Inside: Tips for how to use oxygen bleach powder; a non-toxic, chlorine bleach alternative to clean your house; disinfect kitchen areas like sinks, treat stains on upholstery and carpeting and much more.
A new year arrives and I am always excited to clean up. I’m just one of those people who loves the holidays, but I love clearing it all out even more. Winters can be challenging mentally and emotionally, so having a clean and healthy home is a first step to making it manageable.
The truth is I start my ‘spring cleaning’ in January and one of the first things I do is disinfect the house from top to bottom – and yes, I totally have one secret ingredient I use consistently to do this. Oxygen bleach, otherwise known as oxy bleach or bleaching powder is my go-to, non-toxic, disinfecting super solution for a lot of problem areas in the house. Today, I’m sharing some incredible ways to use oxygen bleach to clean your whole house!
Oxygen bleach comes in two forms; liquid and powder. The truth is the liquid version is hard to find, so I’ve started adapting to using just the powder bleach that you find in the cleaning aisle at the grocery store. Here in Canada, one tub will range in price anywhere from about $7 up to $11. I haven’t found much difference when it comes to price for household cleaning, though I do find the brand name OxyClean does have a nicer scent when used for doing the actual laundry.
What is Oxy Bleach?
First things first, what is this stuff and why is it so awesome? It’s not chlorine bleach and has barely any odor at all. Oxygen bleach, otherwise known as powder bleach, is typically a combination of soap powder and sodium percarbonate, which is the active ingredient that makes it a good disinfectant.
You can actually just buy straight up sodium percarbonate if you want to make your own mixture with it too. If you’re going that route and want to use it as a cleaning agent, you only need a tiny bit, because it’s quite powerful and undiluted.
I like to have one bucket of powder bleach in my stocked cleaning caddy at all times. I also keep one in the laundry room.
How to use Oxy Bleach in the Laundry Room
This one is easy, as for the most part oxy bleach is marketed as a laundry and stain removal solution. If you add it as a booster in a wash, it will get your whites whiter and leave your garments softer than a fabric softener or chlorine based bleach. I LOVE using it when I wash my slipcovers and when I wash all the drapery in the house.
Another great use for it in the laundry room is for bulky items like toss pillows and small throw rugs – things that you would NEVER use chlorine bleach on, but that you want to get really nice and fresh and disinfected. Toss in a half cup when you’re laundering feather pillows and the powder bleach will help rid them of any microbes or gross things growing in there.
Use Powder Bleach as a Spot Stain Cleaner
This might be one of my favourite uses for bleach powder. With a toddler and three pets, stains are a real thing in our house and constantly buying stain removers for specific problems was hurting the ol’ bank account much to much.
To treat stains with bleach powder, I first dampen the area with cool water. (We recently had a spaghetti sauce accident on my favourite placemats, so this is what I’m doing here). Then I add a few drops of plain dish soap, which is a great degreaser and will help to keep the stain from setting.
But then I’ll add in 1/2 teaspoon or so of oxy bleach powder and rub it in with my fingers really hard. This way the red tinge of the tomato sauce will bleach as the soap pulls the stain away. It’s like a double whammy spot cleaning solution.
For this particular stain, I repeated the process after about a day and the stain is now virtually gone.
A word of warning; I would NOT do this on delicate fabric or clothing. This spot removal technique works best on thicker fabrics that can withstand scrubbing. It will also work on rugs and broadloom.
Using Powder Bleach as a Kitchen Disinfectant
Another amazing use for this stuff? Because of the sodium percarbonate in it, you can hack it and use it to disinfect nasty areas of the kitchen without the bleach smell! Here’s what I do and it works like a charm.
I will fill one half of my double sink with water that’s as hot as I can stand, and as the tap is running, I add in a few Tablespoons of the powder bleach. The hot water helps it to dissolve faster and distribute more evenly. If you find the powder is gathering at the bottom of the sink too much, your water isn’t hot enough.
Put a few cleaning rags into the sink and let them sit there for a good twenty minutes. This does a couple things – it helps to rid your kitchen of fruit flies and drain bugs (if you have any!) and it lets the water come down to a useable temperature for you to put your hands in it 🙂
Once the cleaning rags have been in the bleach water for a while, use them to wipe down EVERYTHING in your kitchen that isn’t the floor. Voila. Disinfected and sparkly shiny kitchen using one cleaning product. This trick will also work in a bathroom!
Using Oxy Bleach on Floors and Carpets
Lastly, you might be wondering if this stuff is safe to use on floors and carpets. The answer is yes and no. If you have vinyl or laminate flooring, I’d likely hesitate to use it only because it’s powder and might scratch the surface.
However, I have had luck adding a TEENY bit of it into my steam mop to give the steam cleaning solution a bit of extra oompf. I use this on the ceramic tile floor in the foyer that gets all gross from salt and dog paws in the winter.
For carpets, I use it as a spot stain remover and then I will vacuum it up after a few hours. It works fairly well on pet stains when combined with baking soda to soak up the stain, and a specially formulated pet stain spray or foam. Using the oxy bleach alone on a pet stain on a carpet probably won’t be enough to deal with it properly.
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