To Bleach or Not?

prod_laundry_bleach_64oz-free-clear_260x282For a long time, I’ve excluded bleach from our house and found other ways to clean where I used to use bleach.  I don’t like the chlorine bleach smell and chlorine isn’t good for the environment.  I haven’t missed my bleach except in the laundry department where keeping stains out of my toddler’s clothing can be a challenge.  A little marker here, grass stains there.  Mix it all up, leave it in the laundry bin for a week and voila – permanent stain. 

I recently was looking through Seventh Generation’s line of products and found a chlorine FREE bleach and decided to give it a whirl.  My first use was for an outdoor curtain that wasn’t taken down during the last 2 winters and accumulated some mildew over the damp months.  While it didn’t remove all the mildew ( and I didn’t expect it would since it’d been hanging there for 2 years ), it removed a lot of it and I was thrilled!

Through the ‘Ask the Science Man’ archives, I found that their line of bleach is intended for laundry stain removal only and is not tested as a disinfectant or sanitizer.  According to the Science Man, “Non-chlorine bleaches are typically comprised of low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or percarbonate which are able to kill many common bacteria, fungi and viruses. Non-chlorine bleaches are capable of reducing the quantity of microorganisms on laundry, although the ability to kill microorganisms when diluted in a wash cycle decreases antimicrobial efficacy.[1-2] For the best results with chlorine free bleach, pre-treat any highly contaminated items. ”

Even though the site said the bleach was intended for laundry stain removal, the Science Man did recommend trying chlorine free bleach on tile for grout cleaning so my next task is to take it to the tile floor in my shower.  I might rue the day we chose an all tile floor in the shower – it’s all little tiles so there is LOTS of grout to get mildewy.  If that doesn’t work, he also recommended three different options: baking soda/water, vinegar/water or a steam cleaner.  I have all three, hopefully one of them will make the job easy!

So, to answer the question: To Bleach or Not?  The answer is yes – but with a non chlorine bleach!  I’m a Seventh Generation junkie but Ecover and Biokleen also make them.