A Safer Bleach Alternative


Peroxide and Lemon Juice

Many of us grew up in the largest generation: the Clorox generation. Our earliest memories of cleaning usually involved using bleach and water. The use of bleach defined cleanliness for us – the stinging nostrils, burning cuticles, and noxious fumes – and yet, no one ever seemed alarmed at its use. Of course, bleach isn't all bad. A bottle of bleach means clean drinking water in many parts of the world, good times in swimming pools, and very white clothing. So, why all the fuss?

Bleach is kryptonite for allergy and asthma suffers. Bleach also mixes with common household cleaning products to create some dangerous situations. Examples? Oh, I got plenty of those!

Mixed with ammonia ... bleach releases a gas that can cause your lungs to stop functioning. Where is ammonia lurking that bleach often mixes with it? Toilets. Urine contains ammonia, right?

Mixed with dish soap ... bleach produces mustard gas. That's right, the stuff from World War I that caused severe chemical burns, conjunctivitis, temporary blindness, bleeding and blistering within the respiratory system, and (in some cases) cancer. Not cool, folks.

Mixed with organic matter ... bleach produces chloroform. Chloroform? Yep. Inhaling chloroform vapors depresses the central nervous system of a patient, causing dizziness, fatigue and unconsciousness. Prolonged exposure can harm necessary (and kind of super-important) organs like your liver, kidneys, and skin. Chloroform is also a cancer-causing toxin.

8/3/2015 3:14:11 AM

Hello , I was so disappointed when i read how harmful is the bleach. Thank you for the post. I am going to use only lemon for now on. Best regards! http://actoncarpetcleaners.org.uk/

4/9/2013 2:05:19 AM

I think you need a basic introduction to chemistry.Mixing bleach and soap does not make mustard gas. Mixing bleach and ammonia is dangerous, so don't do it, but there isn't enough ammonia in urine to cause that reaction in any meaningful way. Bleach can be used to make chloroform by mixing it with acetone—a chemical in nail polish remover. How many times have you come close to doing that? Again, small amounts of these chemicals coming into contact with one another is not serious. Ammonia is also found in the human gut. It's just not found in the same quantities as in your cleaning supplies. Chlorine is a major chemical for living cells to function, but it can be toxic if you eat it. This is all about the size, concentration, and exposure. You've been fed a bunch of bleach myths. FINALLY: You should know that since lemon juice is a stronger acid than hydrogen peroxide, you're making an acidic solution that's slight weaker than lemon juice and slightly stronger than hydrogen peroxide. Neither is a basic solution (like soap, ammonia, bleach), so it's not really a bleach substitute you're making.

Heather Hansen-Hauffen
8/9/2012 5:19:15 PM

I've been using it for 2 weeks, it's amazing! Used it to clean the oven with some baking soda (for scrubbing power) and scrubbing sponge and it worked BETTER than oven cleaner! Plus it's so easy to make! I'm about to make more because I am almost out!

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