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How Much Bleach to Use to Disinfect?

Stephanie Dube Dwilson

Bleach kills many microorganisms that can cause disease. When using bleach as a disinfectant, it is important to dilute the bleach solution appropriately. A solution that is too weak will not effectively kill microorganisms, but a solution that is too strong might damage the surface you are disinfecting.

Use bleach to disinfect a variety of surfaces.

Before disinfecting materials with bleach, wash the surface with soap and water to remove surface dirt. Bleach is an effective disinfectant but used by itself, it is not an effective cleanser.

  1. Look for signs of mold on the item. Mold requires a higher concentration of bleach to kill than other microorganisms, so if there is any mold present on the surface you are disinfecting, you should use more bleach.

  2. Measure 1 cup of bleach into 5 gallons of water for most disinfecting jobs. If mold is present, use 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.

  3. Wipe the bleach solution onto the item you are disinfecting. If the item has a rough or textured surface, use a brush so that the bleach solution gets into all of the crevices.

  4. Allow the item to air-dry.

  5. Warning

    Do not mix bleach with ammonia or other cleansers.