How to Make Your Own Disinfectant Bleach Solution

Household chlorine bleach is a powerful disinfectant (chemical cleaner that destroys harmful bacteria) that is cheap, easy to find, and strong enough to kill dangerous germs. Keeping a clean home is important for any family, but it's 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 can burn your skin and give off dangerous fumes. That's why it's important to dilute (water down) your bleach. Do not use it at full strength or mix it with other solutions and chemicals. Never touch bleach with bare skin or swallow it.

How to Make Your Own Disinfectant Solution
Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using different amounts of bleach and water depending on what you clean. Follow these steps to make a safe bleach solution for your cleaning needs.

Are you ready to make your own disinfectant bleach solution? Keep reading to find out the safe way to do it.

Supplies and Ingredients for Mixing Bleach

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

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

After gathering your supplies, putting together the ingredients safely requires a bit of know-how and preparation.

Wear clothes and shoes you don't mind messing up in case you spill some bleach. Pull back your hair and wear rubber gloves for added safety.

When making a bleach solution, either go outside or find a well-ventilated room. Choose one with open windows and a cross-draft. Create a cross-draft by opening windows opposite each other or using a fan to direct the air. Full-strength bleach gives off toxic fumes and should never be used in small or closed-in spaces.

Mixing a Bleach Solution

The strength of the bleach mixture will depend on what you plan to use it for. For example, to clean hard surfaces like plates and countertops, the ratio is 1:80. This equals 1 cup (240 milliliters) of bleach to 5 gallons (18.9 liters) of water or 2.5 tablespoons of bleach to 2 cups of water.

Steps for Mixing a Bleach Solution

  1. Carefully pour the bleach into the spray bottle. Then add the water. Mixing the solution in this order will keep the bleach from splashing 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 changes 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. Too much exposure to chlorine gas can cause chest pain, vomiting, and even death.
  • Alcohol changes to chloroform when mixed with bleach. Breathing in chloroform can cause fatigue, dizziness, and fainting.

Using a Bleach Solution

You can wash surfaces 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 (when a liquid turns into a vapor or gas). To make sure the solution is the right strength, mix a fresh batch each day and throw out whatever is left over.

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

Summary

Bleach is a powerful disinfectant that kills the germs that make people sick. But it's important to learn how to use it safely whenever you try to clean things around the house. Using it the wrong way can lead to sickness or even death.

Always add the correct amount of water to dilute the bleach before using it to clean. Make sure the room is well ventilated to avoid poisonous fumes.

A Word From Verywell

Making your own bleach solution isn't expensive, but you must take steps to stay safe. If you want, you can just buy a mild cleaning solution containing a small amount of bleach at the store. That way, you can avoid any spillage or possible injury.

Was this page helpful?
2 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. Michigan Department of Community Health. Bleach Fact Sheet. Updated August 2014.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cleaning and sanitizing with bleach after an emergency. Updated February 3, 2021.