Friday, July 10, 2009

Hydrogen Peroxide Instead of Bleach

Awhile back I gave up chlorine bleach. Yes, it cleans and disinfects ... and makes our whites whiter. But, there is some evidence that it is harmful to our health and the health of the environment. The evidence is mixed, however ... some reports say that it is totally safe and will break down into natural components when it reaches the ground or waterways. Other reports say that it is lethal to fish and pollutes our natural resources ... and is a health hazard to humans.

What I know, for sure, about using chlorine bleach is that it smells bad and gives me a headache. So, I tend to lean towards the people who say bleach is toxic. If there is even a hint of something being harmful, especially when there are alternatives, then ... I'm all for "erring on the safe side" and choosing the healthier version.

One of the healthier alternatives is hydrogen peroxide ... the cheap stuff that comes in a brown bottle and is available almost everywhere. It doesn't smell ... it doesn't hurt the environment and ... it works.

Here are some ways to clean with it:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved hydrogen peroxide as a sanitizer. So, use it to kill germs on all surfaces (counter tops, tables, showers, etc.). It can be applied to a sponge or cleaning rag for wiping down an area ... or sprayed directly onto the surface.
  • Do you use a wooden cutting board or wooden utensils? A little peroxide will kill salmonella and other harmful bacteria.
  • Add one cup of peroxide to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. The trick with making this tip work is time. Peroxide takes time to work so ... add it into the wash and let it sit for awhile (I let mine soak for at least an hour). Then, add in your regular detergent and wash as usual.
  • Use it to wash store-bought fruits and veggies. According to the Journal of Food and Science, peroxide is affective in killing E.coli.
  • Fight mold and mildew throughout your home ... just spray peroxide onto the affected area and let it sit ... then wipe down as usual.
  • Apply it to a clean rag to shine up mirrors and windows.
  • Use it to mop your floors ... either add it to your bucket of water or ... pour it directly onto the floor.

A few notes about Hydrogen Peroxide:

  • It is rendered useless when exposed to light (that's why it comes in those brown bottles). So, if you want to keep a spray bottle handy, be sure it is a dark spray bottle.
  • It takes time to work, so spray or pour it on and then let it sit.
  • Peroxide is a bleach and will whiten ... so be careful when applying it. If you're trying to get a stain out of, for example, your blue jeans and you pour peroxide directly onto the material ... you'll probably end up with a white spot. So, use caution.
  • Some reports have suggested using peroxide as a mouthwash to clean and whiten teeth. It should be noted that there is some evidence suggesting that peroxide can be used in the treatment of mouth infections but that long-term use can damage tissues in the mouth. So, ask your doctor before using peroxide in this way.

So, there you have it! A cleaner that works ... and is kind to both humans and the environment. How good is that!!

As always ... I would love to hear from you!