Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cleaning With Bleach

Bleach is an effective cleanser to sanitize non-porous surfaces. In addition, it will prevent the spread of diseases by killing any organic material it comes into contact with. According to the Department of Health, bleach works by changing the protein in microorganisms which kills them; that is why this chemical is a fast and effective cleaner for bacteria, fungus, and viruses. However, while it is great at sanitizing, it can be a dangerous chemical to work with.

Making a mistake with bleach can be very dangerous to one's health. The most important rule when dealing with this solution is to never mix it with other household cleaners that contain ammonia. If bleach and ammonia are mixed, they create a toxic gas that you should never breathe in. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends wearing gloves and eye protection when handling this chemical because it can burn the skin. You should always dilute it before using it, but a common mistake is preparing diluted bleach to use at a later date. This isn't a good idea because, after 24 hours, diluted bleach becomes less effective at killing bacteria.

How to properly clean with bleach

When using bleach to clean household surfaces, it should be well-diluted and never used on a porous surface. Depending on the surface you plan to sanitize, there is a different ratio to follow. However, ensure to always use regular household bleach, as is 5% to 9% of concentrated sodium hypochlorite. Also, the first step, no matter what surface you're sanitizing, is to wash it with soap and water and rinse it with clean water.

To sanitize a surface that comes into contact with food, the mix should be a ratio of 1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 gallon of clean water (via CDC). For example, a food surface would be dishware and kitchen countertops. On the other hand, wood cutting boards are porous and should not be sanitized with bleach. To sterilize household surfaces like floors, counters, sinks, and plastic toys, the ratio should be 1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water. After wiping down these surfaces with the solution, you should leave them for 10 minutes to sanitize properly and then air dry.