Cleaning with Bleach: How to Avoid the Dangers and Use it Correctly

Cleaning with bleach is actually a misnomer.  Bleach disinfects a surface but does not clean it.

For example, if there is dirt on a counter, bleach will remove the germs but not the residue.  That is why bleach is just ONE ingredient in many cleaning products.

Bleach is a dangerous chemical and when used incorrectly can have serious effects.  So let us go through what cleaning products have bleach in them, what dangers bleach poses, and how to use it correctly.

What Cleaning Products Contain Bleach?

You will find bleach added to some all-purpose cleaners to allow them to both clean and disinfect surfaces.  Think of Clorox’s All-Purpose Spray (with Bleach Added),

Bleach shows up in many bathroom cleaners, such or Clorox’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner or Vim’s Cream Cleanser. This is to keep those white surfaces and porcelain staying white.

Diluted bleach on its own can be used in a number of scenarios.  For example, add it to your laundry to remove mildew or remove certain types of stains.

Dangers of Cleaning with Bleach

Bleach, as mentioned, is a hazardous chemical that poses many dangers in your home. Here are just some of those dangers:

  1. Bleach can be dangerous to your children.  The fumes that it emits after being on surfaces have been linked to higher instances of allergies and respiratory illnesses.
  2. When mixed with other chemicals, bleach can produce some highly dangerous gases.
  3. Bleach poisoning is very dangerous for your pets and can result in vomiting and even death.
  4. Bleach can cause damage to your skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs if used incorrectly.

With all those dangers, you want to be very sure you are cleaning with bleach correctly.  It is a matter of keeping your family and yourself safe!

Safely Cleaning with Bleach

Just because there are dangers associated with it does not mean that we should not use bleach altogether.  As mentioned above, it can be used to sanitize any area of your home.

Here are some tips on safely cleaning with bleach

Dilute It

Bleach should be diluted so that it is not nearly as strong. A good rule of thumb is to use one part of bleach for every 10 parts of water.

Mixing bleach with hot water can produce chlorine gas so use cool or cold water instead.  Bleach can be added directly to a washing machine since it will dilute with the water there.

Clean it First

As we mentioned before, bleach actually disinfects or sanitizes a surface, not cleans it.  So, clean your surface with soap and water first before using bleach.

Let the diluted bleach solution sit for about 5 minutes on your surface, rinse it off and let it air dry.

Do Not Mix it!

As we have mentioned before, do not mix bleach with ammonia, rubbing alcohol, or vinegar.  Basically, do not mix bleach with anything besides water!

Protect Yourself

Protect your skin when working with bleach by wearing gloves. It also never hurts to throw on a mask or protective eye gear, just to be extra cautious.