Saturday, March 30, 2013

Herbal All-Natural Home Cleaning Series - Part 3 - Non-Chlorine Bleach



I always enjoy finding a new thing that will make our house less toxic and more natural, but I really get excited about it when I find something that uses things that have a normal space in my spice rack, my pantry, my fridge or even my medicine cabinet.

 For years I have used chlorine bleach in my laundry (more or less for whitening the whites), for cleaning my kitchen, bathrooms and other areas that were hard to clean. But, did you know that bleach is not actually a cleaner? It is actually a disinfectant. So, are there natural alternatives to chlorine? I have often wondered and since becoming an herbalist over three years ago and just now learning about and becoming a consultant with Norwex I have tried to find ways of cleaning our home without using harsh chemicals.

Why Not Chlorine?
Chlorine is a chemical made up of a sodium hypochlorate and water solution, exposure to too much of  this solution can cause tightness of chest, coughing, burning sensation in nose, throat and eyes, blurred vision, nausea, burning pain, redness, and blisters on the skin if exposed to the gas, skin injury similar to frostbite if exposed to liquid chlorine, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (may appear immediately if high concentrations of chlorine gas are inhaled, or may be delayed if low concentrations of chlorine gas are inhaled), fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) within 2 to 4 hours.


Just so you know, I have had many of these symptoms while just cleaning our kitchen sink and I would have to go outside to get fresh air. I don't use an over abundance of chlorine, but I am sure I have over used it at times just trying to get something cleaned that was stubborn.


Why Keep Chlorine in My House?
 Now, before completely taking chlorine off your shopping list let me give you some survival advice. We keep chlorine in our home because if some type of disaster were to happen chlorine will be your best bet for cleaning contaminated water if there is no natural way of cleaning the water (and believe me, there are many ways to keep you from doing it naturally). I stock up on it when it is on sale for .99c at the store, so I have about 20 bottles in my laundry/pantry right now. I would never be caught without it, but I don't use it on my clothes and I definitely do not use it to clean with. Understand that I am not saying I would drink it every single day, but in the occurrence that a disaster were to happen, water would need to be readily available for cleansing wounds as well as hydrating everyone. So, I would drink chlorinated water if it was absolutely necessary to keep me hydrated.

** PLEASE consult survival guides on how to use chlorine in your water BEFORE a disaster occurs so that you know what ration to use when the time comes, you wouldn't want to poison someone**


How to Make Non-Chlorinated Bleach:

What you will need:

- 1 C. Hydrogen Peroxide
- 1/4 C. Lemon Juice
- 12 C. Water*

Combine in a half gallon Mason Jar (available at Ingles or online). Use two cups per load of laundry. If you would like to use as a household cleaner place in a spray bottle and spray where needed...you can use this in place of Lysol on hard surfaces.

I put mine in a washed vinegar bottle because
all my half gallon mason jars are in use.
 

I have an HE washer and so it is hard to add two cups to the load unless I just dump it in the drum, which is not advised in your washer handbook. I add as much as possible to the bleach container then I close and reopen it, usually this triggers the latch at the back to open and let out the "bleach", so just continue doing this until you have put in as much bleach alternative as you want and then press start. If you have a normal top load washer just place the bleach alternative in the correct outlet.

What are The Ingredients? And Are They Natural?

Hydrogen Peroxide - more properly called oxygen water, on the table of elements it's H2O2, so there is an equal amount of hydrogen and oxygen. It is a natural disinfectant and has been commonly used in households and by doctors for generations as a medicinal product to clean wounds.

Lemon Juice - A naturally acidic fruit, the essential oils and juices from the lemon have been used for ages to clean and disinfect (why do you think lemonade was created?).

Water - I don't really think this needs an explanation ;) But, I'll give one anyway. From the creation of the world, water has been used as a cleaning agent and is the most natural cleaner anyone could use.


Cost

Hydrogen Peroxide - $1.99 / 32oz  = .06c oz  x 8 = .48

Lemon Juice - $1.99 / 32oz = .06c oz x 2 = .12

Water - .88c / 128oz  = .007 x 96 = .66 **
_____________________________________________
                                                                   Total: $1.26

Clorox bleach from wal-mart cost an average of $1.93 for a half gallon, but remember you use a lot more of this than you would chlorinated bleach so therefore you really don't save anything, except maybe doctor bills.

*I used distilled water for two reasons, a. because we are on city water, b. I thought it would work better chemically (not that I am any kind of scientist or chemist, I just know from soap making that using tap water or well water can ruin a batch of soap because of the chemical reactions to minerals in the water).

** since I used distilled water I counted the cost of it.

Results:

Here is a picture of socks (as you can tell these were worn by someone who likes to wear socks without shoes) before and after I washed them in the alternative bleach.I didn't use the recommended two cups, I know it would have done a lot better with two cups, but I washed these with colored clothes and I didn't want to bleach the colored clothes. Try it and see for yourself.

before



after