Bleach is a common cleaning chemical that’s found in almost every household. Used to clean toilets and sinks, sterilize surfaces and floors and even remove stains from clothes, it’s a powerful and multi-purpose disinfectant.
But is bleach vegan? As you’ll know, veganism extends further than the food we eat. It’s also about doing what we can reasonably do to avoid harm to animals and their habitats.
Is bleach vegan?
Bleach is not vegan because it releases toxic chemicals into the water which can seriously damage the environment and our ecosystems. Most household bleaches are also tested on animals which is against the vegan philosophy.
The main problem chemical in bleach is chlorine. That’s what does the most damage to the environment, and also to humans and animals if you happen to get it on your skin, in your eyes or breathe too much of the fumes in.
Scientists have come up with non-chlorine bleaches which serve the same purposes in disinfecting and whitening, but don’t contain the same harsh chemicals. Some of these bleaches contain hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate, or sodium perborate as the active ingredients and others contain more natural plant-based ingredients like lemon juice and coconut.
Avoiding animal testing
As a vegan, you’ll probably want to look for cruelty-free products that haven’t been tested on animals wherever possible. You’ll be pleased to know that there are several brands of non-chlorine bleach that haven’t been tested on animals.
Vegan-friendly bleach alternatives
Rather than a one size fits all product, with vegan bleach alternatives you may need to get used to the idea of having different products for different purposes. For example, using something different to disinfect your toilet bowl to what you would use to whiten your clothes. This is because the different chemicals used in place of chlorine are best suited to different tasks.
As this blog has a readership both in the US and the UK, I have listed the best vegan bleach alternatives from each country.
For cleaning toilets (in the US)
Best buy: Better Life Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Better Life toilet cleaner is made of plant-derived ingredients like coconut, corn and citrus. It has no bleach, no chlorine, no petroleum solvents and no synthetic fragrances making it safe for septic tanks. This cleaner is made in the USA and cruelty-free.
For cleaning toilets (in the UK)
Best buy: Ecover Toilet Cleaner
Ecover toilet gel used plant-based and mineral ingredients to tackle toilet stains. It’s cruelty-free, made in sustainably built and clean-running factories and the bottle is made from recycled plastic.
For sanitizing surfaces (in the US)
This cruelty-free multi-surface spray cleans, refreshes and removes odours. You can use it on countertops, floors, tiles and walls. It’s made from plant-derived ingredients with no parabens, formaldehyde or solvents and it is not tested on animals. Bottles are made with at least 25% recycled plastic.
For sanitizing surfaces (in the UK)
Best buy: Astonish Antibacterial Surface Cleanser
Astonish surface spray kills 99.9% of bacteria without bleach. It leaves no taint and no odour, making it perfect for food preparation areas. This product is certified vegan friendly.
For laundry (in the US)
Best buy: Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach
Seventh Generation bleach lifts stains from clothing, leaving whites at their brightest without chlorine. It contains no dyes, phosphates, fragrances or artificial brighteners and is biodegradable and septic safe. It contains no animal ingredients and is not tested on animals.
For laundry (in the UK)
Best buy: Ecozone Pure Oxygen Tablets
Ecozone stain remover tablets are available for both whites and coloured clothing. Free from chlorine bleach and optical brighteners, they use gentle plant-based and mineral ingredients and are vegan and cruelty-free.
So, as you can see, there are many bleach alternatives that do a great job of cleaning, whitening and disinfecting without the need for chlorine bleach and other harsh chemicals that harm the environment. Switching from household bleach to an environmentally friendly alternative is one small way in which vegans can do their bit to help the planet and its wildlife.