Smarter Living: Stuff

whites

Photo: Multiple fragments of tissue/Fickr

Whitening clothes and sinks isn’t that easy without bleach, and although I have tried, I haven’t had much luck using hydrogen peroxide as a whitener.

Why avoid bleach? Breathing in the fumes of cleaners containing a high concentration of chlorine can irritate the lungs. This is particularly dangerous for people suffering from heart conditions or chronic respiratory problems such as asthma or emphysema. And the risks are compounded when the cleaners are used in small, poorly ventilated rooms, such as the bathroom. It is also really corrosive. Chlorine was listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the 1990 Clean Air Act, and exposure to chlorine in the workplace is regulated by federal standards.

What to use instead: I have tried everything green, and while they work (lemon juice, the sun), there are times you just want to quickly save that white shirt that has chocolate on it, or whiten a bunch of white shirts at once, or whiten the sink. I have fallen in love with sodium perborate for this purpose. It works wonders in the sink if I put 1/4 cup into the sink, fill with warm water, and let it set for an hour or two. It also is great for clothes.

Reality Check; How to find it? It isn’t that easy, but buy a lot at once and you’ll be set. I use Seaside Naturals Bleach Alternative.

Annie B. Bond  just launched her new site, www.greenchicafe.com! Come visit and share! Learn from green experts, join the eco-movement, and discover Green Chi—the energetic life force that runs through natural materials.

last revised 8/22/2011

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