Use bleach to clean only in exceptional cases

Unlike in many other countries, bleaching is used only sparingly as a cleaning agent in Germany. This is to be welcomed for environmental reasons, as bleaching for cleaning produces toxic wastewater. For occasional intensive cleaning, it is recommended, but in continuous use, it is similar to the "shooting cannons on sparrows".

Chlorine and Javelwasser

Bleaching agents generally contain aggressive acid compounds that make no distinction between soiling, colors and materials. In particular, bleaching with chlorine, which has been used for many years, is becoming increasingly rare. The highly toxic element is increasingly being replaced by oxygen-based bleaching agents, which are less polluting.

One of the most well-known chlorine-based bleaching agents is Javelwasser or Eau de Javel. It consists of sodium hypochlorite or potassium hypochlorite, which in addition to the bleaching effect has an antibacterial, disinfecting, odor-eliminating effect. In addition, it kills all living things in the water from algae to fish. When mixed with acid, highly toxic chlorine gas is produced, which can lead to death.

Modern bleach and home remedies

The chlorine-free modern cleaning bleaches are less harmful to the environment, but still not ecologically harmless. In any case, wastewater is produced that is difficult or impossible to clean. The oxygen-based bleaches contain hydrogen peroxide, ozone, sodium carbonate or sodium percarbonate. The bleaching effect of carbonates is also used in bleaching with baking soda.

Natron, which is one of the ingredients of the baking aid as sodium bicarbonate, is chemically related to baking soda. Used as a bleaching agent it develops similar properties as "real" bleaching. It can also be used in the laundry. Before using more aggressive bleaching, it is always worth trying to remove stains with baking soda or soda as a bleaching agent.

Check compatibility on plaster surfaces

It is indispensable, before each bleaching application, to carry out a detailed material compatibility test. Bleaching initiates oxidation that does not just affect rust stains, red wine stains and any other debris. Plastic floor coverings or wall coverings, or fibrous fabrics such as carpets, quickly deteriorate if the bleach reacts chemically with the colors or materials it contains.

Tips & Tricks

Store bleach safely, dry, and in stably sealed containers. Even a small amount of evaporation produces toxic fumes. Use bleach only with protective gloves and avoid any skin contact.

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