brushes – I spray toilet seats and let it sit and after I am done scrubbing toilets, I put the brush under the seat and spray it with hydrogen peroxide to disinfect.
- cutting boards – I rinse cutting boards, spray with hydrogen peroxide, let it sit, rinse and put in the dishwasher.
- sinks – I spray hydrogen peroxide in the kitchen and bathroom sink to give it a little extra disinfecting, rinse and wipe clean.
- counters – If I’m disinfecting a surface I’ll spray, rinse, and then spray with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a clean white cloth like these.
- toys – If you have little kids and are wondering how to disinfect those small plastic toys (especially if a virus is going through the house), hydrogen peroxide is a great solution. Put them in a container in a large sink or bathtub, spray them with hydrogen peroxide, let the toys sit for 10 minutes or so, and rinse. After disinfecting, I add a squirt of safe dish soap, wash, and rinse. Allow to air dry outside in the sun.
- mold and mildew – If you have mild mold or mildew in a bathroom like on spot of grout or caulk, spray with hydrogen peroxide, let sit, rinse and repeat if necessary.
With these safe alternatives, you can confidently let go of your bleach! If you’re looking for some more safe swaps, I have a new 2-page free printable with Cleaning & Laundry Swaps. Go to the free printables page, enter your email address ONE TIME and I’ll send you the password you can use to access the free printables page.
If you like my free printables, you’ll LOVE my printable collection – find them here in the Clean Mama Shop!
Don’t miss the laundry products in the Clean Mama Shop – natural, safe, AND effective, check them out here.