This week, the powers that be (PTB) at our OriginalGreen project got sick. We don’t know what it was, but it was mercifully short (a mere 48 hours) and only marked by a high fever (apparently 103.8 in an adult is bad). In researching ways to keep areas clean and safe from any icky things the PTB might spread, we kept getting the same solution: bleach.
May is Asthma Awareness Month in the U.S., and May 4th was World Asthma Day. It’s also Clean-Recipe Tuesday at our OG project, so it seemed the universe was conspiring to have us talk about this bleach thing.
Do you really have to use it?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: No. Okay, longer answer…Bleach, the typical household chlorine bleach, contains about 5% sodium hypochlorite. It can exacerbate or trigger respiratory problems like asthma. It can make a lethal gas if mixed with ammonia. It can be toxic to fish if it reaches the waterways. Some studies show reproductive and neurological toxicity in humans.
What to use then? Three percent hydrogen peroxide can be added to laundry whites instead of bleach. Use it to sterilize cuts and abrasions. A teaspoon in a cup of water and you’ve got mouthwash. For killing bacteria like E.coli on produce, and for sanitizing food prep surfaces against Salmonella, Shigella and E.coli, spritz hydrogen peroxide and follow with a spritz of vinegar. (Keep them in separate containers.) Obviously, there are places where infection control regulations demand use of bleach – hospitals, schools, public pools, etc. But, your home (presumably) isn’t one of them!
For even more bang for your non-bleach buck – buy unbleached products. It’s commercial bleaching activities that significantly pollute the environment.
So, the PTB wiped everything down with our non-bleach solution, and nobody – sea monkeys, indoor jalapeños, assorted humans – said blech. We bet you won’t either.