How do I sanitize my dishes using bleach?
This is a great question. The correct procedure for sanitizing dishes with Clorox® Regular Bleach2 is to first wash and rinse dishes, glassware, and utensils. After washing, soak for at least 2 minutes in a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach per 1 gallon of water, drain and air dry. Do not use on non-stainless steel, aluminum, silver, or chipped enamel. It’s important to wash and rinse the dishes first before applying the sanitizing solution because the organics coming off the dishes would react with bleach active, decreasing the concentration.
As to how long you can reasonably use the bleach solution for sanitizing, it depends on several factors, a big one being the quality of the water used to make the bleach solution. Very hard water with high concentrations of salts and metals can react with the sodium hypochlorite bleach active, breaking it down into salt and water. Instead, we recommend using chlorine test strips to confirm that you have the correct concentration of bleach (note that 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular Bleach2 per gallon of water yields 200ppm available chlorine). Also, I would limit the total quantity of bleach solution you prepare at a time to 2 tablespoons bleach added to 3 gallons of water (same 200ppm target concentration). If this is not enough for the quantity of dishes you need to sanitize, just make more as needed.