Q: Is it safe to clean with bleach?
A: If you look at a bottle of chlorine bleach you’ll find the word “DANGER” in big, bold capital letters. That says a lot right there! Breathing in the fumes of chlorine bleach can irritate the lungs, which is particularly dangerous for people suffering from heart conditions, asthma or emphysema. And the effects can be intensified when used in a small, poorly ventilated room, like a bathroom. Fragranced chlorine bleaches are even worse because the odor is disguised, which can lead to dangerous overexposure.

Never mix chlorine bleach with other cleaning products like toilet, sink or drain cleaners because chlorine gas can be released. And mixing bleach with ammonia is particularly hazardous.

My Tips:

  • Instead of bleach to clean with, try using Borax powder it can even remove mold. Dilute one teaspoon in 1 quart of water and add 2 tablespoons vinegar.
  • Instead of bleach in the laundry, try adding a cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or 1/2 cup borax for whites, or a cup of white vinegar for darks (it keeps them from fading.) Try a “non-chlorine” bleach like one from Seventh Generation.
Beth Greer, aka Super Natural Mom®, is an award-winning journalist, green holistic health educator, healthy home expert and impassioned champion of toxin-free living. She’s also a radio talk show host, and trusted consumer advocate, who is leading a movement of awareness and responsibility about healthy homes, schools and work environments. Connect with Beth on Facebook and Twitter.