Many good uses for oxygen bleach in your home
By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Feature Article - posted Thu., Jul. 21, 2011
From time to time, this column has suggested using oxygen bleach to clean a surface in or outside of your house. If you are a consistent visitor to this space, you will remember the generic product name, and you may even remember some of its uses.
You may even have made the connection to the TV infomercials by that noisy pitchman. That’s probably where you first heard about oxygen bleach. However, I discovered the multi-use product in the course of doing research for my columns. The term kept popping up at different times and in different places, as I looked for the best way to take care of some home problem, like mold or mildew, or to clean a troublesome stain on clothing or building materials.
Recently I made an assault on three areas around my home that needed cleaning – the ceramic tile in my kitchen, the asphalt tile in the bathroom and the aging wood on my deck.
If you have ceramic tile in your home, oxygen bleach is a perfect solution for cleaning the grout and brightening up the color. Over time, oil and grease from cooking and debris tracked across the floor will darken and even stain the grout. If it has become stained from wine, juice, coffee or a variety of other food items, the traces of the stain might still be there.
I used a solution of one-half-cup powdered bleach mixed with a gallon of water to bring the grout on my kitchen floor back to life. I wet the grout and allowed the solution to remain in place for 15 minutes. The solution attacked the debris of the stain. I only had to remove the debris with a stiff bristle brush, sop it up with a cloth, and rinse with clean water.
To work on my pressure-treated wood deck I mixed three-quarters of a cup of powdered bleach per each gallon of water. I built the deck about 15 years ago, and it is still sturdy. But it has become badly stained with algae, dirt and pollution. After letting the bleach work on the stained wood for only 15 minutes, I worked it with a stiff bristle brush. The years of stain and grime came off quite easily. A shower with the hose washed it all down between the boards, and I didn’t have to worry about polluting anything below or the plants surrounding the deck.
In the bathroom, the vinyl tile I put down a few years ago had become coated with soap, wax and cleaners. I won’t even guess what else might have helped darken the textured tile we had hoped would “hide the dirt.” Using the same mixture I used on the ceramic tile, and allowing the same working time, I was most satisfied with the result.
We have become addicted to cleaners that we can pour or spray out of a bottle, so oxygen bleach, which comes in a powder form, may put some of us off. You would do well to force yourself into testing the powdered product.
If you need reasons to convince yourself to use oxygen bleach over, say, the chlorine alternative, here are a few of the positives you will experience.
The products I have used are non-toxic. This makes it safe for you, your family and your environment. It will not affect your plant life when using it outdoors. Oxygen bleach also does not emit the odors we have come to accept in a cleaning product. Just read the labels on some bathroom and kitchen cleaners, and you will understand why they warn you to “use in a well-ventilated space.” Oxygen bleach also is safe for almost every fabric and virtually all building materials. Just try to make those claims for chlorine bleach.
The “magical” ingredient in oxygen bleach is peroxyhydrated carbonate of soda. It also has some sodium carbonate in it. When you mix it with warm water, pure oxygen is released, some additional water and some soda ash is formed. There are no harmful byproducts from the mixture.
There are other potential uses in the home for oxygen bleach, and I will attack them all with the anticipation of positive results.
As always, read the instructions that come with the product you buy. Nothing comes without some warnings.