How to Make Your Own Disinfectant Bleach Solution

Safe and Effective Way to Kill Household Germs

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.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using a 1:10 solution for disinfecting surfaces and objects that may have been tainted by contagions. Be sure to follow these steps exactly to make a safe and effective bleach solution.

List of 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.

How to Make a 1:10 Bleach Solution

The first rule when making a bleach solution is to 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.

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.

Next, comes the measuring and mixing of ingredients:

  • To make a 1:10 solution, you'll need 1 part bleach for every 9 parts water. A good amount to start with is 1/4 cup bleach and 2¼ cups of 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 a 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 (1/2 cup bleach with 4½ cups of water, 3/4 cup bleach with 6¾ cups of water, etc).

Once the ingredients are mixed, place the lid tightly on the container and gently flip it back and forth a few times to mix. After mixing, your solution is ready to use.

Whatever you do, never add any other ingredient to the bleach solution.

3 Products Never to Mix With Bleach

  • 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.

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. Keep out of the reach of children.

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Article Sources
  • 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.