Don’t make this mistake when cleaning with bleach

Bleach is one of the most popular household cleaning products. It is ideal for bleaching, sanitizing and disinfecting, and can be used throughout the home for all kinds of tasks. But, are you using it correctly? There is actually a very common mistake most people make when it comes to cleaning with bleach.

This mistake is as common as using fabric softener on your towels – this big laundry mistake could ruin your towels. And even if you use bleach to clean the best washing machines or grouting in your bathroom, this habit will make this cleaner ineffective. Read on to find out if you are guilty of this error.

What is bleach?

Bleach is produced from a combination of chemicals and contains sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient. It is mainly used for the removal of stains in laundry, and it does so through an oxidation process. It will essentially break down the molecules in the stain to help it break away from the fabric.

Disinfection and sanitation is also possible thanks to the active ingredient of sodium hypochlorite, which is effective in killing bacteria, fungi and viruses. Bleach is often used to keep whites white when it comes to laundry too – it will strip the color of the dyed material, leaving a brighter result. This is by no means the limitation on bleach, it can be used around the home for countless tasks, from scrubbing grouting to moving mildew. If you often dilute bleach for cleaning, however, you should avoid one method.

Someone wearing gloves removing the lid from a bottle of bleach

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hot water and bleach

If you dilute your bleach with hot water, you make it unnecessary. It might sound like a good idea – hot water is better for cleaning than cold water, right? However, hot water will actually break down the sodium hypochlorite ingredient, meaning the bleach won’t disinfect or clean as well as it could. So, you should stick to using cold or lukewarm water for best results.

The CDC recommends diluting one cup of bleach in five gallons of water if cleaning household surfaces, such as sinks and floors. If you are removing mold, it suggests diluting a cup of bleach in a gallon of cold water. If you need to stock up on bleach, we recommend Clorox ($ 17.29, Amazon).

Other tips for cleaning with bleach

  • When diluting, add bleach second to water, so it mixes better. Otherwise, it will rest at the base and will not combine.
  • Always wear protective gloves, goggles and a maskeven when using a small amount. Bleach can irritate your skin as well as your respiratory tract. Don’t wear precious clothes in case they get splashed.
  • Open windows and doors when using bleach to allow better ventilation. Do not breathe the fumes as this can cause shortness of breath and, in extreme cases, death.
  • Never mix bleach with ammonia because it will give off poisonous chloramine gas.


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