bleach and laundry

A cleaning solution stands the test of time

Using bleach to clean up some of the toughest rooms in the home is a method that has withstood the test of time and has been passed down from generation to generation.

I'd recognize that smell anywhere

My mom laughs when she tells me that anytime she thinks of my grandmother holding her as a child, she thinks of the smell of bleach. "I can still smell it," she says. "She used it to clean everything." Fast-forward to now, and she still uses it to clean everything. So does my mom. So do I. In truth, I don't think there's a shower or bathtub that we can't clean with a little bleach and some elbow grease. My grandma told me recently that she has to wash all of her delicates with a cap of bleach to get them "oh-so-fresh." My mom uses bleach to clean out the drains by simply pouring about bleach down the drain and flushing it with hot water. If I've learned anything from these women, it's that bleach can clean almost anything in any room of the house.

Bathroom cleaning tips

Bleach can be used to clean your bathroom from top to bottom. In addition to cleaning the drain, you can clean the mildew that's building up on your vinyl or synthetic shower curtain liner by simply washing it in the washing machine with a little laundry detergent and bleach. Speaking of showers, you can use bleach to wipe down bathtubs, shower doors, tiles and floors to kill mold, remove mildew and make the dingy look on your tiles disappear.

Baby items

This may come as a shock to you — it did for me — but a little bleach can be used to sanitize baby bottles, nipples, dishes and high chairs. For best results, be sure to soak washed items for two minutes in a solution of diluted bleach. Pour the solution through nipples, and then drain and dry. The high chair may need more frequent cleanings when you begin to potty train, and so will another item new to the household — the training potty. You can spray this with a similar bleach solution or wipe it down with a little bleach and water to disinfect it and make sure it's safe and ready for the next visit.

Overlooked surfaces

My mother and grandmother both taught me that it's important to give a little attention to some of the most overlooked surfaces in the house from time to time. Wiping down faucets, remote controls, light switches, cabinet handles, refrigerator and microwave handles, and door knobs with bleach wipes is a great way to help keep a healthier home. This also goes for patio furniture and even broom and mop handles, which, if you think about it, are probably some of the dirtiest surfaces in your home.

Of course, before you try cleaning anything with bleach, it's helpful to test a small surface to make sure you don't run into any adverse reactions. Also, proper ventilation is a must!

More laundry tips from moms

Real-life laundry: Surprise finds with every wash and dry
Real-life laundry: Keeping things together
Real-life laundry: Conquering drool

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