Home cleaning supplies are designed in such a way as to be safe not only for use on household surfaces but, in some cases, to cause damage to the user if not used properly. The use of disinfectants is one of the most common ways to make domestic cleaning safer, yet many people do not realize the potential hazards of using disinfectants. Disinfectants are chemical substances that kill or remove micro-organisms from surfaces they come into contact with. They can be made from a variety of different chemicals including toxic and non-toxic disinfectants. In general, the most common disinfectant is chlorine, which has been used for years because of its effectiveness in killing both harmful bacteria and viruses.
One of the more popular disinfectants that people use is chlorine. While it is fairly easy to get in stores and other locations, it can also be difficult to find in your own water supply. Because chlorine decays over time and can build up in your home’s water supply when unused, most municipal water plants will not add it to tap water. Because most homes have at least a one-inch diameter pipe leading from the main line coming into your home to the house, the water outlet that comes into your home through your kitchen faucet or shower is often full of disinfectants. Using an untreated shower or bath will let chlorine gas build up and create a dangerous risk of inhaling it.
Chlorine and other common disinfectants can be combined with other substances to create a non-toxic solution for cleaning. A compound called “hydrogen peroxide” is sometimes added to bleach to create disinfecting solutions that work without creating any harmful fumes. If you have an old refrigerator, the cabinet that holds the ice cubes in a dispenser may contain a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. If you keep the dispenser in a central location and turn on your central air conditioning, you should notice that the ice cubes inside will start to melt.
In addition to hydrogen peroxide, vinegar is often added to other cleaning solutions to create disinfecting solutions that are highly effective without creating any dangerous byproducts. It has even been discovered that vinegar can help to loosen dirt and stains. You may find that a specific household cleaning product called “varnish” works best when used as a base for creating vinegar-based disinfectants.
Other non-toxic household cleaning materials that work well in combination with vinegar or bleach include: borax, baking soda, dish washing detergent, nail polish, liquid laundry detergent, white vinegar, and liquid soap. The cleaning solutions described here are all very safe to use in the home. However, borax and baking soda can be potentially toxic when combined with the strong disinfecting properties of sodium hypochlorite. Borax and baking soda should never be combined with sodium hypochlorite because they will produce a dangerous chemical compound called “bleach”.
Home cleaning with vinegar and sodium hypochlorite remains one of the most effective cleaning agents. Of course, there are many other types of organic chemicals and disinfectants that are as effective and are available at your local home store. In fact, you might be surprised at how many cleaning solutions are available that are safe and inexpensive.