Monday, March 4, 2013

My Reccomendation


        My recommendation is that consumers looking for affective ways to clean their home should use household vinegar, instead of household bleach. Even though vinegar is not quite as effective as bleach as a disinfectant, it is a much safer product to use in the household environment. Since vinegar is a non-toxic product it is less harmful to the environment and the humans who live in it. The only harmful effect to the environment associated with the use of vinegar is that it has the potential to kill some plant species. However, bleach is known for many more environmental impacts, such as the production of dioxins and VOC’s, which is harmful to aquatic life as well as human health. The killing off of much marine life could affect the food chain which may also impact humans in the long run.
         Furthermore, vinegar has less of an impact on the environment and does not pose that great of a risk when being handled  Therefore, it does not cause short term or long term damage to human health (unless exposed to large concentrations.)
        Also, vinegar may not be as powerful as bleach for disinfectant, but it gets the job done, while remaining safe to the environment. Vinegar effectively kills of pathogens and reduces the amount of microbes on a surface being cleaned. To be specific, it kills 90% of bacteria and 80-83% of viruses, molds, and mildews.

       In conclusion, I would recommend that consumers use household vinegar to clean their homes because it is a good disinfectant and more importantly it is not as harmful to humans or the environment. Not to mention, it is effective compared to opposing expensive cleaning products.


Risk and Benefits of Both Products

Risk-Benefit Analysis


  • Too much exposure to acetic acid found in vinegar can be harmful to the body.
  • Can be harmful to plant life because it reduces the ability to absorb vital nutrients, thus affecting the growth of the plant.
  • According to MSDS it can cause irritation if it comes in contact with skin, or if it is ingested or inhaled.
  • Can be dangerous when mixed with other cleaning products (especially bleach).
  • Not as effective as a disinfectant as other commercial cleaning products (kills 90% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of germs as opposed to 99.9% of all germs and bacteria on many other products).
  • No negative impacts on  the environment and no pollutants.
  • Called a “natural cleaner”.
  • Can Can be handled easily.
  • Presents very little harm to humans
  • Very effective for reducing microbes
  • Good product for fighting off pathogens
  • Cost effective


  • Household bleach can have a very harmful affect on humans.
  • Inhaling or ingesting bleach can have serious toxic effects.
  • Reacts with chemicals in the environment and forms dioxins & VOC, which are known to cause cancer and harm animals/aquatic.
  • Mixing bleach with other chemical cleaners can be very dangerous.
  • Extremely effective germ fighter, most bleach products kill 99% of germs .
  • Reduces microbes very well
  • It is able to defend your household from pathogens effectively
  • May not be enough concentration in common household bleach to be linked to environmental dioxins.

How Effective are the Both Products?

As a Disinfectant
         Chlorine bleach is an extremely effective germ killer. Sodium hypochlorite is proven to kill bacteria, fungi, viruses, molds and mildew. In fact, it is proven to kill 99.9% of all germs and bacteria. It is approved by the Enviromental Protection Agency for use in households, food processing plants, hospitals and animal facilities, along with many other facilities. 

          Vinegar is not as effective as bleach and does not kill as many germs. However, vinegar does kill some things but is only 90% of bacteria 82% of molds and 80% of germs. But on the flip side it is much more cost effective.

Microbial Reductions
          Since household bleach is a better disinfectant,  it does a great job reducing microbes. Bleach effectively breaks apart the microbes making it easy to remove from surfaces. This explains why household bleach works very well for removing molds and mildews.

          Vinegar also works well for removing microbes. Vinegar was determined as one of the most effective house hold cleaners with efficiency on microbial reduction (behind commercial cleaning agents). Vinegar reduces approximately 98% of microbes.

         Sodium hypochlorite found in household bleach is very strong against pathogens. It is able to help defend you household from harmful pathogens that can make you sick. When bleach reacts with other microbial cells it destroys pathogens.

             Vinegar is also good at fighting pathogens, but not as good as bleach. Studies have shown that vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide can effectively kill E.coli.

