Occasionally, I will have to confess my transgressions. I try to stay on the straight-and-narrow when it comes to my environmental consciousness, but I sometimes choose the “dark side.” I am not proud of my wrongdoing, but I feel that I will perhaps be able to make peace with myself if I share my story!
Confession: I use bleach to clean the tile walls of my shower.
I have TRIED to use the Eco-friendly alternatives to bleach. I prefer cleaning everything with baking soda or vinegar. But the nasty mold that grows in particular at the upper edges of the ceiling (which is also tiled is nearly impossible to keep clean! So should I just let the mold continue to grow? I don’t have the time/energy/patience to get up there with a ladder and scrub it. And even if I did have all of those things, natural cleaners just don’t do the job. So I get in the shower naked (I know what that crap will do to my clothes), hold my breath, and generously coat the tile walls. I let it dry overnight, and Voila! The mold is gone.
Bleach is bad for the environment, right? Or is it? I’m finding a lot of conflicting
information on the interwebs regarding this topic. Small amounts of chlorine are added to public water systems and function as a disinfectant to eradicate waterborne disease. This is actually required by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in order to disinfect water before it is distributed to homes and offices. While it is a chemical, it appears that chlorine bleach is actually an organic substance. Chlorine chemicals are produced by an variety of biological and natural processes in our environment. Forms of chlorine are even inside our bodies! Hypochlorite, a chlorine-containing compound, is present in minute amounts within white blood cells to attack germs and trigger other germ fighting agents.
So is the trace amount of bleach that I’m sending back to the water treatment facility by using it to clean my shower causing any harm? It’s difficult to tell for certain. Even if my digressions aren’t causing environmental concern, I am well aware of the harmful effects of breathing in the fumes of bleach. Bleach can cause terrible respiratory problems and is obviously is a major skin irritant. If it’s so harmful to humans to breath or touch this substance, then I have a hard time seeing how it would NOT be harming the natural world. I will probably continue to use trace amounts of bleach to ward off the nasty mold in my shower, but I certainly don’t feel great about it.