Chlorine is a common ingredient in household bleach (though not all of them have it) and while it is very useful as a disinfectant, especially in water treatment and pool cleaning, it’s quite toxic if not handled carefully. How to know the right moment to use chlorine in your home, and when is it better to look for alternatives?
We’ll show you some scenarios where the use of chlorine is not only safe, but also recommended, and some other scenarios where chlorine use is discouraged and what to replace it with.
Do: Clean off mildew and mold
Bleach cleaners are an excellent way to remove mold and mildew out of fabrics, shower curtains, tile surfaces, and event outdoors in patio stones and cement. Ammonia is also good at this, but remember never to use them together, because they cause a toxic reaction when combined. If you’re unsure on how to use bleach to clean a bathroom, remember that it’s always better to let professionals handle the use of harsh chemicals for housekeeping.
Depending on what you’re washing, it’s better to dilute your bleach on water before use, because if it’s too concentrated, you might end up damaging the materials you’re trying to clean. For deeply affected areas, let them soak for a couple of hours in your chlorine solution instead of just scrubbing them to make sure the mold is gone from the bottom up.
Do: Sterilize items around your house
Chlorine-based bleaches are especially useful if you like thrift-shopping, or if you recently got some hand-me-downs for your home, like kitchen utensils or even toys. Make sure they’re safe to be around by soaking them in a solution of ¾ cup bleach cleaner, a gallon of warm water and some drops of antibacterial dishwashing soap.
Leave the items soaking for about 10 minutes, rinse well with clean water and let them air-dry. It goes without saying, of course, that you shouldn’t apply this method to objects that will not resist the corrosive nature of bleach.
Don’t: Shine or polish
While it may be tempting to use the strength of chlorine to shine and polish things such as dishware and white porcelain, there are safer alternatives out there, such as a lemon juice and hydrogen baking soda. This will work especially well with glassware, pottery, and others.
The whitening powers of this mix also work wonders on countertops and sinks, so think of it as your first line of defense against stains in everything from decorative items and hard surfaces around the house, especially those constantly exposed to humidity.
Don’t: Use it as a common disinfectant
Yes, while above we argued for the safe use of chlorine as a disinfectant for secondhand items, that is mostly because you don’t know what you’re looking at in terms of where the object has been. To use it constantly around the house, however, it’s better not to risk it.
Instead, use a lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide combo that works as a non-toxic alternative to bleach, and can be used on anything, like showers, tile, grout, laundry, dishes and whatever you want to sanitize. This gets rid of bacteria without leaving the abrasive odor of bleach behind, and you don’t have to rinse it as thoroughly to avoid irritation on skin contact.
If you want to clean and disinfect fabrics as well, a mix of essential oils, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda will act as a gentle whitener for them. Don’t use it on very dark fabrics, however, or you’ll fade out the color in time.
There’s no denying that chlorine is a useful ally in cleaning, healthcare and other aspects of our lives, but there are places where it can be safely avoided, especially around the house. Some more natural products can do the job just as well without any of the risks involved, but they won’t replace the industrial use of chlorine so don’t go filling your pool with lemon juice just yet.