10 Surprising Ways You Should Be Using Bleach in the Kitchen

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Bleach has a spot in most people’s bathrooms, but it’s actually quite handy in the kitchen as well. While people tend to avoid it in that space, bleach is a great cleaner for many surfaces — as long as you handle it correctly.

Here are 10 surprising ways you should be using bleach in the kitchen.

1. Disinfect trash containers.

Even with effective garbage bags and consistent trash-emptying, your trash can is going to get cruddy after a while. To disinfect it, wipe the insides with a bleach solution, then (ideally) allow it to dry outside.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

2. Sanitize sponges.

While it’s best to replace your sponge often, you can de-germ in between changes by soaking it for a few minutes in a solution of 3/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water, letting it dry before using it.

3. Clean kitchen linens.

Laundry is a traditional use for bleach, and here it comes in handy for kitchen towels, oven mitts, aprons, throw rugs, and more. Just launder as usual, but add an extra cap-ful (or whatever the package instructions suggest) of bleach.

4. Keep flowers fresher.

Fill a vase with 1/4 teaspoon of bleach and a quart of water before you add your flowers in. The bleach keeps harmful bacteria from growing in the water.

5. Clean plastic furniture.

If your molded plastic kitchen chairs are starting to look gross, freshen them up with bleach: A diluted mixture of bleach and water (following packaging instructions) should remove debris. Then give them a rinse and let them air-dry.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

6. Sanitize plastic cutting boards.

If you’ve been using your plastic cutting boards for meat, wash and then sanitize them with a diluted bleach mixture (following package instructions; typically up to two teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water) to remove any lingering bacteria.

7. Porcelain sinks.

If your sink needs brightening, consider filling it with warm water and adding bleach; let it sit for at least 15 minutes, and then drain and rinse it.

8. Brighten stained storage containers.

Plastic storage containers can get stained and dingy after holding things like tomato sauce. To lighten the stains, let a mixture of bleach and water (read the package labeling for the proper amounts) sit in the containers for at least 15 minutes, then rinse out and wash as usual.

9. Clean kitchen floors.

To clean laminate floors, mix a solution of 1/2 cup bleach to one gallon water and use it to mop the floors. Let the solution sit for at least five minutes, then go over them with clean water and let them dry.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

10. Disinfect garbage disposals.

To disinfect your garbage disposal, pour 3/4 cup of bleach down the drain with water while you’re running the garbage disposal.

Are there any other ways you bleach in the kitchen? Tell us about them in the comments below!