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Bleach Dilution Ratio Chart for Disinfecting

Kitchenware. Measuring cup with water.

Mixing up your own disinfecting bleach solution is a cost-effective way to kill germs on hard surfaces. Get the ratio of bleach to water right using the chart below.

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By Mary Gagliardi

When you only need a little, make a little. Disinfecting a bigger area? Mix up a bigger batch. Since bleach and water solutions need to be made fresh each day you use them, only make what you need.

Don’t guess! Always measure.

Start by measuring the water, then use a measuring cup or measuring spoons to add the correct amount of bleach. You need the correct ratio of bleach and water to kill germs.

  • Use the 1500 ppm solution for general disinfection of many organisms (such as MRSA, E. coli, Staph, Salmonella + SARS-CoV-2, HIV-1, Rhinovirus, Rotavirus).
  • Use the 2000 ppm solution to kill additional germs (such as Strep, Bordetella, Listeria + Herpes, MERS, Ebola + Athletes Foot Fungus).

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Apply the bleach solution

When you know you have the correct solution, prewash or wipe the surface first, then sponge, mop or spray the bleach and water solution on. Let stand for the required amount of contact time, then rinse with clean water and allow to air dry. It’s that easy!

How to make a 1500 ppm solution for general disinfecting

Amount of Cool WaterAmount of BleachContact Time
Ratio48 parts1 part
Five Gallon Bucket1 gallon1/3 cup6 minutes
2 gallons2/3 cup6 minutes
3 gallons1 cup6 minutes
40 oz. spray bottle5 cups5 teaspoons6 minutes
32 oz. spray bottle4 cups4 teaspoons6 minutes
24 oz. spray bottle3 cups3 teaspoons6 minutes
16 oz. spray bottle2 cups2 teaspoons6 minutes

How to make a 2000 ppm solution to kill additional organisms

Amount of cool waterAmount of bleachContact time
Ratio36 parts1 part
Five gallon bucket3/4 gallon1/3 cup5 minutes
1½ gallons2/3 cup5 minutes
40 oz. spray bottle4½ cups2 tablespoons5 minutes
24 or 32 oz. spray bottle3 cups4 teaspoons5 minutes
16 oz. spray bottle1½ cups2 teaspoons5 minutes

Chlorine test strips can be used to confirm that you have mixed the correct concentration of the bleach solution. If you test and the concentration is too low, just add a little more bleach and retest.

Do not use on aluminum, chipped or cracked enamel, copper, brass, silver or unsealed wood, marble, tile or granite.

What you need

Steps for disinfecting with bleach

  1. 1

    Open a window.

    Start by opening windows to allow good air circulation where you’re working. You can also use a fan to improve air circulation in rooms without windows.

    open window with curtains
  2. 2

    Pre-clean if necessary.

    If a surface is visibly soiled, pre-clean before disinfecting.

  3. 3

    Mix up the bleach and water solution.

    Fill a plastic bucket with the recommended amount of water for your specific task, then add 1/3 cup Clorox® Bleach. Wear gloves and clothing that you don’t mind accidentally splashing with bleach solution while you’re working.

  4. 4

    Sponge the solution onto the surface.

    Apply the solution and allow it to stay on the surface for the specified amount of time for your task.

    hand with sponge
  5. 5

    Rinse with clean water and air dry

    Rinse the sponge. Empty the bucket with the bleach and water solution, rinse it out, and then fill it with clean water. Use this to rinse the surface before letting the area air dry completely.

    faucet with water

When using a spray bottle to apply the disinfecting solution, clean the bottle immediately when finished. Pour unused contents of the bottle down the sink, then rinse the bottle and sprayer mechanism with clean water.

Frequently asked questions

How long does a bleach and water solution last?

Bleach and water solutions need to be made fresh each day that you use them because the bleach active combined with your tap water breaks down quickly into salt and water. Ready-to-use products, on the other hand, are formulated with a one-year shelf life when properly stored away from direct sunlight in a cool, dry place.

What solution should I use for mold and mildew?

Use the 1500 ppm solution. Let the solution stay on the surface for up to 10 minutes before rinsing.

I bought my bleach at warehouse store and it has a different name. Can I use it instead?

Yes. Depending on where you buy your bleach, you could also use any of the following: Clorox® Bleach1, Clorox® Regular Bleach3, Clorox® Performance Bleach2 and Clorox® Germicidal Bleach4.

Bleach should be stored away from direct sunlight in a cool, dry place. When stored as directed, a bottle of bleach has a one-year shelf-life. This applies to both unopened and opened bottles.