Many people think of chlorine bleach simply as a tool for brightening white laundry. In fact, chlorine bleach has a range of household applications. It can be used to disinfect worktops and cooking utensils in the kitchen, to remove stubborn mildew in the bathroom, to eliminate weeds on walkways, and to preserve the life of cut flowers from the garden. As chlorine bleach can be harmful to one’s health if used improperly, it should always be handled with caution.
Kitchen surfaces and utensils that have come into contact with foods like raw meat and eggs can harbor harmful bacteria when improperly sanitized. Chlorine bleach kills bacteria on contact, making it a valuable kitchen cleaning tool. To disinfect countertops, dilute one tablespoon (14.79 ml) bleach in one gallon (3.79 l) of warm water. Pour some of the solution into an unsoiled spray bottle and simply spray it onto work surfaces, using paper towels to wipe it away.
To eliminate bacteria from kitchen utensils, first pre-clean the utensils to remove large food fragments. Then fill the sink with one gallon (3.79 l) of hot water and add one tablespoon (14.79 ml) of bleach. Lower the utensils into the sink and let them rest for two minutes, then rinse each item and allow it to air dry completely.
Chlorine bleach can also be used to remove mildew in the bathroom. For brighter shower tiles, combine equal amounts of hot water and bleach in an unsoiled spray bottle. Soak tiles and grout and allow the solution to rest for approximately 20 minutes. Scrub the grout and tiles with a brush and then rinse with warm water.
Pavement weeds are also easily treated with chlorine bleach. To eradicate these unsightly pests, simply soak each plant’s roots with approximately four tablespoons (59.15 ml) of full-strength bleach. Wait two days and then extract the weeds, taking care to pull up the root. In most cases, the application of bleach will prevent the weeds from returning.
While it may seem surprising, chlorine bleach can actually prolong the lifespan of fresh flowers by eliminating bacteria in vase water. Simply fill a vase with one quart (about one liter) water and add ¼ teaspoon (1.23 ml) bleach before inserting flowers. For larger vases, increase water and bleach accordingly.
It is important to note that chlorine bleach can be harmful if used incorrectly. When cleaning with bleach, open a window to allow adequate ventilation, and avoid letting the product come into contact with the skin or the eyes. Do not mix bleach with other chemicals or household cleaners, as this can result in the creation of dangerous or even deadly fumes. Allow all surfaces and items cleaned with bleach to dry completely before reusing them. Finally, keep all bleach containers tightly sealed and store out of the reach of children.