When it comes to disinfecting, bleach is the cleaning king. From knocking out mug stains to disinfecting gardening tools, there's little that bleach can't do when it comes to enhancing the cleanliness of your home. While some bleach hacks are commonly known, like brightening clothes, others may be more surprising to learn about, such as keeping stagnant water free of disease-carrying mosquitos. Read on for a variety of tips and tricks that make bleach a staple household item anyone should keep on hand.
Help Purify the Air
The air can become full of viruses, especially during flu season. The same way you would disinfect surfaces, you can help purify the air by spraying around a mild bleach solution.
Place one part bleach and ten parts water into a spray bottle along with some essential oils for a more pleasant smell. Spray it around the room when a household member is recovering from a sickness to help prevent the ailment from spreading through the air.
Refresh Your Cooler
Coolers can become breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Once the ice melts, anyone who reaches in to grab a drink may be leaving whatever is on their hands behind.
Coolers that aren't cleaned for an extended time can also develop mold. To restore the freshness before your next outing, mix together one cup of bleach and a gallon of water. Pour the mixture directly in and stir it around, or apply it with a rag and let it sit for ten minutes. Rinse with water and your cooler should look and smell as good as new.
Keep Baby Toys Clean
When it comes to baby toys, you can expect that they'll be covered in germs. Babies are just beginning to learn about the world around them, which means touching everything and putting most things into their mouths.
Rather than cleaning each toy individually, just dump them into a sink or a tub with half a cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Let them soak for five minutes and be sure to give them a good rinse with water afterward.
Freshen Up Your Pet Crate
Pets are adorable, but sometimes their smells are not. Whether your dog had an accident in the crate, your cat dragged something smelly in, or your hamster left it riddled with stinky debris, it can take something powerful to restore the freshness.
A simple solution is to mix equal parts bleach and water and give it a good wipe-down. Either apply the mixture to a rag or put it in a spray bottle for controlled application, and be sure to rinse it thoroughly after.
Restore Tiles To Their Former Glory
There's nothing like recently-installed tile floors, particularly because it doesn't take long for tile to become tainted by grout. Along with looking unsightly, grout is riddled with germs that can make it hard to believe your floors are truly clean, even after a good scrub.
Bleach is tough on grout and its stain-fighting power can renew your floors and make them look like new. Pour the bleach directly onto the tile and scrub with a cleaning brush.
Get Stains Out Of Mugs
Coffee drinkers already know that once a mug is stained, no amount of dish soap with get it out. Bowls and plates made of certain materials can be the same way, staining permanently after a night of spaghetti or curry.
Though stained dishes can still be disinfected, they can look questionable to guests and generally unsightly. Get out the stains by adding bleach to your dishwasher for extra cleaning power. For extra stubborn stains, soak the dishes in bleach and water before running them through the dishwasher.
Keep Your Flowers Looking Fresh
It may seem counterintuitive to expose plants to something poisonous like bleach, but cut flowers are already nearing their last days. What bleach can do it help limit the about of bacteria that grow in the vase, keeping the flowers fresh-looking and preventing the vase from clouding up.
Simply add a quarter teaspoon of bleach to your vase to help fight harmful bacteria and to extend how long your bouquet will last. Another perk is your vase will need less cleaning afterward.
Rid Your Garden Of Pesky Weeds
Weeds can't help but drain nutrients from gardens as they ferociously compete for water and sunlight. This can leave gardens looking not only overrun with weeds, but depleted of the beautiful plants that you wanted to grow in the first place.
Rather than going out and buying products specifically for weed killing, you can use bleach to target these unwanted plants. Simply fill a spray bottle with water and bleach and apply directly on the weeds, which should shrivel up in a few days.
Make Your Garbage Cans Less Disturbing
Whether it's the little trash can in your bathroom or the large bin outside, any place you store your garbage is bound to become ridden with smelly bacteria. Rather than letting your trash cans become the bane of your home, keep them clean with bleach.
As part of regular germ maintenance, you can spray down your trash cans with equal parts water and bleach whenever you take out the trash. To restore an intensely dirty can, simply pour the bleach directly into it and scrub the grime away.
Clean Outdoor Furniture
Cleaning outdoor furniture is a whole different beast compared to cleaning indoor furniture due to the difference in exposure. Between insects, dirt, pollen, etc., you'll probably need more than the hose to restore the furniture outside.
