Bleach is one of the most common household cleaning products. A bit of a wonder substance, it can be used for a whole host of purposes helping to eradicate dirt, grime, mould and bacteria. However, people often have questions about this common cleaning liquid like ‘how does bleach work’ and ‘how long does bleach last.’ Here’s our handy guide to how bleach works and, importantly, how to use bleach safely.
Has your cleaning regime changed during the Covid-19 lockdown?
How does bleach work and is bleach a disinfectant?
First of all, though we talk about bleach in the singular, there are in fact many different types. The one used in household cleaning products is called chlorine bleach, also known as sodium hypochlorite. What you actually get when you buy household bleach is a mix of sodium hypochlorite and water, usually in a 5.25% solution. So how does bleach kill bacteria? As you’ll know from the local swimming pool, chlorine is a great disinfectant. It gets rid of germs and is also a great stain remover, making it ideal for lots of cleaning tasks.
Bleach uses: how to clean with bleach
So what are the main bleach uses and how long does bleach take to disinfect? Most of us will probably know the common ones like cleaning toilets and disinfecting contaminated areas, but there are actually loads of things you can do with bleach around the house:
- Sterilise second hand items: If you’ve bought something that’s been used before, make sure to disinfect it with household bleach. Just drop a tiny bit into a water solution, soak the item and rinse. This will ensure any bacteria are removed immediately – it doesn’t take long at all!
- Shine white porcelain: If you’re trying to give white porcelain items that extra sparkle, put some bleach on a paper towel and wipe over the surface. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth.
- Disinfect rubbish bins: If you’re wondering ‘is bleach a disinfectant?’ the answer is yes. Bleach is strong enough to deal with the nasty dirt that builds up in bins. Mix bleach cleaner with dishwashing liquid, dilute with water, then clean out the insides with this solution.
How long does bleach last, then? In terms of shelf life, bleach lasts for about six months before it starts to degrade. In terms of treatment, this really depends on what you’re cleaning and what it’s been subjected to. A very dirty bathroom may need a deep clean with bleach and then regular treatment with the rest of the bathroom cleaning, and a bathroom that’s used by a lot of people will need daily treatment.
How to use bleach safely
As with any strong chemical, it’s important to know how to store and use bleach safely as ingestion or contamination can have harmful side effects. Always store it out of sight and reach of children and pets. Wear thick, rubber gloves while handling the substance and be sure to avoid contact with skin and eyes. If you apply bleach to a substance make sure to rinse it thoroughly. It’s good to know what to do if someone accidentally ingests bleach or gets it in their eye.
Bleach really is a useful household cleaning agent that can be used in some pretty unexpected ways. There are loads more ideas for how to use it online so have a look and utilise this powerful liquid to get your home beautifully clean.