Bleach Alternatives

How to Make Natural Homemade Bleach Alternatives

If you’ve never examined the labels on your cleaning products, you may be surprised to know how many of them contain bleach. And while you may think you’re protecting your family from infections and germs by bleaching every surface and every textile in your home, you could in fact be inviting disease and health problems into your life. Learn why you should be avoiding bleach and how to go about making your own homemade bleach alternatives. 


Why chlorine bleach is harmful to you and the planet

Chlorine bleach (known by many other names, including cloramine, sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, trihalomethanes, and disinfectant) is a highly hazardous, corrosive chemical that can harm respiratory systems, skin irritation, and even death in high enough concentrations. In fact, bleach is responsible for the most of the poisonings in North America due in part to the fact that it is used in such a wide variety of products and also because of its relative toxicity.(1)

Not only that, but when combined with ammonia or acid-containing products, it will form a highly dangerous gas known as chloramines gas.(2) And to make matters worse, after you flush the bleach down the drain or the toilet, the chlorine combines with organic compounds in the environment to form dioxins which are carcinogenic and can cause hormone disruption and immune system toxicity, as well as contribute to a whole host of other health problems including birth defects, increased risk of diabetes, and endometriosis.(3) Dioxins also harm animals and aquatic life, poison air, and contaminate water supplies that we drink.


Natural bleach alternatives

Despite all of this, there are many things you can do to reduce the amount of chlorine in your home and the quantity of bleach that you flush into the environment. Today, not only are there many non-chlorine, eco-friendly bleach alternatives, there are many ways you can make homemade bleach solutions that disinfect and whiten without the harmful side effects. Start fighting germs naturally with these safe, bleach-free alternatives:

  • Regular soap: By and large, regular natural soaps like castile will kill the majority of bacteria and prevent the spread of viruses. Just be sure that when you’re washing your hands you lather for a full 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday”!) and rinsing thoroughly.
  • Microfiber: A US Environmental Protection Agency Report (Using Microfiber Mops in Hospitals) recently led to the approval of just water and microfiber being used to clean in hospitals because it can capture germs and viruses and remove them from surfaces.
  • Borax: This product can be used to disinfect diapers (soak them in a solution overnight), countertops and toilets (check out our all purpose cleaner recipe), and laundry (add some to every load).
  • Microwave: If you’re concerned about germs on your cloths and sponges, not only will regular laundering help, but you can also zap them in the microwave for between 30 seconds and three minutes on high power (longer for wet sponges) to kill bacteria and the like.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: There are several different all purpose cleaning recipes you can make using hydrogen peroxide for a natural disinfectant for all surfaces in your home.
  • Essential oils: Some, including lavender, tea tree, and rosemary, possess natural disinfectant qualities and can be combined with other natural cleaning products to get your home germ-free while adding a lovely scent!

Not into making your own disinfecting cleaning products? Try out these natural bleaches made without chlorine that will do the trick:

If it’s the whitening power of bleach you want for your laundry, check out our article on natural laundry detergent formula.



1 2008 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 26th Annual Report. (2008). Retrieved June 17, 2010, from American Association of Poison Control Centers:

2 Toxicity, Chlorine Gas. (2010, January 11). Retrieved June 17, 2010, from emedicine from WebMD:

3 Maine's Dioxin Problem: The Paper Mill Connection. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2010, from Natural Resources Council of Maine:

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