How Much Bleach for Sanitizer: The Essential Formula

Bleach is a commonly used household item that many people turn to when it comes to sanitizing surfaces. However, not everyone knows exactly how much bleach to use to make an effective sanitizer. This article will cover the essential formula for making bleach-based sanitizers, the recommended amounts of bleach to use, and other important information to help you properly sanitize your home.

Understanding Sanitizers

Sanitizers are substances that reduce the number of germs on a surface to a safe level. There are various types of sanitizers, including those that are alcohol-based, hydrogen-peroxide-based, and bleach-based. For our purposes, we will focus on bleach-based sanitizers.

The Essential Formula for Making Bleach-Based Sanitizers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a bleach solution for sanitizing surfaces. The essential formula for making a bleach-based sanitizer is:

Bleach Concentration Water Mixing Ratio
5.25% 1 gallon 1/3 cup
6% 1 gallon 1/4 cup
8.25% 1 gallon 1/6 cup
8.75% 1 gallon 1/5 cup

The above table shows the recommended mixing ratios for bleach concentrations ranging from 5.25% to 8.75%. Note that a higher bleach concentration does not necessarily mean a more effective sanitizer. It is important to use the right amount of bleach to achieve a potent mixture without wasting resources or introducing health hazards.

Important Notes

How to Use Bleach-Based Sanitizer

When using a bleach-based sanitizer, it is important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure that it is effective. Here are some tips:

  • Wear gloves to protect your skin.
  • Use the recommended bleach concentration and mixing ratio.
  • Make fresh solution daily, as bleach loses its effectiveness over time.
  • Clean the surface to be sanitized before applying the bleach solution.
  • Leave the bleach solution on the surface for at least 1 minute before rinsing with water.

What Surfaces Can Be Sanitized with Bleach Solution?

Bleach solutions are effective in sanitizing various surfaces, including:

  • Kitchen counters and appliances
  • Bathroom fixtures and floors
  • Toys, books, and other items that can be washed with water
  • Clothing and linens (following manufacturer instructions)
  • Outdoor furniture and decks (following manufacturer instructions)

What Surfaces Should Not Be Sanitized with Bleach Solution?

Despite its effectiveness, bleach is not suitable for sanitizing all surfaces. Here are some surfaces that should NOT be sanitized with bleach solution:

  • Wood
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Surfaces of poorly finished enamel or cast iron
  • Fabrics or materials that bleach may discolor or damage


In summary, bleach-based sanitizers are an effective way to reduce the number of germs on surfaces in your home. By using the correct bleach concentration and mixing ratio, you can make potent solutions that promote cleanliness and safety. Just be sure to use caution when applying bleach solutions, as they can be harmful to your health and to certain surfaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Can I use bleach directly on my hands to sanitize them?

    A. No, bleach should not be applied directly to the skin. Instead, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that is safe for use on skin.
  • Q. How long do bleach solutions last?

    A. Bleach solutions should be made fresh daily, as they lose their effectiveness over time.
  • Q. Can I mix bleach with other cleaning products?

    A. No, bleach should not be mixed with other cleaning products, as this can result in dangerous chemical reactions. Only use bleach on its own, following the recommended mixing ratios.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, April 29). Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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