When we hear the word bleach we often immediately think of chemicals, chlorine, sterile, a strong smell and yes this is typical of the stuff you find in the supermarket aisle but there IS a safer product that can do amazing jobs around the home and for your laundry too. This is known as a natural bleach, Oxygen Bleach, Sodium Percarbonate or Percarbonate of Soda.
What is Percarbonate of Soda?
This is a safe and non-toxic, biodegradable alternative to harsh chlorine bleach. When dissolved in water it releases a mixture of oxygen, soda crystals and water which act as a powerful stain remover, deodoriser and disinfectant.
How is it Different to Ordinary Bleach?
The difference between the two is the fact that one contains a harmful chemical and the other doesn’t. If we look at the warning labels on the bleach you are more commonly aware of, it is pretty scary, isn’t it? Danger keep out of the reach of children, irritant, avoid contact with the skin and eyes, if swallowed seek medical advice immediately, do not mix with other cleaning products may release dangerous gases…
And we voluntarily use this around our home?!! (Not judging, I did too)
The reason this is so harmful is because it contains the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite which is a corrosive disinfectant. Percarbonate of Soda’s active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide which naturally breaks down into oxygen and water leaving no chemical trace behind.
How Can Percarbonate of Soda Be Used?
The most popular way of using it is to remove stains and get whites really white again. Did you know that the main ingredient in products such as Vanish is in fact Percarbonate of Soda? You can simply add 1-4 tablespoons in the washing machine drawer or for tougher stains, pop the item into a bowl and leave it to soak in the Percabonate and hot water for a few hours.
As with the other type of bleach, a natural bleach can also be used to make your toilet bright and sparkly again. Add 2-3 tablespoons to a litre of boiling water and wait for it to activate. Once ready, pour this into your toilet and leave for as long as required. Overnight usually gives the best results.
You can make your own disinfectant spray but this would have to be used up in the one cleaning session as the Percarbonate will naturally break down into oxygen and water within around 6 hours. Add 4 tablespoons of Percarbonate to a litre of hot water and use to clean surfaces, walls, bathrooms, bins and so on.
Percarbonate of Soda can also be used to unblock sinks. Pop 2 – 3 tablespoons into the plughole, pour in some boiling water, wait a few minutes and rinse.
Tea Stains in Mugs
Simply add 1 – 2 teaspoons of sodium percarbonate to each mug and then fill each mug with freshly boiled water. Leave to soak for at least 15 minutes, pour out the solution and then wash your mugs as normal. If you use tea strainers like we do, you can pop these into a bowl of water and Percarbonate and watch as the tea stains just fizz away.
To clean the grout between your tiles mix a little Percarbonate of Soda with just enough warm water to create a paste. Wait a few minutes for the Percarbonate to activate and then apply the paste to your grout. You could work this in with an old toothbrush to get deep into the grout then rinse off with water.
**Before tackling your upholstery with any product always do a patch test first**
Mix half a tablespoon of Percarbonate of Soda with 250 ml of warm water and carefully pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto your stain and gently scrub with a brush/rough cloth. You can leave the solution on the stain for 5 to 10 minutes to work its magic and then rinse with water and blot dry.
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Where Can You Buy Percarbonate of Soda?
Many refill and eco shops stock this product now and most will offer it plastic free too which is another win. If you don’t have a shop nearby you can always order online in stores like Big Green Smile who sell this large bag here. And remember that it may also be called oxygen bleach, natural bleach or sodium percarbonate, it is all the same product just labelled differently.
With so many uses and being safe for yourself and your family, natural bleach definitely ticks all the boxes.
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