Bleach is one of the most ubiquitous household cleaning products. We can use it for everything from cleaning bathrooms to disinfecting sinks.
In your quest for cleaning products, you might have also come across the term “non-chlorine bleach”.
On the surface, this might seem like a fairly obviously-named product. But what is non-chlorine bleach, and where can you buy it in the UK? Read on to find out.
What Is Non-Chlorine Bleach?
Put simply, non-chlorine bleach is any bleach that doesn’t contain chlorine! The most common alternative ingredient is sodium percarbonate if you’re buying in powder form.
If you’d prefer a liquid alternative, it’d be hydrogen peroxide.
Sodium percarbonate is also known as soda ash or oxygen bleach. That name might be more familiar to you. It’s often sold as laundry bleach because it’s safer to use on clothes.
Hydrogen peroxide is another common product that can be used for disinfecting, bleaching, and more.
It’s used in hair bleach and household cleaners, and is even sold in pharmacies as an antiseptic.
Is Non-Chlorine Bleach Safe to Use?
Non-chlorine bleach is arguably safer than chlorine bleach, but it should still be treated with care. After all, both products listed above are corrosive and will hurt if you get them in your eyes.
While oxygen bleach will eventually hurt if you get it on your hands, you’ve got far more time to wash it off than normal bleach.
Importantly, both are better for the environment than chlorine bleach. They break down into harmless compounds such as water, oxygen, and hydrogen, meaning there aren’t any issues with flushing them down the drain.
What Is Normal Bleach?
When we talk about “normal” bleach, we mean sodium hypochlorite. This is the stuff sold in supermarkets for cleaning around the home.
The hypochlorite part is what interests us for cleaning. It’s simply a chemical bond of chlorine and oxygen that helps break apart the bonds of stain-causing components.
Is Chlorine Bleach Safe to Use?
Chlorine bleach is quite corrosive, meaning it can eat away at metal and organic materials.
As you probably already know, you shouldn’t get it anywhere near your eyes, mouth or skin.
It’s also not a good idea to use it on your clothes because it can drastically change their colour.
If you’ve ever spilt chlorine bleach on fabric accidentally, you’ll know what it does. This is why oxygen bleach is sold as a colour-safe alternative for removing stains.
Finally, chlorine bleach can be harmful to the environment. While the bleach you use to clean your toilet won’t have a massive impact (there’s simply not enough of it), the bigger issue is its production. And, of course, the only thing we can do about this is to stop buying it.
Can Non-Chlorine Bleach Do the Same Jobs?
The bottom line is that non-chlorine bleach can do any job standard bleach can.
You could use either hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach to clean your toilet, bathroom, or kitchen, or anything else that you might use chlorine bleach for.
Sure, you might need to alter your cleaning processes slightly, but it won’t be a massive adjustment.
Oxygen bleach needs mixing with water to activate it, and hydrogen peroxide might need diluting for certain jobs. But once you’ve got the hang of using them, it won’t be much more work.
Where to Buy Non-Chlorine Bleach in the UK
So, where can you buy non-chlorine bleach in the UK?
You can buy oxygen bleach in the form of laundry whitener in pretty much any supermarket. Products like Vanish Oxi Action are non-chlorine bleach, and there are loads of options in the household cleaning aisles.
You might also be able to find oxygen bleach in a local zero-waste shop, although it likely won’t be sold loose.
Companies like Ecover and Bio-D sell sodium percarbonate in cardboard boxes, meaning you don’t need to worry about the extra plastic either.
Finally, you’ll be able to find both products online. Amazon has plenty of options, and various sustainable living websites will sell them too (such as Toilet Fizzies).
Non-chlorine bleach is an easy product to find and to work with. You’ll be able to get sodium percarbonate in many different shops. However, if you’re going down the eco-friendly route, make sure you choose a brand that use plastic-free packaging.
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.