Bleach is one of the cheapest and most common cleaners out there. But is it really safe to use it in your house? Is there any such thing as natural bleach? If you’ve ever found yourself looking at how to make bleach at home, this article is for you. Read on for answers to some common questions about commercial versus homemade bleach.
Can you make natural bleach?
Many people think of bleach as being chlorine-based, but bleach is actually a name for a collection of chemicals that perform two main functions: killing bacteria and removing colour. The most common commercial bleaches are based on chlorine or hydrogen peroxide (sometimes known as oxygen bleach). You can find more information on ‘what is bleach’ and how to do bleaching at home in this article.
It’s possible to find things that kill bacteria and remove colour in nature or to make them out of things you can find in your food cupboard. The natural bleach that’s cheapest and easiest to find is sunlight. If you’ve ever left a black shirt out in strong sun by mistake, you’ll know that it fades colour pretty quickly over time.
Other ingredients in homemade “bleach” cleaners might include vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, or citric acid. On their own, each of these ingredients is usually safe for children to interact with or accidentally eat however most recipes for natural bleach involve combining them, which can be a lot less safe.
What’s in homemade bleach?
Those of you who’ve already done some research into how to make bleach at home might have noticed that many so-called “homemade bleach alternatives” contain hydrogen peroxide. They may be much less concentrated than commercial bleach, but they’re not an “alternative” to anything: they’re simply homemade bleach products.
If you’re keen to learn how to do bleach at home, here’s a simple recipe you can try:
- 180 ml 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 60 ml lemon juice
- 170g baking soda
- 7 l water
- 10-15 drops essential oil
Pour this mixture into a durable plastic container and shake it well to combine. Spray onto surfaces you want to clean or add 240 ml to a load of white laundry. If you want to wash colours, make sure you do a patch test on an inconspicuous part of the garment.
Is bleach safe to use?
Bleach is a very harsh chemical, but that doesn’t make it unsafe to use; it just means you need to take care with it. Wear gloves to protect your skin, whether you’re using commercial or homemade bleach, and always use it in a well-ventilated area. Keep it well away from children and pets and never mix it with other cleaning chemicals as it could create toxic gasses.
If you’re worried about keeping regular bleach in your house, you can always compromise. Many reputable brands, like Domex, offer cleaners that contain bleach alongside other, gentler ingredients – much like those homemade bleach recipes that contain hydrogen peroxide.
Ultimately, the choice between commercial and homemade bleach is a personal one. If you have the time and patience to make your own bleach, you might find it’s worth a try but you may prefer to stick with a trusted brand like Domex so that you don’t have to handle any chemicals like hydrogen peroxide yourself. As long as you use bleach carefully and stick to trusted brands, there’s no reason to change.