Bleach is an irritant and is corrosive. It can cause skin burns, irritation of the eyes, lungs, nose and throat. Bleach can also react with other household chemicals such as toilet bowl cleaners, detergent, vinegar, acids, ammonia containing products, or organic matter (e.g. urine, feces, etc.), to produce toxic gases.

If you decide to use bleach for cleaning, it is important to use it in very low concentrations. For example, a mild bleach solution for low-level disinfection or sanitizing is one teaspoon of bleach in 2 cups of water. Take special care to ensure that bleach (or bleach solutions) do not come into contact with any other cleaning products.

Considering the toxic nature of bleach it is best to use less toxic alternatives for general cleaning purposes. Most household cleaning tasks do not require disinfection. Vinegar mixed with water, for example, is great for cleaning floors, surfaces and windows. Baking soda is an effective and low-cost scouring powder for pots, sinks and tubs.

Please note: If you work in a child care setting or other environment where disinfection and/or sanitization are required, please consult with your public health department.