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Make Your Own Disinfectant Solution with Household Bleach - and Use it Safely

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Updated July 12, 2009

Household chlorine bleach is a powerful disinfectant that is inexpensive, easy to obtain, and strong enough to kill the germs that cause problems for people with cystic fibrosis. Bleach is also very caustic and emits potentially lethal fumes, so it should never be used full-strength. When using bleach as a disinfectant, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend using a 1:10 solution. Follow these steps to make a 1:10 bleach solution safely.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Gather Supplies

    • Quart-sized or larger plastic spray bottle, or glass jar with a lid
    • Measuring Cup
    • Damp cloth
    • Household bleach
    • Water

  2. Go Outside or to a Well Ventilated Room

    Full strength bleach emits toxic fumes and should never be used in small or enclosed spaces. Ideally, you should mix your solution outside. If that is not an option, go to a large well ventilated room and open the windows.

  3. Measure Ingredients

    To make a 1:10 solution, you need 1 part bleach for every 9 parts water. A good amount to start with is:

    • ¼ cup bleach
    • 2 ¼ cup water

    Carefully pour the bleach into the spray bottle or jar first, then add the water. Mixing the solution in this order will prevent the bleach from splashing up on you. If you do get any bleach on your skin, wipe it off immediately with the damp cloth.

    If you need to make a larger amount of disinfectant solution, increase the amounts of bleach and water accordingly, using the same proportions as above (½ cup bleach with 4 ½ cups water, ¾ cup bleach with 6 ¾ cup water, etc).

  4. Mix the Solution

    Place the lid on the container and gently invert the container back and forth a few times to mix. Your solution is now ready to use. Never add any other ingredients to you bleach solution because many substances – including vinegar – create harmful fumes when mixed with chlorine bleach.

  5. Discard Unused Solution

    Chlorine bleach solution begins to lose its disinfectant power quickly when exposed to heat, sunlight, and evaporation. In order to be sure your solution is still strong enough to kill germs, you should mix a fresh batch each day and discard whatever amount you don’t use at the end of the day.

    Source:

    E. Rhinehart, M. Friedman, and M. McGoldrick. Infection Control in Home Care and Hospice. 2006. Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.11 July 2009

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