Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Concerned About Clorox?

I know that you advise avoiding swimming pools treated with chlorine because it has been linked to health problems. What about chlorine bleach such as Clorox for home use?

Answer (Published 11/24/2006)

Many conventional household cleaning products are toxic and should be avoided. Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is a particular problem if mixed with ammonia, vinegar, or acid-based cleaners. The combination will result in the release of toxic gas. Short term exposure to this gas can cause mild asthmatic symptoms and, sometimes, more serious respiratory problems.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

However, I see no problem in using chlorine bleach (Clorox and similar products) for cleaning, especially when you have a serious concern about contamination. It is a more effective disinfectant than other commercially available cleaners or natural products that I know of.

If, as I do, you prefer to use less irritating cleaning products, you have a wide choice. Today, you can find everything from nontoxic bathroom cleaner to environmentally friendly dish soap. Or you can choose to make your own cleaning products from such household items as vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, tea tree oil, and baking soda. To learn how to do this, I recommend reading the book Clean & Green: The Complete Guide to Non-Toxic & Environmentally Safe Housekeeping, by Annie Berthold-Bond, published in paperback by Ceres Press. For a short primer on using common household products for cleaning, see the section on Natural Household Cleaning Products.

Some natural cleaning products I've tried have been great; others haven't worked as well as conventional products. I still haven't found a fragrance-free natural dishwasher detergent that works satisfactorily in my automatic dishwasher. I plan to introduce a line of natural cleaning products endorsed by Weil Lifestyle. My first criterion: they have to work.

A final word: be sure to store all household cleaners - conventional environmentally friendly or those you've made yourself - out of the reach of children and pets. Although the natural and homemade products are usually supposed to be nontoxic, store them as carefully as you would conventional cleaners.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here