Hydrogen Peroxide vs. Bleach:
Which is the Better Household Cleaner?
And is There an Even Better Option?

Chlorine bleach household cleaners are often the most toxic chemicals found in homes yet most popular in America. Bleach is added to everything from toilet bowl cleaners and counter sprays to dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent. Of course, it’s also often used straight out of the bottle for an endless array of cleaning purposes.

That old cleaning standby, a bucket of bleach water and an old rag, may not be the best choice for your family’s health.

The benefit to chlorine bleach is that it’s very effective in killing germs like viruses, bacteria and fungi. But the benefit does not come without a price. It resides as residue on all surfaces you use it to clean, it goes into your home’s air that you breathe, affecting your lungs, and it’s absorbed very quickly into your skin and your family members’ skin by everything you touch that was cleaned.

Chlorine is extremely poisonous and was actually used during World War I as a choking agent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chlorine gas is what gives bleach its pungent odor, and it can be pressurized and cooled to change it into a liquid form, which is used to make countless industrial and household products including bleach (both household chlorine bleach and bleach used in the manufacture of paper and cloth).

“Household bleach, used to whiten fabrics or remove mold from surfaces, is (ONLY) a 5% solution of a stabilized form of chlorine,” states the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Health Risks of Chlorine Bleach

The active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is a combination of sodium and chlorine. This substance is not only incredibly corrosive and capable of causing irritation, pain and blistering if it comes in contact with your skin, it’s also potentially dangerous when inhaled.

According to Clorox, “Medical conditions that may be aggravated by exposure to high concentrations of vapor or mist

[from Clorox regular bleach): heart conditions or chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or obstructive lung disease.”

As you may also have heard, chlorine bleach reacts with ammonia, drain cleaners and other acids like vinegar and some toilet bowl cleaners. If you mix chlorine bleach with theses substances, chlorine gas is released, which can cause the following even at low levels:

  • Irritation to your eyes, throat and nose
  • Coughing and breathing problems
  • Burning and watery eyes
  • Runny nose

If the chlorine gas exposure is high enough it can cause:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Vomiting
  • Pneumonia
  • Fluid in the Lungs
  • Death

It’s therefore incredibly important to not mix bleach with any ammonia or acid-containing products, and this includes coming into contact with urine while cleaning cat litter boxes or diaper pails. Bleach may also react with certain oven cleaners, hydrogen peroxide and insecticides, making its use a bit like playing Russian roulette.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide a Good Alternative?

Hydrogen peroxide in the 3 percent strength commonly sold in drug stores can make an effective alternative to chlorine bleach. For instance:

  • Fill a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and spray it onto your shower walls, counters, refrigerator, lunch boxes and other surfaces. Wipe clean with a paper towel.
  • Add 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide to the detergent compartment of your dishwasher and run it along with your regular detergent (this will help disinfect your dishes).
  • Pour it over your toothbrush for a quick disinfectant (then rinse with water).
  • Add it to your humidifier and run it as usual to clean the system’s interior. Use one pint of hydrogen peroxide to 1 gallon of water.
  • Add a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide into a sink full of water for a safe fruit and veggie wash that may help kill E. coli and other bacteria. Swish your produce in the solution, then rinse and drain.
  • Add about 8 ounces to your laundry cycles to whiten your clothes.
  • Use it on a cotton ball to disinfect computer keyboards, phones and other small, heavily used surfaces.
  • Dab it onto insect bites and other small cuts and abrasions to disinfect them.
  • To get rid of musty smells and mildew, such as in the basement or in your bathroom, mix one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with two parts water, put in a spray bottle and spray the area (let it sit for an hour or more before rinsing).
  • Use diluted hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash.
rubber gloves

Ready to ditch the rubber gloves and toxic cleansers while still giving your home a thorough deep cleaning? Look for and use none toxic ways to clean leaving no toxic residue. One way is to find and use similar or same cleaning products that top hospitals use like PerfectClean and other commercial grade none toxic products.

While hydrogen peroxide is antibacterial and also capable of killing viruses, its downside is that it does not work instantly. So to get the full disinfection effects you’ll need to leave the peroxide on whatever it is you’re cleaning for varying lengths of time. This is fine if you’re cleaning your shower stall or doing laundry, but when you need to clean your kitchen counters you may want a cleaner that acts fast.

What’s a Safe and Effective, Natural Cleaner That’s Fast-Acting Too?

Chlorine bleach has high risk as if it’s not handled with plastic gloves and no residue is left behind there could be concern for autoimmune and other unseen causes of health problems, making it a verydangerous poison risk to your health. Also hydrogen peroxide, though generally safe and an excellent disinfectant, likely will not meet all of your cleaning needs.

Other cleaning products are also not recommended, as the very solvents that you use to keep your home clean can accumulate in household dust and linger on surfaces and in the air you breathe. Many conventional cleaning products are packed with harsh cleaning chemicals even beyond chlorine bleach – like ammonia and alcohol – along with artificial colors and powerful fragrances that can release toxic fumes, causing irritation of the eyes and possible antibiotic resistance due to unnecessary antibacterial compounds in the cleaners.

For instance, did you know that using conventional cleaning sprays and air fresheners at least once a week can increase your risk of asthma by 30-50 percent? It can.

And, according to researchers from the University of California-Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, cleaning a shower stall for 15 minutes with a product containing glycol ethers, which are common in household cleaners and classified as hazardous air pollutants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, may result in exposures that are three times the recommended one-hour exposure limit.

Household cleaners also contribute to contamination in your indoor air. When you breathe in polluted air, the pollutants reach much further than your nose, mouth and even lungs. Polluted air affects all of your body’s systems, particularly your respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

And be warned: Common cleaners and cleaning tools like cotton rags and mops do not make the grade in terms of “deep” cleaning to avoid illness. You should seriously consider using cloths, mops and other cleaning tools that are made from ultramicrofibers instead.

Using a ultramicrofiber with such a microscopic size combined with the high percentage of fiber used dramatically increases the surface area of the Hand Wipes (by example a top quality 12″ cleaning hand wipe cloth will contain over 300 miles of actual cleaning surface!).

Also look for Hypoallergenic materials knitted with the high quality conjugated (splittable) “micro-denier filaments.”

The smaller the fiber the better to remove bacteria. Individual fibers need to be the same size range (or smaller) than most bacteria size of approximately 4-6 microns (bacteria can range from 2 – 8 microns).

Important Graphic of Size Relationships of Various So Called “Cleaning Products” that ONLY Move and Slide Bacteria vs. Fibers Small Enough to Grab and Remove with Antimicrobial Properties

Most disposable dust sheets, towels and shams simply push and spread bacteria on surfaces if the fibers are not in the same size range as the bacteria you seek to remove.

Again, seek a product line that has small ultramicrofibers in their products to reach into microscopic nooks, crannies and crevices on your floors, countertops, furniture and other surfaces to remove everything bacteria wise in your path when cleaning. According to the Centers for Disease Control, keeping your home clean is one of the most effective measures you should take to help prevent health issues, and two of the keys they cite are:

1. Use Preventative Measures
2. Buy the Least Harmful Product Available

Not only will you get the safest, healthiest and most attractive clean in your home, but you’ll save big money because most commercial grade products last far longer than any other cleaning method (and you can eliminate or greatly reduce any chemical cleaners, meaning even bigger savings and better health protection!)

SixWise Ways!While the physical activity of housework is quite healthy, breathing in chemical household cleaners is not.

Stay well and healthy by eliminating toxins and simply making good choices!


Wisconsin Department of Health Services

New Jersey Department of Health (PDF)



Clorox.com Material Safety Data Sheet (PDF)