Sunday, July 26, 2009

Have I Been Eating, Breathing and Absorbing Bleach?

Common household chlorine bleach, or as it is known in the scientific community sodium hypochlorite, is generally kept under lock and key away from children as it is commonly known to be extremely harmful if ingested. The typical bottle is outfitted with a child safety locking cap and warnings are written all over it to stay away. We keep these bottles under locked kitchen sinks, in basements or high up on laundry room shelves to avoid them being accidentally ingested.

Does this seem slightly ironic to anyone but me?

If the bleach is used in the laundry, on that stubborn tub stain or to sanitize countertops then rinsed down the drain, where do we think it goes? Sadly for many this is a typical “out of sight, out of mind” scenario.

We would not drink bleach or use it on our skin but each time we strain coffee through a white filter or put on clothing rinsed with the substance, that is essentially exactly what we are doing; we are just doing so in very small doses. But over time small doses can really add up to hurt ourselves and our planet.

This comic strip is from one of my favorites, who are now sadly out of commission, Rustle the Leaf.

Three ingredients can easily replace bleach around the house -- lemon juice, salt and baking soda.

For underarm stains pour a little lemon juice on, rub in some table salt and then place it out in the sun for a bit. A couple hours will do the trick then when it is washed voila, no more stain and no more odor!

For something like spilled red wine on an ivory countertop, concentrated lemon juice (as in squeeze a real lemon directly on there and rub it in with the lemon itself) and baking soda in a nice paste will take it up if allowed to sit, soak and dry.

These are just two examples; there is a slew of additional information out there for how to use these three ingredients as cleaning and sanitizing agents and no warning label is required!

Sure it might take a little patience in waiting for these natural cleaners to do their job effectively but then again, how does that saying go? Oh yeah, ‘it was worth the wait’! The planet and your own health will thank you.


victoria kloch said...

If you eat bagged're eating it too.

Bridgete said...

OMG I didn't know about the lemon juice for underarm stains. I actually didn't know how to get rid of those at all. Awesome!

I rarely use bleach. Especially not with the cat in the house - I don't want him walking over whatever I used it on, getting it on his paws, then licking it off.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

How about the fact that you might be actually showering with chlorine every day? Most public water supplies are treated with chlorine. Unless you have an appropriate filtration system, you are washing your hair and everything else with it in little doses all the time.

Would love to see a column on this in the future - what can we do (especially for those who do not own their own place), how to do it, if there is a simple something to filter it out.

Peace, Judi

Jenn said...

@Victoria ooh, I do sometimes buy bagged, will not do that any longer thanks!

@Bridgete good point about pets and reactions to bleach. We have to remember what our stuff does to our furry friends!

@Judi - well you are a contributing member of this blog, feel free to do some research & write it up! I would be very interested in what you find!