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How to Clean Using Household Bleach

Updated on September 7, 2014

Alternative Home Uses for Bleach

Until recently, I only used bleach to help whiten my white laundry. I soon began to wonder if bleach, as inexpensive and always on hand as it is, could have additional uses around the house. After doing some homework, I was surprised to find out how versatile bleach actually is, and I would like to share some of the best tips and uses that I have found.

Creative Commons photo courtesy Wikipedia/Mk2010

*Warning*

++Use bleach in a well-ventilated area. Some people are highly sensitive to the fumes of bleach. Always dilute bleach before using.

++Never mix bleach with any other cleaning product. Powerful, toxic fumes can result from the combination of bleach and ammonia, lye, toilet bowl cleaner and other products.

Clean Off Mold and Mildew

Bleach and ammonia are both useful for removing mold and mildew both inside and outside your home. However, please remember, the two should NEVER be used together. Bleach is especially suited for the following chores:

1) Wash mildew out of washable fabrics. Wet the mildewed area and rub in some powdered detergent. Then wash the garment in the hottest water set-ting permitted by the clothing manufacturer using 1/2 cup chlorine bleach. If the garment can't be washed in hot water and bleach, soak it in a solution of 1/4 cup oxygen bleach (labeled "all fabric" or "perborate") in 1 gallon warm water for 30 minutes before washing.

2) Remove mold and mildew from the grout between your bathroom tiles. Mix equal parts of chlorine bleach and water in a spray bottle, and spray it over grout. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse off. You can also do this just to make your grout look whiter.

3) Get mold and mildew off your shower curtains. Wash them -- along with a couple of bath towels (to prevent the plastic curtains from crinkling) -- in warm water with 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and 1/4 cup laundry detergent. Let the washer run for a couple of minutes before loading. Put the shower curtain and towels in the dryer on the lowest temperature setting for 10 minutes, then immediately hang-dry.

3) Rid your rubber shower mat of mildew. Soak in a solution of 1/8 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gallon water for 3-4 hours. Rinse well.

4) Get mildew and other stains off unpainted cement, patio stones, or stucco. Mix a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach in 2 gallons water. Scrub vigorously with a stiff or wire brush and rinse. If any stains remain, scrub again using 1/2 cup washing soda (this is sodium carbonate, not baking soda) dissolved in 2 gallons warm water.

5) Remove mildew from painted surfaces and siding. Make a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach in 2 cups water and apply with a brush to mildewed areas. Let the solution set for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat as necessary.

Bleach Use Clip

More Bleach Uses

+++ Sterilize secondhand items

Do you remember Mom saying, "Put that down. You don't know where it's been"?, I sure do. She had a point -- especially when it comes to toys or kitchen utensils picked up at thrift shops and yard sales. Just to be on the safe side, take your used, waterproof items and soak them for 5-10 minutes in a solution containing 3/4 cup bleach, a few drops of antibacterial dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon warm water. Rinse well, then air-dry, preferably in sunlight.

+++ Clean butcher block cutting boards and countertops

Don't even think about using furniture polish or any other household cleaner to clean a butcher block cutting board or countertop. Rather, scrub the surface with a brush dipped in a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach diluted in 2 quarts (2 liters) water. Scrub in small circles, and be careful not to saturate the wood. Wipe with a slightly damp paper towel, then immediately buff dry with a clean cloth.

+++ Brighten up glass dishware

Put the sparkle back in your glasses and dishes by adding a teaspoon of bleach to your soapy dishwater as you're washing your glassware. Be sure to rinse well, and dry with a soft towel.

+++ Shine white porcelain

Want to get your white porcelain sink, candleholder, or pottery looking as good as new? In a well-ventilated area on a work surface protected by heavy plastic, place several paper towels over the item (or across the bottom of the sink) and carefully saturate them with undiluted bleach. Let soak for 15 minutes to a half hour, then rinse and wipe dry with a clean towel. Note: Do not try this with antiques; you can diminish their value or cause damage. And never use bleach on colored porcelain, because the color will fade.

+++ Make a household disinfectant spray

Looking for a good, all-purpose disinfectant to use around the house? Mix 1 tablespoon bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) hot water. Then fill a clean, empty spray bottle and use it on a paper towel to clean countertops, tablecloths, lawn furniture -- basically, wherever it's needed. Just be sure not to use it in the presence of ammonia or other household cleaners.

Still More Bleach Uses

+++ Disinfect trash cans

Even the best housekeepers must confront a gunked-up kitchen garbage pail every now and then. On such occasions, take the pail outside, and flush out any loose debris with a garden hose. Then add 1/2 to 1 cup bleach and several drops of dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon warm water. Use a toilet brush or long-handled scrub brush to splash and scour the solution on the bottom and sides of the container. Empty, then rinse with the hose, empty it again, and let air-dry.

+++ Increase cut flowers' longevity

Freshly cut flowers will stay fresh longer if you add 1/4 teaspoon bleach per quart of vase water. Another popular recipe calls for 3 drops bleach and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 quart water. This will also keep the water from getting cloudy and inhibit the growth of bacteria.

+++ Kill weeds in walkways

Do weeds seem to thrive in the cracks and crevices of your walkways? Try pouring a bit of undiluted bleach over them. After a day or two, you can simply pull them out, and the bleach will keep them from coming back. Just be careful not to get bleach on the grass or plantings bordering the walkway.

+++ Get rid of moss and algae

To remove slippery and unsightly moss and algae on your brick, concrete, or stone walkways, scrub them with a solution of 3/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon water. Be careful not to get bleach on your grass or ornamental plants.

+++ Sanitize garden tools

You cut that diseased stalk off your rosebush with your branch clipper. Unless you want to spread the disease the next time you use the tool, sterilize it by washing it with 1/2 cup bleach in 1 quart water. Let the tool air-dry in the sun, then rub on a few drops of oil to prevent rust.

French scientist Louis Pasteur, pioneered the use of sodium hypochlorite as a disinfectant, the active ingredient in bleach.

Do you have any additional info for using bleach at home? Have you tried any of these tips? I would like to hear any input that you may have. Thanks for visiting!

Did I Miss Anything?

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    • Anahid LM profile image

      Anahid LM 5 years ago

      Great use for clorex yes your list is god i also use it for cleaning it is cheap. Thank you so much for visiting my lenses and liking them. I wish a Happy New year too. All the best. Anna

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      You did'nt miss much!...I work at a Pediatric medical facility and some of our residents are given a "bleach bath" per orders of our Medical Director. I do not know the solution but apparently it works and does not harm the resident.

      Excellent tips for using a liquid that hs been used in my household for over 50 years!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Well, I'd say that you have tried about everything with bleach! I like your cautions for safe use. Is there such a thing as unsightly moss? I'm a moss lover!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Excellent tips. I love to use bleach for cleaning and disinfecting, and always keep several jugs on hand. The scented ones, like lavender and linen, are really nice too.

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