The First Thing You Should Do with a New Bottle of Bleach

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I have always been a believer in the power of bleach when you need to get something really clean. And when I say clean, what I actually mean is disinfect. You see, dish soap and other cleaning agents will get rid of dirt and debris and some germs. But bleach is a disinfectant, which means it kill all surface bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. I find it especially effective for stinky things like the trash can, the kitchen sink, and the litter box.

But, of course, bleach can be a bit tricky. And when I say tricky, what I actually mean is dangerous. There are a few things I always, always do when using bleach to make sure that I’m using if safely: I always dilute bleach before using it. I always clean with soap and water first and make sure to rinse well before using bleach. I always rinse well after using bleach.

And I always put the date on a brand-new bottle of bleach.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Why You Should Write the Date on Your Bleach Bottle

Depending on who you ask, bleach has a shelf life of around three months to one year. That’s a big difference, and I tend to go with the Scripp’s Research Institute’s estimate of six months. After a year, you can expect bleach to become 20 percent less effective. Eventually, it will degrade entirely and become salt water.

Labeling your new bleach bottle (I use a black Sharpie and write directly on the bottle) is the easiest way to know when your bleach has expired. When that happens, you can safely flush bleach down the toilet or down the drain along with plenty of water.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The First Thing You Should Do with a New Bottle of Bleach