Bleach recommended
for cleaning up after a natural disaster

After a natural disaster comes confusion about what to use to clean up buildings and belongings. Be certain to use a disinfectant to kill germs that can spread disease.

The world’s leading public health agencies recommend using bleach to disinfect property damaged by floods. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise using bleach for controlling the spread of germs that can cause infections and other health threats.

Bleach does not harm the environment. It begins and ends as salt water. About 95 percent to 98 percent of household bleach quickly breaks down during household use. The remaining two percent to five percent is effectively treated by sewer or septic systems.

Bleach does not contaminate ground water because it breaks down to salt and water in municipal sewage treatment plants or in septic systems.

Disinfecting Surfaces

To ensure that things are as clean and safe as possible, the American Chemistry Council and other agencies recommend following these simple, but important, cleaning tips:

    • Act quickly to avoid mildew and odor.
    • Remove all loose dirt and debris.
    • Use a household bleach disinfecting solution (1/2 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach1, concentrated to 1 gallon of water) to wash any walls, floors, or other surfaces touched by flood waters.
    • Keep area wet for 2 minutes (2 to 10 minutes for exterior areas), then rinse thoroughly and dry.

In case of a flood, it is important to remember that not all water damage is visible. Since flood water may contain bacteria that can cause serious illnesses, it is vital to clean and disinfect everything that may have been contaminated.

Disinfecting Water

If water supplies are compromised and when boiling of water for 1 minute is not practical, water can be made potable by using Clorox® Regular-Bleach1, concentrated. Prior to addition of the sanitizer, remove all suspended material by filtration or by allowing it to settle to the bottom. Decant the clarified contaminated water to a clean container and add 12 drops or 1/8 teaspoon of this product to 2 gallons of water (2 drops to 1 quart). Allow the treated water to stand for 30 minutes. Properly treated water should have a slight chlorine odor. If not, repeat dosage and allow the water to stand an additional 15 minutes. The treated water can then be made palatable by pouring it between clean containers several times. For cloudy water, use 24 drops or 1/4 teaspoon of this product per 2 gallons of water (3 drops to 1 quart). If no chlorine odor is apparent after 30 minutes, repeat dosage and wait an additional 15 minutes.

Clorox proudly supports the American Red Cross

For generations, The Clorox Company has proudly supported the American Red Cross, donating money and products to help with its disaster relief efforts. This year, Clorox has pledged $1 million to help the American Red Cross continue its lifesaving programs.