Deep cleaning with bleach – especially the kitchen and bathroom – seems like the best way to disinfect our homes right now, doesn’t it?
Except cleaning with bleach – however much we follow safety tips – comes with real family health risks for:
- Asthma & breathing problems
- Skin allergies
- PLUS the risks of burns & poisoning if kids get near it.
A connection between bleach and asthma and breathing problems (COPD) is a huge worry right now with our lung and respiratory health so vulnerable and increasingly research suggests regular use of bleach products:
- Can cause asthma & COPD
- AND trigger asthma attacks.
So what on earth are we meant to do?
Well, in this post I’ve got for you safer alternatives to cleaning with bleach all over the house including:
- Deep cleaning the kitchen and bathroom
- Cleaning the dishwasher
- Cleaning the shower
- Getting rid of mould in grout
- Removing laundry stains.
I’ve ALSO added:
- Links to research on bleach & asthma so you can assess the safety of cleaning with bleach for yourself.
- And tips for how to clean safely with bleach if you really feel you need to in some situations.
1. Safe Alternatives To Cleaning With Bleach
There are plenty of lower risk alternatives that help us avoid the health risks of cleaning with bleach.
We all actually have plenty of simple natural disinfectants in our kitchens that we can use as they are or whip into simple products.
Deep Cleaning Kitchen
Hot soapy water is the most effective, low risk way to deep clean the kitchen of germs on a daily basis. Fragrance free dish soaps – e.g. Bio-D or Ecover – can be best the best choice for families with asthma.
For extra disinfectant when the family have tummy bugs, colds and the like you can make this natural disinfectant spray …
Disinfecting Bathrooms & Showers
You can actually also use plain old dish soap to deep clean & disinfect the bathroom and shower. And top up as needed with these natural household disinfectants.
The real secret to clean toilets is to clean quickly daily rather than blitz cleaning with bleach weekly. If you do want to make your own toilet cleaner try this recipe …
Bleach can seem an obvious solution for cleaning build up in dishwashers but much better to:
- Use less dishwasher powder
- Quickly rinse filter out weekly
- Run an empty hot wash monthly with vinegar
- Unblock water spray arms manually monthly
Getting Mould Off Grout
We can remove mould from bathroom grout with any of these natural ingredients.
- Tea tree oil
- Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- Hydrogen peroxide
For stubborn mould you can apply them in sequence. There are good tips here on how to get rid of mould naturally without bleach.
Removing Laundry Stains
Cold water quick is the best way to remove most laundry stains but if they are set in you can remove them without having to use bleach with:
- Rubbing alcohol (surgical spirit)
- Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- And dish soap
Set in blood stains can be the toughest to shift but you can use these tips to remove blood stains without bleach.
If you do want the cleaning power of a bleach with lower health risks you can use:
- Hydrogen peroxide.
- A non-chlorine bleach liquid or powder (e.g. from Bio-D in the UK or Seventh Generation in the USA) that are based on hydrogen peroxide.
They are still strong products that you will want to use with care but have lower health risks than chlorine bleaches.
2. Research Into Impact Of Cleaning With Bleach On Asthma & COPD
There is increasing research available suggesting links between bleach cleaning products asthma, COPD and lower airway diseases:
- Regular use of bleach linked to COPD.
- Regularly using bleach linked to higher risk of fatal lung disease.
- Women using bleach for home cleaning are at increased risk of non-allergic asthma
- A study of 14,000 cleaners who regularly used bleach showed an increased reach of asthma and COPD.
- Chlorine bleach is one of three cleaning products most commonly found to increase the risk of asthma.
- Bleach & other disinfectants increase COPD risk.
3. How To Clean Safely With Bleach
If you do decide you need to clean with bleach in certain situations do remember these safety tips for cleaning with bleach :
- Open windows to keep room ventilated.
- NEVER mix cleaning bleach with other chemicals
- NEVER mix chlorine bleach with ammonia.
- Dilute bleach before using.
- Wear gloves to prevent contact with skin.
- Wear glasses to prevent contact with eyes.
I do hope you found this post on the safety risks of cleaning with bleach helpful. Please do share it if you did.
And for more simple ways to look after your home without toxic chemicals check out these posts:
- Brighten Whites Without Bleach
- Get Rid Of Flies Naturally
- Get Rid Of Ants Naturally
- Easy Non-Toxic Cleaning
- 6 Natural Disinfectants
- Remove Grass Stains Naturally