Stay Safe From The H1N1 Mexican Swine Flu: Use Bleach Everywhere

I caught a really nasty foot fungus when I lived in Hawaii. It was invisible, didn't cause any form of itching or rash, but for a year or two after I moved back to the mainland, my foot odour would knock a buzzard off a rotting trash heap. It got to the point where I was declining social invitations to people's homes because if I had to take my shoes off, I'd gas my hosts!

There is not a single foot odour control remedy I didn't try. I went through all types of shoes like crazy, throwing them away after a week's use. I was spending so much money on Nikes that I should have qualified as a distributor. And I still couldn't make any progress against the odour that kept getting worse and worse.

Finally, in desperation, I prepared a solution of 50% thin bleach and 50% warm soapy water. I had a big bottle of Vaseline Intensive Care lotion handy. I dipped one foot in the solution and rubbed a sponge all around it and between the toes with my hands covered by rubber gloves. As soon as I pulled my foot out of the solution, I rinsed it with lots of cool water and then covered the foot with the lotion to avoid any chapping or cracking. I repeated the process with the other foot. Then I prayed.

Well, my feet didn't crack, bleed or fall off. They were just fine. And from then on, so was the smell.

About once a year or so I start smelling the slightest hint of it returning, and I go dip my feet in the bleach solution again and I'm good for another year! I even stopped applying the lotion as my skin seems to be completely unaffected by the bleach. I just give them a good rinse and off I go!

Getting a fungus off your feet has nothing to do with H1N1, but it is only to illustrate that bleach is an amazing killer of darn near every microorganism you can think of. If it did such a great job on a stubborn Hawaiian foot fungus, you can just imagine what it does to the far more fragile H1N1 virus.

I have to be responsible and advise that you should not follow my example and let thin or thick bleach in concentrations as strong as 50/50 with water come anywhere near your skin. Especially your eyes! The mechanism of infection of the H1N1 virus doesn't call for an action that drastic. You simply don't need to do that, as it is way overkill. This represents a concentration of almost 3 parts per 100 of pure NaOCl (sodium hypochloride, or the chemical element that makes bleach sterilize and whiten all sorts of things). Leave that for the bleach aficionados like me. The recommended bathtub concentration of 1 part per 20,000 is more than effective enough. That corresponds to just a bit over a single capful of a one gallon bleach bottle in a standard sized bathtub that is full almost to overflowing.

Don't worry. There's likely more chlorine in a public pool than in your bathtub now!

Continued in:
Stay Safe From The H1N1 Mexican Swine Flu: Public Areas Are Highly Infectious

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Comments 9 comments

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

Hmmm, interesting ideas. I'm going to put some in my "stockpile of useful things". I stopped using chlorine bleach about 12 years ago when we moved to the country.

Being on a septic system which depends upon bacteria for the digestion of waste, it is not advisable to use bleach for cleaning or laundry.

Our climate is dry, so there's no mold or mildew problems. Vinegar, peroxide, rubbing alcohol and even vodka can be used for some tough cleaning problems.

We also use some granulated chlorine (the kind used for spa maintenance) to sanitize cement-lined duck ponds now and then-- but that doesn't drain into the septic tank.

I can see how chlorine bleach might be useful for extreme uses, and is probably something to have on hand. I know a few drops can be added to drinking water which might be contaminated. Not tasty, but effective.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Thanks Hal great ideas even though I am a nurse and have to deal with the issue firsthand. I also think the media is putting panic across the world, if everyone washed their hands, and disinfected the odds of catching the bug is low. :)

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Rochelle Frank: Yes, NaOCl will really do a number on the bacteria in a septic tank, so it would be adviseable to not drain any chlorine containing waste water into those systems. The water can be poured on loose soil or sand, or anywhere else that you don't care gets sterilized.

AEvans: Granted that there has been a significant amount of inordinate hype, but keep in mind that now that there is the first US fatality, the pressure is just going to keep building. If this turns out to be anything at all like 1918, then it will be more than justified. If it peters out to nothing, then it will have been a good reminder to practice good hygiene! :)

Research Analyst profile image

Research Analyst 7 years ago

Bleach is good for killing bacteria in the kitchen, bathroom and mopping floors too!

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Bleach rules! :)

dwilliamson profile image

dwilliamson 7 years ago from Kamloops, BC

AEvans, I totally agree with you about the media and like you said washing your hands and disinfecting everything is a good idea. Should keep the risk minimal. It is just common sense anyway.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Now that the WHO has raised it to level 5 out of 6, it seems that this is getting more serious much quicker than even I had expected. The next couple of weeks should tell the tale!

Elijah Campbell 6 years ago


I liked your article - but I had to wonder why you didn't visit a doctor about the foot fungus. Are there not treatments like Lamisil that are done in pill form that kill funguses form the inside out?

BTW - I'm a huge bleach fan too!

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

My foot fungus ate Lamisil and burped. I had that for years and nothing could as much as knock it down... but a quick bath in NaOCl and ZAP! It was gone forever! :)

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