Amanda’s note: Here is another wonderful contribution from Ramya Venkateshwaran who writes from her home in India. Ramya describes her method for making a fume-free alternative to chlorine bleach. Find her on her website WildTurmeric.net for more ideas on healthy living.
When chlorine gas is mixed with sodium hydroxide, we get sodium hypochlorite or bleach. The bleach we get in the markets is sodium hypochlorite mixed with water in approximately 5% concentration. There is no doubt that chlorine is a great stain remover but it comes with a price. When we use bleach, it emits gas which causes lot of health problems. If it is combined with other cleaners, the gas can be poisonous. If you suffer from allergies, it can aggravate the problem and it is also dangerous to have it in the house if you have small children at home.
Commercial bleach tips (For reducing exposure)
If you still prefer using chlorine beach follow these precautions: Always wear a face mask and gloves when handling bleach. You can also dilute it with water and use — this reduces the gas emitted and always make sure to use chlorine bleach in a ventilated room. If you have small children in the house keep them away when you are using the bleach.
Commercial bleach alternative
I personally don’t want to go through with all these precautions each time so I have been desperately looking for a good alternative. From all my research I found that the best bleach alternative is made with peroxide, citric acid, lemon juice, and essential oils. The recipe is very simple to make and if you think hydrogen peroxide is toxic — it is. However, the concentration that is sold in your market is safe and it does not produce the toxic fumes that chlorine bleach does.
Though the basic ingredients for this recipe are the same in almost all my books, the proportion varied from each book to book which left me very confused but after many trials with small batches, I liked this recipe. This recipe can be made in matter of seconds once you get ahold of the ingredients. I also would recommend making smaller batches as the effectiveness of the bleach will fade if stored for a long time. Be sure to store it in dark bottles.
I prefer citrus essential oil for this recipe as it is a natural disinfectant and it also leaves the clothes with an amazing fresh smell. If you would like other essential oils, give them a try. If the quality of tap water is good, use that for mixing the bleach. If you have hard water, try using distilled water.
Hydrogen peroxide for household use usually comes in different concentrations, I would suggest 3% concentration for this recipe.
Homemade Bleach Ingredients
- 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp citric acid
- 10 drops essential oil
- 5 cups water
Homemade Bleach Steps
- Mix all the ingredients together well.
- Pour the mixture into a dark colored glass bottle and store.
- Use around a cup for a load of laundry.