Bleach is awesome. I love it. It cleans the heck out of stuff, kills stuff, prevents stuff from spreading. It's great stuff. However, like most things that I love, bleach requires moderation. So, if you should find yourself with a nasty infection, like...oh, i don't know...Staph, maybe?...And you have bleached your bathroom to the point that you have to leave the house to breathe...you may want to try a bleach alternative. So here are a few things that I have found to work REALLY well and smell a whole lot better than bleach. And you're lungs won't bleed. What's not to love?
1. Vinegar: OK, this one doesn't smell awesome. But the smell goes away once the vinegar dries. Vinegar is about 5% acetic acid. The acid is what kills germs and bacteria. Combine it with a little dish washing liquid and hot water, and it is a great multi-surface cleaner. I usually add several drops of essential oils as well.
2. Hydrogen peroxide: Not so much by itself, but added to a solution of vinegar, water and dish soap... kicks it up a notch. Also great for disinfecting clothes. Use it in place of bleach in when you do your laundry.
3. Borax...but don't get crazy!! Again, not by itself. Add a little ( like a teaspoon) to some (like a cup) of hot water. Give it a little stir and let it dissolve. Then add some (about a half a cup) of vinegar. Boom. You're done. Unless of course, you are like me, and that recipe is too easy for you. You need to add something that smells good, which brings me to...
4. Essential Oils:
Tea tree oil is one of my favorites because it does everything!! It has anti-fungal properties,so you can use it to treat nail fungus or other unpleasant skin irritations like athletes foot and ringworm. It also is a germ killing BOSS, meaning it can kill staphylococcus, e-coli, and salmonella. Tea tree oil is pretty easy to find. I get mine at Kroger in the organic, healthy schmealthy section, or Rainbow Co-Op in Jackson, or online at NOW Foods. Most pharmacies carry it as well.
Other great essential oils with antibacterial properties are, eucalyptus, lemongrass, orange oil, and rosemary... and maybe oregano, but I'm not sure about that one.
Here are some links to recipes that I have used in the past:
Be sure to wear gloves just as you would with store bought cleaners. Borax can be rough on the skin and some essential oils can burn. Most need to be mixed with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, in order to be applied to the skin.
AND, if you do use bleach....less is more. Don't be idiot and burn a hole in your lungs. Anywhere from a 1/4 to a 1/2 a cup of bleach to a gallon of water should be fine. Wipe down the surface you are disinfecting and let it dry by itself. And wear old clothes. :-)