What bleach means to me! 64



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The evidence is everywhere. I just need to pull out a favourite top or pair of jeans and there will be the tell tale signs. They are on bathroom curtains and towels. They may come in a variety of patterns – a spatter spray being the most common or a fine fretwork of filigree lace. I even have a really evolved pattern on the bottom of a really nice sundress. If it was a blood spray from a murder scene, a forensic specialist would have a field day reading the psychology of the perpetrator’s intent. How does it happen, you might ask. Well, let me explain.

Bleach: I mean the nasty smelling chemical evil loaded with toxins including chlorine, bought to you on a supermarket shelf in a brightly-coloured plastic bottle and thus readily available to all. Bleach, yes, the bleach you swish around your loo, the one that does remove mould from your shower and yes – the one that removes stains from whites. That bleach.

Now I know, like everything we eat, breathe, put on our bodies, wear, live in and on, drive and do is toxic. I have learned this information reluctantly, and most recently while working for a naturopath. Basically – we are riddled with toxins and they are making us ill. As well as making me ill, the knowledge of how toxic our world is also makes me feel ill. Stressed with the overwhelming evidence of how what we eat, wear, sniff etc. is bad for us, I have put most of it in the ‘too hard basket’ and would rather just have one pill from the doctor to fix everything that is wrong for me.

Now, instead of throwing the baby out completely with that insidious, toxic bathwater, I have tried white vinegar and baking soda to clean. And, yes it does clean. After a lot of scrubbing and leaving your bathroom tiles covered with a fine residue of white powder which makes it look like a cocaine fiend or a talcum powder aficionado has had a manic binge and left the evidence there for you to find.

So I resort to bleach. The only trouble is that I do it in a cleaning frenzy when the urge strikes. Often I am wearing my best clothes, and thinking that I am really only going to get the bleach on the shower wall. But something peculiar happens. Unseen by the naked eye, this seems to be the time for a subversive spatter spray pattern to occur. One that adheres immediately to any fabric in the vicinity. If the fabric is dark, of course the tell tale white spots will be there forever. No disguising with a colour matched texta will do the trick. Alas, I have tried and failed.

So, the shower is clean. Not a speck of mould remains. I think I have got away with it unscathed. But no, next time I am hanging my favourite blue shirt on the line – there it is. A finely etched spatter of white – right in the front where it is most visible. If I decide to wear it anyway, people look at me with sympathy in their eyes. She’s a bleach addict they think, and she doesn’t even have the brains to hide the evidence.

So what is the answer? I have found it. I strip off till I am totally naked. I remove all fabric from the bathroom, even fabric that is metres away. It is not a pretty sight. A naked rump sunny side up scrubbing away with a bucket, bottle and brush. There is a manic gleam as I breathe the toxic fumes. “Die mould!”, I spit as I scrub with all my might.

Then I bring in the hose through the window and flush it all away into the poor unsuspecting drainage system. There it floats away with all the other neighbourhood toxins to flow into the sea and damage another marine species. Then I have a shower and wash myself in more chemicals, rub on chemicals in a lotion to keep my epidermis supple and then go and have a cup of green tea (Actually coffee, which also has toxins).

Yes, I am an environmental disaster. As we all are. I would like to be a warrior for the environment, but I am just too darned tired. I do my best. If I had money, yes I would buy organic produce, buy wild salmon and drive a green car. I would buy unbleached clothes and drink water from a filtered system. I would spend hundreds a month detoxifying my system and I would wear that earnest glow which emanates from those who put the environment first. How do they do it, and where do they find the energy? Also, how do they manage to do it on a low income? I would love to know.

My love of bleach has been a late addition to my life. In 1989, when in my 40s, I was having a second skirmish with being a teenager (read mid life crisis) the only ‘Bleach’ I cared about was the brilliant album by Nirvana, one of the best grunge bands of that era. Alas, Kurt Cobain is dead, and by his own hand. Of course he was not obsessed with cleaning the shower. In fact, this information it totally unrelated to this blog, I just thought I would put it in anyway – to inform and entertain.


What is your chemical vice? Do you have one thing that you like but you know is terrible? Tell us below.

Karen Jones

Born in New Zealand, Karen now happily lives in the mid-north coast of New South Wales. She retired early due to ill health and now focuses on her love of walking, writing, reading and spending time with her grandchildren. With a degree in writing, Karen became a blogger and book reviewer for Starts at 60, which has enabled her passions to become enjoyable pastimes. Her recipe for bliss is a well made flat white, a friendly cat and a sea view.

  1. You are just like me. Can’t live without my Domestos, and can see the evidence on my clothes

    2 REPLY
    • Hi Lynda do u use it in your wash to brighten clothes or do u mean it destroys them when u get splashed when cleaning. Love to know.

    • Hi Christina, No, I have home clothes only, as everything In wear around the house gets splashed and wrecked from bleach. Have made the mistake of wearing going out clothes to do a quick bleach fix and always, always, end up spoiling them.

  2. Bleach isn’t so dreadful. Sodium hyperchlorite breaks down and causes no problems except to our clothing.

  3. I try my best to do what is right for the environment, I think we all need to, but sometimes you just have to do what you gotta do – and that involves a full on assault with bleach in the bathroom. I too have ruined many an item of clothing, but keep a few old favourites to slip into now before the battle begins. So – clothes become a little more blotchy, but bathroom sparkles. It’s just a tiny bit of bleach, compared to the tonnes of toxins that go into our waterways from other sources. Right?

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