How to Make Your Own Disinfectant Bleach Solution

In This Article

Household chlorine bleach is a powerful disinfectant that is inexpensive, easy to obtain, and strong enough to kill dangerous germs. Keeping a clean home is important for any family, but is especially important for people with autoimmune conditions or other health problems like cystic fibrosis.

Before you start using bleach everywhere, it's important to know that bleach is caustic and can emit potentially lethal fumes. That's why it's important to dilute your bleach and ensure that it's not used at full-strength and not mix it with other solutions and chemicals. Do not touch bleach with bare skin or ingest it.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using different amounts of bleach and water depending on what is being cleaned. Be sure to follow these steps exactly to make a safe and effective bleach solution that meets your needs.

How to make bleach at home
Verywell / Verywell Health

Supplies and Ingredients

Making a bleach solution to disinfect your home can be easy. You'll just need a few supplies to get started:

  • A quart-sized plastic spray bottle or a glass jar with lid
  • A measuring cup
  • Damp cloth
  • Household rubber gloves
  • Household bleach (found at any supermarket)
  • Water 

After gathering your supplies, putting together the ingredients safely requires a little insight and preparation.

It is best to wear clothes and shoes you don't mind bleaching in case of a spill. You should also pin back your hair and wear the rubber gloves for added safety.

When making a bleach solution, either go outside or find a well-ventilated room, ideally with open windows and a cross-draft. Full-strength bleach emits toxic fumes and should never be used in small or enclosed spaces.

Mixing a Bleach Solution

The concentration of the bleach mixture will depend on its purpose:

  • To clean hard surfaces such as plates and countertops, the ratio is 1:80. That equates to 1 cup (240 milliliters) of bleach to 5 gallons (18.9 liters) of water, or 2.5 tablespoons bleach to 2 cups of water.
  • To make a 1:10 solution to disinfect healthcare facilities that may have been tainted by contagions, you'll need 1 part bleach for every 9 parts water. 

Steps

  1. 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 get any bleach on your skin, wipe it off immediately with a damp cloth.
  2. Place the lid tightly on the container.
  3. Gently mix it by shaking.
  4. After mixing, your solution is ready to use.

3 Products Never to Mix With Bleach

Never add any other ingredient to the bleach solution. These three are especially dangerous:

  • Ammonia mixed with bleach converts the chlorine in bleach to chloramine gas. Breathing in the fumes can cause coughing, shortness of breath, and pneumonia.
  • Acidic compounds such as vinegar or window cleaner create chlorine gas when mixed with bleach. Excessive exposure can cause chest pain, vomiting, and even death.
  • Alcohol converts to chloroform when mixed with bleach. Breathing in chloroform can cause fatigue, dizziness, and fainting.

Use and Expiration

You can wash the surface with soap and hot, clean water before using the bleach solution. After applying the bleach solution, let the surface you are cleaning air dry.

Chlorine bleach solution begins to lose its disinfectant power quickly when exposed to heat, sunlight, and evaporation. To ensure the strength of your solution, mix a fresh batch each day and discard whatever is leftover.

Always keep the bleach solution out of the reach of children. Do not reuse the bleach solution container for other cleaning products.

A Word From Verywell

Making your own bleach solution is inexpensive, but you must take appropriate precautions. Alternatively, you can buy a mild cleaning solution containing a small amount of bleach in the store. That way, you can avoid any spillage or possible injury.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Benzoni T, Hatcher JD. Bleach Toxicity. In: StatPearls [Internet]. 2019. 

  2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Cleaning and sanitizing with bleach after an emergency. Health and Safety Concerns for All Disasters. 2017.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infection Control: Chemical disinfectants. Updated September 18, 2016.

Additional Reading
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cleaning and Sanitizing With Bleach After an Emergency. ​
  • 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.