How to Make a Disinfecting Bleach Cleaning Spray

a bottle of spray bleach cleaner

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 24 mins
  • Total Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

We all want our homes to be as safe and healthy as they can be, and so some surfaces require disinfection to kill harmful micro-organisms. Chlorine bleach, sodium hypochlorite, when used correctly, is an effective disinfectant in breaking down the protein in micro-organisms like bacteria, fungus, and viruses.

While you can purchase commercial bleach-based disinfectant sprays, you can also create a DIY disinfectant spray for use on most hard, non-porous surfaces.

How Often to Use a Disinfecting Spray

A disinfectant spray should be used frequently when someone in the household is ill or if someone has a compromised immune system. In the kitchen, use the spray before and after meal preparation, especially when preparing meats or fresh fruits and vegetables.

Before You Begin

Bleach degrades if exposed to light or extreme temperatures. But, whether the bottle is opened or not, it will lose potency within six to 12 months after purchase. It will not cause harm because the chemical ions revert to hydrogen and oxygen just like water. It just won't be as effective at disinfecting surfaces or laundry.

Not all chlorine bleach formulas are the same strength. To be effective as a disinfectant, there must be a 5.25% to 6.15% concentration of sodium hypochlorite in the product. Read the label and check the manufacturing dates on the bottle. Open or unopened bottles of bleach should be discarded after one year.

Warning

Although chlorine bleach is a fairly common household item, improperly mixing it with certain ingredients can cause dangerous, toxic gases that can become explosive. Keep yourself and your family safe and do not mix bleach with the following:

  • Vinegar
  • Ammonia
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Acetone and other solvents
  • Other acids, such as lemon juice

Always be certain to keep all cleaning supplies, including bleach, out of reach of young children and pets.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Opaque spray bottle
  • 1 Cleaning cloth or sponge
  • 1 Protective gloves (optional)
  • 1 Old clothing (optional)
  • 1 Measuring cups and spoons

Materials

  • 1 Liquid chlorine bleach
  • 1 Water
  • Label for bottle

Instructions

How to Make Your Homemade Bleach Cleaner

Materials and tools to make a disinfecting bleach cleaning spray

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  1. Gather Supplies

    Before you begin preparing the disinfecting spray, gather everything together so you can work quickly. It's a good idea to wear protective gloves and old clothing when handling the bleach.

    Materials gathered to make a disinfecting bleach cleaning spray

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    Tip

    If you decide put your cleaner in a previously used opaque spray bottle , be certain that the bottle is completely clean. Rinse it and the spray nozzle well before re-using and remove the old label. Relabel properly!

  2. Use the Correct Dilution Ratio

    For a disinfecting spray to be effective, you must use the correct dilution ratio. For daily cleaning, mix two cups of water with two teaspoons of bleach. If someone is ill or if you are cleaning away mold or mildew, strengthen the ratio by using only one and one-half cups of water and two teaspoons of chlorine bleach.

    Bleach cleaner added to spray bottle with water

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  3. Mix Ingredients

    In a 16-ounce opaque bottle, add the chlorine bleach and water. Close and label the bottle and shake gently to mix. If undiluted bleach accidentally splashes onto your skin or surrounding surfaces, rinse immediately.

    Unless you are planning to clean a very large area immediately, do not create additional bottles of the cleaner until they are needed. Ideally, a fresh mixture should be created each time you clean. Store any unused cleaner in a dark cabinet at a consistent, moderate temperature.

    Cleaning ingredients mixed in clear spray bottle while wearing yellow gloves

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  4. Use the Cleaner Correctly

    For the disinfectant cleaner to effectively kill micro-organisms, you must use enough for the surface to remain wet for at least six minutes. First, remove any loose dirt or debris on the surface you are cleaning, then, spray on the cleaner.

    Wait six minutes and rinse the surface with a damp sponge or cleaning cloth. Rinsing is especially important for food preparation surfaces or those that will be touched with bare hands.

    Tip

    If using the cleaner on a large area like floors or to clean a bathroom, open a window or use a circulating fan to improve ventilation.

    Disinfectant sprayed on gray wooden surface and wiped with cleaning rag

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Where to Safely Use Your DIY Disinfecting Cleaner

Your DIY disinfecting cleaner can be used on most non-porous hard surfaces like laminate countertops, ceramic tile, bathroom fixtures, and vinyl flooring.

Chlorine bleach is corrosive and should not be used on marble, non-stainless steel, aluminum, silver, copper, or chipped enamel. Do not use a bleach-based cleaner on electronics, porous surfaces, such as wood, or on soft surfaces like upholstery or carpet.

Originally written by
Erin Huffstetler
Erin Huffstetler is a frugal living expert who has been writing for over 10 years about easy ways to save money at home. She's covered money-saving advice and tricks for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes, among others. She is the owner of "My Frugal Home," a money-saving, frugal living how-to guide.
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Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach). Stanford University.

  2. Calcium/Sodium Hypochlorite. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

  3. Chemical Compatibility Table. Santa Clara University.

  4. Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach) Safety Fact sheet. Stanford University.