How Much Bleach to Use to Disinfect?

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Use bleach to disinfect a variety of surfaces.

Bleach kills many microorganisms that can cause disease. When using bleach as a disinfectant, it is important to dilute the bleach solution appropriately. A solution that is too weak will not effectively kill microorganisms, but a solution that is too strong might damage the surface you are disinfecting. Before disinfecting materials with bleach, wash the surface with soap and water to remove surface dirt. Bleach is an effective disinfectant but used by itself, it is not an effective cleanser.


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Step 1

Look for signs of mold on the item. Mold requires a higher concentration of bleach to kill than other microorganisms, so if there is any mold present on the surface you are disinfecting, you should use more bleach.

Step 2

Measure 1 cup of bleach into 5 gallons of water for most disinfecting jobs. If mold is present, use 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.

Step 3

Wipe the bleach solution onto the item you are disinfecting. If the item has a rough or textured surface, use a brush so that the bleach solution gets into all of the crevices.

Step 4

Allow the item to air-dry.


Do not mix bleach with ammonia or other cleansers.


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Stephanie Dube Dwilson

With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.