Will Clorox Kill Grass?

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Whether you want to kill some out-of-control grass or worry that cleaning your boat in the yard might cause your lawn grass to die, there are many reasons to be concerned about the effects of chemicals on grass. Some herbicides certainly kill plants, including grass. But what effect does Clorox bleach have on your lawn? The Internet is littered with questions, but there are few answers. Until now.

The Theory

Certainly, lots of people today believe that Clorox bleach kills grass in much the same way that herbicides kill weeds. Much of the notion that Clorox bleach kills grass actually focuses on bleach's main components. Basic Clorox bleach is composed of approximately 6.15 percent sodium hypochlorite and less than 1 percent of sodium hydroxide. These molecules are similar to the molecules that compose table salt.

The Facts

According to Clorox.com, the company's Clorox ProResults Outdoor Bleach Cleaner does not harm grass or plants when used as directed. The company, though, suggests rinsing grass and plants that come in direct contact with bleach to prevent burning.

The website ReadersDigest.com says you can use regular Clorox bleach to rid your lawn of weeds. According to the site, you pour undiluted bleach over weeds and pull the weeds after one or two days. "The bleach will keep them from coming back," the site says. The site also warns that you should avoid pouring bleach onto grass and other plants.

Despite the information from ReadersDigest.com regarding weeds, Clorox is not known to kill grass. In fact, most soil already has some level of chloride in it, and Clorox bleach breaks down into harmless chemicals absorbed by the soil.

The website AllAboutLawns.com provides a definitive answer directly from the garden world. It says chlorine "does not have a damaging effect on grass." According to the site, the resiliency of the soil allows grass to withstand the effects of chlorine at high acid levels. Meanwhile, grass blades keep out chlorine.

Considerations

Clorox, though, does have some uses for your lawn. While it does not kill grass, it can kill some bacteria and fungi. AllAboutLawns.com says many types of fungus attack lawns. One way to combat these fungi is to use Clorox on your lawn. It kills the fungus without killing the grass. Be aware that Clorox might affect other nutrients in the soil. This could have an adverse effect on grass health over time. For best practice, use Clorox sparingly on your lawn. Also, you might try blotting a small area. Wait a few days to see what kind of effect it has before using more Clorox on your lawn.

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Ron White

Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.