Clorox recommends mixing 2 and 3/4 a cup of bleach into a gallon of water and applying the solution to your outdoor furniture with a sponge. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse the furniture down with a hose.
Disinfect Your Gardening Tools
When it comes to gardening tools, it may not seem immediately obvious that they need disinfecting. Like all living things, plants can carry diseases that can be spread by gardening tools.
Additionally, letting your tools become encrusted with gunk can impair how sharp and effective they are. Take a cleaning brush to your tools to get off as much dirt as you can, and then soak them in one part bleach, ten parts water for 30 minutes and dry.
Make Your Whites Whiter
Since the body naturally secretes sweat and oil, white clothing and bedding can yellow over time. The same goes for white towels, which you may have used to clean up a mess or two only to be left with unsightly stains.
The next time you do a load of whites, try adding some bleach into your washer. For extra stain-fighting ability, add bleach to the water along with your clothes and then pause the cycle to let it soak for five to ten minutes.
Give Your Cutting Boards A Proper Clean
According to the EatRight Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, washing your cutting board with soap and water may not be enough. They recommend using bleach to disinfect your cutting board after handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
First, clean the cutting board with hot water and soap. Next, mix one tablespoon of bleach with a gallon of water and soak the cutting board for five to ten minutes. Rinse the board thoroughly with water to reveal a bacteria-free surface.
Clean Your Non-Porous Dog Toys
As with baby toys, dog toys should be cleaned regularly since they can become carriers of harmful bacteria and germs. Dogs love to burrow their faces into things to get a good whiff, making it easy for them to contaminate their toys with whatever they could have picked up outside.
Mix one tablespoon of water with bleach and let the toys soak for several minutes before rinsing them off. Porous dog toys should be cleaned using a different method to prevent remnants of the bleach from making your pet sick.
De-Stain Your Porcelain Sinks
Nowadays, many kitchen sinks are being made with stainless steel to avoid the unsightly stains that accumulate in porcelain sinks. Whether it's an older kitchen sink or a bathroom sink layered with scum, bleach can do the trick.
For an overall stain lift, layer your sink with paper towels to hold the bleach in place. Let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. For targeted areas, apply the bleach to a rag (brushes can cause scratches) and gently scrub the marks away.
Rid Stagnant Water Of Mosquito Larvae
Mosquito bites are not only frustrating, but can be dangerous as well since the pests are notorious for carrying diseases. While the fully grown insects can be easy to spot, their larvae can lurk in stagnant water without detection.
To ensure that there aren't hundreds of mosquito eggs floating around in your gutters, children's pools, and other stagnant water areas, add in two tablespoons of bleach for every 1.5 gallons of water. Double the concentration if tiny mosquitos are already visible in the water.
Clean Your Dishwasher
It can be easy to forget that even cleaning appliances need a good clean every once in a while. If your dishwasher has developed an odor or doesn't seem to be cleaning the dishes like it used to, it may be ready for a clean.
Fill a bowl with a cup of bleach and place it into the top rack of your dishwasher. Let it run through a cycle without any other dishes present and nix the drying cycle. A different method should be used on stainless steel washers to prevent damage.
Wash Out Your Aquarium
Aquariums can be a gorgeous addition to any home, but not when they turn green from algae. To clean, remove all decorative items from the tank and soak them in eight parts water, one part bleach.
Use the same ratio to make a solution to pour directly into the tank and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour out the solution and let the tank and the items soak in clean water before rinsing once again to ensure that any bleach residue is gone.
Remove Stains From Kitchen Appliances
When it comes to white kitchen appliances, it can be difficult to get out food stains. White refrigerators can be especially difficult since they often have a bumpy surface that grips on to food particles leftover from messy hands or splattered food.
To get out these stubborn stains, try mixing half a cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Apply the solution to problem areas with a sponge and let it sit for five minutes. Scrub the stains away with a moist rag and let it air dry.
Stencil Unique Shirt Designs
Grab a plain shirt that is any color but white and place a cutting board on the inside. Next, place a stencil over the shirt and fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and bleach.
Gradually spray the solution all over the shirt, being sure not to oversaturate it as doing so can blur the image. Carefully, remove the stencil and leave the shirt out to dry. Give it a wash in cold water and you should have a unique design left behind!