AirMD's Green Blog

Home Cleaning Products: What to Know-Bleach

In the first of an ongoing series through the AirMD blog, we will briefly examine the common household cleaning products we keep in our homes and the ingredients found in these products as well as discuss their potential effects and why we do not need these products in our homes.

I remember many years ago, my wife asked me to help clean the tile floor in my home. As I poured bleach into the bucket I looked at the label and the warning signs placed on the bottle. I noticed the CONTENTS! Much to my surprise I realized I was sensitive to several of the ingredients. After some research I found my sensitivities to bleach caused me to have respiratory issues.

Around the world nearly all households have a bottle of bleach or a solution containing bleach under the sink. We use it to wash our kitchen floors, toilets and showers. Yet we fail to ask ourselves the important question, WHY DO WE USE IT WHEN IT CONTAINS SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE AND WHAT IS SODIUM HYPOCHLORITE.

The simple answer I can come up with is we are all conditioned to use bleach. I know I was conditioned to use bleach from my parents (I call it conditioned behavior). Today, we are now in a world where people question what they use, which leads us to bleach and its ingredient sodium hypochlorite.

Sodium hypochlorite is a corrosive material that irritates the skin, eyes and respiratory tract, can cause pulmonary edema or vomiting and if mixed with other chemicals to make other household products causes chlorine gas resulting in nasal irritation, irritated throat and coughing.

There are warnings all over the bottle and we are told to keep it out of the reach of children. Why do we use such a hazardous product in our homes?

Is it because we are trying to kill all the bacteria or is the disinfectant smell, subconsciously telling us our homes are clean. The reality is we don’t need a powerful chemical to clean or remove bacteria from our homes; there are many natural based cleaners available to us that do as good a job at cleaning and in my opinion smell a whole lot better.

I have attached a link that explains sodium hypochlorite and its health effects.

Bleach has been the main cleaning material used in my home for years yet I never thought of it in the way you describe. It does not make sense to use heavy chemicals to kill bacteria.

Rebecca Lurie
Oct 16th, 2008
at 07:24 am

That's scary. What about bleach in the laundry? And then wearing the clothing on our bodies - that has to be just as bad as inhaling it in.

Oct 16th, 2008
at 12:37 pm

The less we use bleach the better. In the event you use bleach try to keep it as infrequent as possible.

Simon Hahessy
Oct 17th, 2008
at 07:42 am

I always keep the bleech in my laundry room. I am going to keep it in my garage from now on.

Dympna Steele RN
Oct 26th, 2008
at 10:13 am

Your comment on our conditioned behaviour in regards to bleach is so very true. We don't stop to think about these things but many of us do contiously or subcontiosly associate cleanliness with the smell of bleach... I know my father does if he could use it to clean is food before eating he woould. I beleive most people do have an unpleasant reaction to bleach especially when used in high concentration; this could be our body alerting us to its danger. Could it be that what we are so dependent on to protect us can be doing more harm than good? I certainly will be looking into alternative disinfectants

W. Gordon
Nov 12th, 2008
at 05:43 pm

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