natural bleach alternatives

There’s no denying: Bleach definitely seems like it does a good job of getting things clean. But, on the other hand, who wants to breathe in all of those harsh fumes? And what’s ‘clean’ about that? I know I’d rather avoid having poisonous chemicals, especially around my kids. The good news is: Mama Nature has got us covered. Who needs bleach when you can use these five great natural cleaners instead.

1. Vinegar

My favorite all-purpose cleaner is vinegar, which is also a mild disinfectant. It leaves countertops, high chair trays and walls (as well as windows and mirrors) clean and shiny. For a bit of added cleaning power, you can add a drop or two of liquid soap to a spray bottle of water and vinegar — a 50/50 mix of vinegar to water is just about perfect.

2. Lemon Juice

For cleaning and disinfecting cutting boards, drains and garbage disposals, lemon and lemon juice are perfect. Slice a lemon in half and rub it all over a cutting board, then simply wash as usual. Toss a halved lemon into the garbage disposal and run it to freshen and disinfect. You can also simply pour lemon juice down your drains to freshen them up.

3. Castile Soap

Castile soap is a natural, vegetable-based soap that is a gentle yet effective cleaner. You can add castile soap to your homemade cleaners to give them a little extra cleaning power, or you can simply add a few drops of liquid castile soap to some hot water to wash down your countertops, stove, floors or any other grimy area.

4. Borax

Borax is often found in the laundry aisle. Often, people use Borax to give their laundry detergent a bit more cleaning power, but Borax is also an effective disinfectant all by itself. Consider using Borax to clean your sinks or toilets in place of powdered cleansers. You can even make your own version of “soft scrub” type cleaners by making a paste of Borax, warm water and castile soap.

5. Tea Tree Oil

You know those popular “pine” scented cleaners? The scent of those cleaners is actually derived from tea tree oil, which is a great general purpose cleaner and disinfectant. You can buy tea tree oil wherever you purchase essential oils. Simply add a few drops to warm water in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant, or add some to one of our recipes for all-natural floor cleaners for a bit of added disinfecting.

So, next time you’re thinking of reaching for the bleach to clean up around your house, consider one of these natural alternatives instead. You’ll breathe easier, and have a clean house as well!

image: Brad Montgomery