Finding the right cleaning products for your home can be difficult. It’s hard to know which products are safe and which require more caution. Bleach is one of the more well known and controversial disinfecting products, too much can be dangerous and oftentimes people use it incorrectly. But when bleach is used correctly, it can be a great asset for your home.
Contrary to what many people believe, bleach is not a good cleaning product, however it is great for disinfecting. Bleach will quickly lose effectiveness when it comes into contact with dirt, therefore an area has to be FIRST washed with soap and water before using bleach to disinfect. Once the area is dry, diluted bleach can be sprayed on the area. The ratio of bleach to water should be approximately 1 ½ cups of bleach per gallon of water. The diluted bleach should sit for about 10 minutes to allow enough time for the bleach to work it’s magic, once the bleach has sat the area can be wiped off with a damp cloth.
As said before bleach can be harmful if used incorrectly, to avoid any potential dangers make sure to never mix bleach with other substances, especially ammonia or toilet bowl cleaners. The interactions between the chemicals in bleach and ammonia cause the release of chlorine gas which has the potential to be fatal. If even the faintest smell of chlorine is present, get out of the area and to fresh air immediately. Another common and unfortunate mistake made when using bleach is not properly ventilating the area. When cleaning in small areas like bathrooms, leave any doors and windows open to get enough fresh air. If you're using bleach in a smaller room, leave when the bleach is sitting for 10 minutes to avoid inhaling too much harsh chemical.
When using bleach it’s very important to avoid getting the substance on your skin. When disinfecting with bleach be sure to wear gloves and close toed, non-porous shoes to avoid getting any on your skin. Be sure to protect your eyes as well, whenever you are cleaning but especially when using harsh chemicals, do not touch your eyes, if you want to be really safe, wear goggles.
Bleach can be used on clothing however certain dyes will fade in the presence of bleach. It’s best to keep bleach limited to white clothing and if you need to use it on another color take a q-tip and test a small spot on the inside of the item to see if the color fades.
Another thing that bleach should never be used for is cleaning produce. For many people fresh produce is a staple of their diets and while you are supposed to clean produce prior to consumption, only use water, never use any chemicals not made for consumption, especially bleach. Bleach may not be good for produce but it is actually very good for flowers. A solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water can be used to keep flowers fresher for longer.
In sum, as long as you are taking the proper precautions, then using bleach in your home can be both safe and effective!