You clean your home to make it a safer, more enjoyable place to be. But what if the very products you use to clean your home are actually making it more dangerous and more uncomfortable for your family? For decades, customers have mistakenly equated chlorine bleach with words like “clean” and “safe”. But the reality is frighteningly far from it. That bottle of chlorine bleach in your laundry room, those cleaning products that proudly tout “with chlorine bleach” on their labels—they contain something far more sinister than a simple germ killer.
Coming Clean: The Deception of Chlorine Bleach
The killer in your cupboard.
Did you know that chlorine was one of the first ingredients used to create chemical weapons in World War I? During the Second Battle of Ypres, on April 22, 1915, the Germans released chlorine gas on their enemies—marking the first full-scale deployment of deadly chemical weapons in WWI.1 The lethal chemical is still used in warfare today, with insurgents of the Iraq war making bombs out of giant tanks of chlorine.2
Unfortunately, this lethal gas can also be created by accident when you unwittingly mix chlorine-based cleaning products with other common cleaning agents. And it isn’t always mixing two cleaners, together, sometimes it’s simply residue from a past cleaner that reacts with the chlorine-based product. In 2011, 152 workers were hospitalized due to exposure from chlorine gas after someone poured chlorine bleach into a container previously used with another cleaning solution.3
The dangers of chlorine bleach don’t stop there.
This chemical is caustic and deadly even before it is mixed with other products. Of all injuries to young children cause by cleaning products, exposure to chlorine bleach is the most common. The most common types of injury from chlorine bleach are poisoning (68%), chemical burns (15.9%) and skin/eye irritation (10.4%).4 According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, chlorine bleach is responsible for more than 38,000 reported poisonings per year.5 As many people die from chlorine bleach poisoning as from rattlesnake and spider bites combined.6
Recent medical studies have also revealed another disturbing trend. Chlorine bleach specifically aggravates the membranes in the lower respiratory system, causing shortness of breath and wheezing.
Studies show that a person with asthma who cleans in their home with chlorine bleach once a day will have a 5% increase in asthma attacks in a year. A person who cleans in their home with chlorine bleach twice a day more than quadruples this figure—they’ll experience 28% more asthma attacks.
So the next time you decide to clean with chlorine bleach, it might be good to add a ventilator in addition to the goggles rubber gloves and protective clothing most chlorine-based products recommend you use.
The cleaner that doesn’t actually clean.
If the dangers of chlorine bleach weren’t discouraging enough, here’s another sad truth many consumers don’t realize—chlorine bleach is not a cleaner.
It doesn’t get rid of grime, dirt or stains. What it can do is make color invisible to the naked eye, making us think it’s getting rid of stains.
Chlorine bleach is a highly reactive substance. It changes everything it comes into contact with, destroying it on a molecular level.
We see colors based on light absorption and reflection. When we see a red apple, it’s because the red color wavelength is reflected to us. When chlorine bleach comes into contact with stains, it destroys the molecules’ ability to reflect light. Chlorine bleach doesn’t get rid of dirt—it only turns it white. We may not be able to see the dirt and grime, but the truth is, the stain is still there.
To get your home truly clean you don’t need chlorine bleach. You need products that can safely remove hard water deposits, grime, and other stains and buildup. That’s something chlorine bleach just can’t do, and is just one of the many reasons why all Melaleuca EcoSense® products are chlorine bleach-free.
- Household Cleaning Product-Related Injuries,Pediatrics, September 2010
- 2008 Annual Report of the American Association of PoisonControl Centers
- As reported to Poison Control Centers over the last 10 years