Are you making this common mistake when cleaning with bleach?

How to use bleach (properly) to disinfect your home

Bleach is a must-have in all households as an effective disinfectant. However, when it comes to how to use bleach, there are three common mistakes we're all making.

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Used correctly this powerful cleaning product can stave off germs and viruses. But, these easy mistakes can make all the difference when it comes to disinfecting your home.

How to use bleach

Here are the three ways you could be using it wrong, and what you should do to avoid these mistakes.

Always dilute with water

room having white walls with wooden wardrobe and brooms

(Image credit: Ti-Media)

Bleach should always be diluted before disinfecting any surfaces. According to the Scripps Research Institute (opens in new tab), bleach is more effective at killing germs when diluted.

So always follow the dilution instructions on the back of a bottle before using. When disinfecting a surface with bleach, give the diluted product about 1 minute contact time before wiping down with a damp cloth.

Don't apply with a spray bottle

Pouring your diluted solution in a spray bottle is a big no-no. The bleach can react with the metal parts of the spray nozzle and causing rusting. This can reduce how effective your cleaner is.

The best way to use a home-diluted bleach solution is with a cloth while wearing gloves. Saturated the cloth with the mixture, so that any surface you wipe is visibly wet for at least one minute after being wiped down.

However, always makes sure you wipe the surface down with water and leave to dry completely after disinfecting.

room with wooden flooring white walls and mobs in can

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

Don't pre-dilute

Bleach should always be diluted right before you need to use it. It's at it's most unstable when it is diluted, so leaving it in his state for too long will reduce its effectiveness.

'Diluted bleach can degrade due to temperature, light or contamination, causing the active ingredient to break down into salt and water,' explains Jessica Ek, director of digital communications at the American Cleaning Institute (opens in new tab). 'If you want to use it for disinfecting, you should use a freshly mixed solution.'

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When it comes to disinfecting against viruses soap and water equally effective. However, if you choose to use bleach to clean your home, make sure you always wear gloves and dilute it first.

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.