How Does Bleach Help Flowers?

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Fresh flowers make a beautiful display in your home. It seems, though, just as soon as you start enjoying them, they start to wilt and die. Unless they are from your own garden, flowers are very expensive, and it feels like you are throwing your money away. Don't stop buying beautiful flowers, try using a little bleach to help your flowers survive.

Does Bleach Really Help?

The simple answer to this question is yes, but you have to be very careful as to how much bleach you use in your flowers. Bleach is a poison, and if overused will quickly kill your flowers. Used correctly it will cause little harm, except to maybe fade the flowers color a little.

The chlorine in the bleach is beneficial in killing any bacteria that is nestled in the flower stems, your vase or your water. The flowers suck the water up through their stems, thus also sucking up any small amounts of bacteria. The bacteria will make your flowers "sick" and they will begin to wilt and then die rather quickly.

Adding a small amount of bleach to your vase will destroy the bacteria and give your flowers a clean safe environment to live in. Adding the bleach will also ward off mold and mildew that like to grow in moist environments. Flower stems that are submerged in water will eventually begin to rot and mold if the water is not kept clean and bacteria-free.

The key is to not over bleach your flowers. A general rule of thumb is to add a capful of bleach or a tablespoon of bleach to a large vase. Small vases should only be given a drop or two of the bleach. It is also a good idea to add a teaspoon of sugar to your bleach water. The sugar will help feed the flowers, while the bleach protects them from bacteria.


To keep the flowers as fresh as possible, you should change the bleach water on a daily basis. Remove the flowers and clean the vase with soapy water. You can add a drop of bleach to ensure you are getting the vase good and clean. Refill the vase and add the capful of bleach, or drop of bleach, depending on the size of the vase. Add a fresh supply of sugar too.

Trim the very ends of the flower stems so they can pull the bleach water up through them. Soggy stems will continue to deteriorate in the water, thus increasing your chances of mold developing. Bleach will not harm your flowers unless you add too much. Even the tiniest amount of bleach will help control the mold and bacteria, and it will give your flowers a better chance at survival.


Donna Thacker

Donna Thacker has been a writer/photographer for over 15 years. She held the position of associate editor/writer/photographer at Biker Ally Magazine. She currently is a photojournalist for The Biking Life, and has been featured on the front page of The Greenville Advocate, The Hillsboro Journal and The Sorento News. Thacker also designed and published several booklets of historical interest for local organizations.