Effects on Human Health

        Household bleach has a pH level that is almost neutral, but can have a great affect on humans due to its toxicity. Inhalation can cause many problems with humans respiratory. Since household bleach is corrosive it can cause serious irritation or damage to the skin and eyes. Consequently, if ingested bleach can cause very serious toxic effects, such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

         Furthermore, since vinegar has an extremely high pH level, too much exposure to it can have a harmful effect on your body. The inhalation of vinegar can cause irritation of the nose, throat, eyes and chest. If large amounts are ingested, it could cause stomach/digestive problems and burning of the mouth and throat. Since the concentration of acetic acid is much lower in household vinegar, the toxicity is much less severe.

               When exposed to certain chemicals in the environment  bleach can react to produce dioxins. These dioxins can have a number of damaging effects on humans, including heart disease and immune deficiency. Bleach can also react with chemicals in the environment and breakdown into persistent pollutants called volatile organic compounds. These compounds are a major cause of cancer. 

           Vinegar does not have many negative impacts on the environment. There are no pollutants made by vinegar.

Chemical Interactions:
           House hold bleach is commonly used around or with other household cleaners. however, mixing many of these chemicals can be extremely dangerous. For example, contact with ammonia  can be explosive and toxic (liquid hydrazine can be formed). Furthermore, household bleach should never be mixed with acidic toilet cleaner, as deadly fumes are given off that can be extremely harmful to humans.

           Vinegar is an effective cleaner, however, many people combine it with other cleaners to increase its effectiveness. This can be dangerous because vinegar reacts with other chemicals with harmful results. For example, vinegar reacts with cleaning products with chlorine, such as bleach, which gives off a toxic substances into the air.

           According to MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) for household bleach, it can be very harmful, especially when in contact with skin. Asthma  emphysema, bronchitis and lung disease are all conditions that can be caused by large amounts. Protective gloves and glasses are highly recommended when using bleach.

           As for vinegar, the MSDS states that it can cause uncomfortable irritation to the body, but is easily washed off. Contact with eyes can also cause irritation. If ingested it could cause digestion problems and burning in the mouth or throat. Household vinegar can be handled easily without the need of protection.

Environmental Effects of Both Products

Environmental Impacts
         Household bleach can posses some environmental impacts. When bleach is not properly disposed of it can have a harmful impact on the environment  Chlorine bleach, which is used in most cleaning products can have a dramatic impact on our environmental. When bleach is improperly disposed of and released into the water systems/bodies, it can pose a significant risk to our environment  Chlorine bleach is a harmful chemical that can react with other natural elements and minerals to form dangerous toxins. These toxins include, dioxins, furams and volatile organic materials (VOC), which in can remain in water or soil for many years. Dioxins are responsible for the impact on wildlife, especially aquatic life, such as fish (mostly freshwater). The killing of these species, due to dioxins could lead to many changes in the food chain, which could have an eventual effect on humans. However, most environmental dioxins are linked to industrial processes rather than household cleaners, which have very little data to connect them to environmental dioxins.

               As for vinegar, it has been used as a reliable household cleaning product throughout history. Although vinegar is almost natural to an extent, it can still be harmful to all plant life. Vinegar can affect the plants growth because it hinders its ability to absorb waters and nutrients. However, vinegar does not produce any harmful pollutants in its natural form. To conclude, chlorine bleach is a chemical that can be harmful at large amounts, but household products may not create much of an environmental impact.


Active Ingredients in Household Bleach and Vinegar

       Bleach is often used as a chemical household cleaner and can be very effective. The active ingredient in Bleach is an ionic compound called sodium hypochlorite (NaClO). Sodium hypochlorite composes roughly 6% of the mixture that makes up bleach.

      Vinegar which is often used in cooking can also be used as a household cleaning product. Vinegar’s active ingredient is a molecular compound called acetic acid (CHCOOH). Acetic acid exists with a concentration of approximately 5.2% of what makes up vinegar.