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Grapefruit Seed Extract as a Bleach Substitute

written by: Heidi Wiesenfelder•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 4/29/2009

Before you reach for the bleach, consider a natural bleach substitute for disinfection. One of the main uses for grapefruit seed extract is as a natural cleaner and disinfectant in the kitchen and throughout the home. Learn about its benefits and how to use it.

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    Using Grapefruit Seed Extract

    Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a natural product available for purchase at many health and natural food stores. Studies show that it has broad-spectrum activity, with reports that it is effective against about 800 types of bacteria and viruses as well as 100 fungal strains and some other parasitic organisms. It is effective at relatively low concentrations.

    It has been used throughout the world, particularly in South America, as a preservative, disinfectant, antifungal, antibiotic, and antiviral. It is used as a replacement for chlorine in treating sewage, in swimming pools, and for treating drinking water. It is preferred for its ability to kill harmful pathogens without upsetting the beneficial gut flora, and for its ability to kill pathogens unaffected by chlorine such as Giardia lamblia. One researcher reports that it is at least as effective an amebicide as any other compound and does not show any undesirable side effects.

    Increasingly, people in the US seeking natural options for health and home are seeking out grapefruit seed extract for its ability to kill harmful organisms in pets and people and in the home.

    To use GSE for cleaning and disinfecting kitchen counters, bathroom counters, and other household surfaces, add about 25 drops to a cup of water in a spray bottle. There is no need to rinse, the solution can simply be left to dry.

    When travelling or camping, use GSE to disinfect local water. Add about 10 drops per gallon of water and allow it to sit for several hours. It can be consumed even in therapeutic doses safely, so the low concentration used for water disinfection is safe as well. Use this solution to disinfect toothbrushes as well by soaking the brushes in the solution.

    Grapefruit seed extract can be irritating if applied directly to skin in undiluted form, and should be kept away from the eyes and from mucous membranes.

    For more ways to disinfect your kitchen naturally, check out this article.

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    Sources & Resources

    Parasite Menace, Weintraub & Russell Manuel

    The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care, C. J. Puotinen

    The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments, Tillotson & Abel

    Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living, Annie Berthold-Bond