Bleach: The Silent Chemical Terrorist

Becoming a mother changed me on a cellular level. I feel like my eyes were closed my entire life, and giving birth to my daughter was the grand opening of a heavy set of lids. I was okay with being blind to the world before she came along, but once she was here, I had to be aware. Aware of everything. A monumental part of this change was doing research on, and facing the dangers that the chemicals in our household and hygiene products pose on our lives.

One chemical that stood out to me more than any other is bleach.

People use bleach every day, for a multitude of different reasons. I used to have a habit of bleaching the kitchen sink after doing the dishes every day, because I loved how sparky white it made it look. I cleaned my bathtub and shower with it, my toilet, my washing machine and dishwasher… the list goes on and on.

When I became pregnant, and I cleaned with bleach, an alarm went off in my brain. This alarm was purely instinctual. I immediately noticed the way it made it feel after breathing it in for a moment, and put it away.

Around the same time, a commercial was airing on T.V. for a popular cleaning brand.

The woman on the commercial talks about how “a real mom knows that the only way to get things REALLY clean, is with bleach”. This made me think… Could it be true? Is this really the only way to rid your home of bacteria and grime? Up until that moment during my pregnancy, I would have certainly thought so.

Before I could find the solution to the problem, I had to answer a question in my mind. What is bleach, anyways? Why is it so bad? My instincts were screaming “DANGER”, but I still needed facts to back it up.

According to an article titled “What is Bleach? And why is it Dangerous?” published by Sustainable Baby Steps, “To make bleach, a direct electrical current is sent through a sodium chloride solution (table salt and water). This basically “splits” the atoms leaving chlorine and the caustic soda (lye).”

Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Just because it’s technically made of organic materials, does not make it safe.

Chlorine is very corrosive, and can cause chemical burns to the skin if directly exposed to it. Breathing it in causes corrosion in the lungs. When accidentally mixed with other common household products, such as ammonia, it can create a deadly gas.

An article titled “Dangers of Bleach” published by Educating Wellness says, “This has an accumulative effect on the body causing a tremendous strain and stress on the major detoxification organs such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs. Because it happens so gradually over many years, often times we don’t realize it is an issue until organs start to shut down. And we may never realize these chemicals were a major culprit in our body’s inability to heal.”

This statement is particularly terrifying, and if you were to do a tiny bit more research, you would be shocked at the number of ways that bleach is bad for you. It is poison, plain and simple.

But, enough with the negativity already! There is an solution to the madness!

Baking soda mixed with white vinegar has been my bleach replacement, and I am smitten. It is just as effective at cutting grease, has a whitening effect which keeps my sink and tub nice and shiny, how I like them. Toilet bowl grime? Piece of cake. Vinegar is a major bacteria killer, and according to Earth911, kills salmonella and e. coli. Baking soda is mildly abrasive, and is a known deodorizer.

The best part, in my opinion, is the fact that my lungs don’t feel like they’re going to collapse from inhaling toxic fumes.

For a nice citrus smell and extra cleaning power, add a squirt of lemon and some lemon essential oil.

References

Clean Your Whole House With Vinegar, Baking Soda And Lemon – Earth911.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/health/cleaning-vinegar-baking-soda-lemon/

Dangers of Bleach | EducatingWellness. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.educatingwellness.com/natural-health/dangers-of-bleach/

What is Bleach? And Why is it Dangerous? – Sustainable Baby Steps. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/what-is-bleach.html

Why is Baking Soda Good For Cleaning. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.healthylivinganswers.com/archives/22