Within both commercial and retail activity, bleach is an absolute favourite when it comes to cleaning – it is pretty much seen as a must have, all-purpose product. Infamous for its ability to keep clothes white, ‘removing’ mould and mildew from baths and its 'kills germs dead' qualities it is hardly suprising we stock our cupbaords with bottles of the stuff. However, despite the many properties it also carries with it a fair few disadvantages not many people are aware of.
The dangers of bleach and other chemical cleaning products are well documented, but often ignored. This blog post will look at the 5 reasons why it's best to avoid bleach.
1. Health Issues
There are a number of different health issues that can be associated with bleach or any other cleaning products that contain bleach. Chlorine bleach is a strong corrosive material. It can irritate eyes, skin and the respiratory tract by merely inhaling the gasses.
2. Unexpected Chemical Reactions
Often the direct physical health issues are not caused by bleach itself but rather the results of chemical reactions when mixed. The dangers of bleach are even greater when it is mixed with other cleaning products.
When ammonia is mixed with chlorine bleach the result is a toxic gas! This can happen with mixing cleaners and even while cleaning the toilet – as urine contains ammonia. Mixing chlorine bleach with dish soap produces a poisonous gas, also known as mustard gas which means that if you are using bleach, ensure there are plenty of saeguards in place to ensure it never cross contaminates with other cleaning chemicals.
Following the news you'll notice that there are a large number of accidents due to ‘household’ cleaners. In fact, 28% of all household poisonings are due to bleach and this number is growing.
4. The Environment
As well as causing potential danger to cleaning staff and customers, bleach also causes massive environmental issues. Pouring bleach into our waterways has a huge impact on life, even when just discharging diluted chemical.
Most bleach will be broken down when exposed to other compounds in sewage, or is removed by wastewater treatment facilities. But precautions should be taken to keep bleach out of street drains, as some of these systems do not get treated before being released into streams and rivers.
Bleach is from the organochlorine family of chemicals – these compounds are rarely found in nature and can take centuries to decompose.
5. Poor Cleaning Qualities
Bleach actually has very little cleaning qualities; one way it works is by bleaching dirt and grime to give the impression it is clean. It does not contain many cleaning agents at all, therefore is not suitable for general cleaning application. Bleach does have disinfectant properties but will always require a degree of pre and post cleaning to function properly and provide you with a satisfactory level of cleaning.
Given the hazards and levels of pre-cleaning we would always recommend an environmentally responsible alternative - such as Pro 44 Biological Multi-Surface Cleaner as it removes organic dirt and grime, eliminates germs and removes odour with very little effort. As it is a natural, biodegradable solution it also carries minimal environmental risk when the diluted solution is discharged in drains and into the atmosphere.