All Bleach is NOT Created Equal! Knowing exactly how to use bleach correctly can disinfect surfaces or purify water. Knowing which bleach contains harmful additives and chemicals and thus must be avoided – Can save your life!
Recently at one of our area Preparedness Meetings we had the opportunity to learn from an active member of our group. Craig, is a Registered Nurse with a background in critical care and emergency leadership. He had recently completed updated training for infectious deceases and modern day epidemic mitigation (including new Ebola Protocols). Craig was so kind to share much of what he learned with our group. The topic of using bleach for disinfecting or purifying water has been widely spread throughout the preparedness community, however, Craig shared information that I’d not read mentioned much in detail. I found it very important and wanted to share this with readers of PREPARE Magazine.
All bleach is widely acceptable as an antimicrobial and can kill microbes on hard non-porous surfaces. Bleach seems to be the ‘go to’ disinfectant for everything from bathrooms to kitchens. In an emergency situation, it’s usually the often touted method for purifying water. For surfaces that may have become contaminated or with a contagious individual in the home, treating an area correctly can be life-saving. But only if it is preformed properly with the right bleach, in the correct ratio, full length of time and dried in the appropriate method.
When it comes to bleach, you can’t just ‘grab a gallon’ and go. You really need to read the label carefully. “Regular” bleach is the ONLY kind you want for disinfecting surfaces or treating water, not any one of the other formulations. If there is anything other than the word “Regular” describing your bleach, relegate the use of it to laundry only. The thick cling, splash-less and scented varieties contain extremely harmful chemicals that actually can create as much harm as the untreated surface or water.
Splash-less bleach is not simply splash-less because the spout may be shaped differently, the manufacturer has added a soap/sudsing agent to change the viscosity of the liquid bleach, making it easier to pour. Thick -cling bleach contains more of it than it’s spill-less counter part. If you’ve ever used these you’ll notice a soapy film on the counter top surface or more suds in your washer. This is not only harmful if swallowed (see below the proper way to use the proper Regular Bleach) but also attribute to many asthma and respiratory issues as well.
Scented Bleach has become quite popular for laundering. While for some people they may not appear to pose a problem in the wash water, dyes or perfumes clearly have a negative impact when used on utensils, counter tops and in drinking water. Not only are they highly hazardous to our digestive systems, topically they have been proven to cause skin irritation and allergies, asthma and respiratory problems, developmental and reproductive toxicity and cancer. Again, if you see the proper method for disinfecting, you’ll see why the ingesting and topical reactions are important.
Proper Disinfecting Time & Technique:
Two (2) Teaspoons of Clorox Regular Bleach in a Gallon of water will kill germs – but ONLY if it has been in contact with the hard surface for 2 full minutes and then is allowed to air dry, without rinsing.
Bleach, REGULAR bleach, is a widely used method of cleaning. It should be noted that this is not the only option for disinfecting, however, it is the most widely acceptable one provided you are well aware of which product you are using.
A few downfalls to even using regular bleach, however, are that all bleach is caustic, causes eye irritation, gastric burns, is corrosive to metals in high concentration or long exposure.
For long term storage, regular liquid bleach may not be the best option. In comparison, bleach is relatively unstable when compared to alcohol for prolonged shelf-life of a liquid disinfectant.
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