While bleach is often the go-to disinfecting agent in the household, some people hesitate to use it for mopping. Knowing that it contains active ingredients and emits harmful fumes, should you be mopping with bleach? We did the research to bring you the answer.
You may mop with bleach to disinfect, but it must be done properly to avoid its dangerous effects. Nonporous floors are great to mop with bleach. In contrast, bleach may not be as effective in mopping porous flooring, as microbes penetrate deep down into the surface. Bleach and its antimicrobial properties only stay for some time on the surface of floors.
Mopping the floor with bleach is often a matter of personal choice, but know that it should be done properly to avoid damage and health consequences. In this post, we will share the benefits and dangers of mopping with bleach and how to properly use it.
Should You Be Mopping With Bleach?
Bleach is widely used as a disinfectant. Mopping the floor with bleach isn't even something new. Hospitals, schools, offices, and homes use bleach due to its sanitizing and stain removal effects.
While most people would believe that it is okay to apply it to any type of surface, this is not the best answer if the purpose is to disinfect.
Mopping Porous Vs. Nonporous Floors With Bleach
Bleach contains an active ingredient called sodium hypochlorite, which is the reason for its disinfecting properties. It can kill different microbes, including fungi, bacteria, and viruses, within 10-60 minutes. Even most brands claim that bleach can kill 99.9% of germs.
It is great to use bleach to mop on nonporous floors such as vinyl and certain types of tiles and grout, but not on porous surfaces. Know that nonporous surfaces do not allow air or liquid to penetrate, which is the opposite of porous materials.
That being said, germs that have already made their way deep down into the surface of porous materials are almost impossible to kill with bleach. Bleach and its disinfecting properties don't linger on the top surface for very long.
It only takes 10 minutes to degrade, and bleach mixed with water degrades faster. This makes more sense since you do not use pure bleach for mopping. Its efficacy may be gone long before it begins to penetrate the porous material and kill the germs.
While bleach is powerful in eliminating germs on nonporous surfaces, it is also highly corrosive in that it can damage surfaces. Some porous surfaces like hardwood are coated with special finishes for sheen and protection. Bleach can damage this protection, especially when not used correctly.
How To Use Bleach For Mopping Properly
Make sure to use household bleach containing 5-9% sodium hypochlorite and follow the instructions for dilution on the label. Wear gloves and other protective equipment before mopping with bleach, and keep the windows open. Here's how to mop with bleach:
- Start by cleaning the loose particles on the floor with a broom or vacuum.
- Mop the floor with soap and water to remove dirt and stains.
- Dilute the bleach by mixing one cup with one gallon of water, or follow the instructions on the product label. You can make a bigger batch for a larger floor area.
- Soak the mop in the chlorine bleach and wring to appropriate dampness.
- Mop the floor from the end of the room to the point of exit. Leave the bleach on for at least 10 minutes.
- While waiting, rinse the mop head with water to remove the bleach.
- Mop the floor once more for a rinse.
- Let the floor dry completely.
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Should You Rinse The Bleach Off?
You should rinse the floor after mopping with bleach. Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, the primary reason for residue once it dries out. This residue forms tiny crystals, and the buildup can later damage and discolor the floor's surface.
You should only leave bleach for a few minutes to allow it to work, and then rinse with another round of mopping.
Benefits Of Mopping With Bleach
Bleach is both useful and dangerous. For now, here are the advantages of using bleach to mop floors.
Powerful Anti-Microbial Agent
Bleach is an effective anti-microbial cleaning agent. Its sodium hypochlorite ingredient alters the natural properties of the protein in bacteria and kills them.
Bleach is also powerful in killing certain types of viruses. You may also use bleach to remove mold and mildew. It only requires properly diluted bleach and some time to kill these microbes.
Helps Avoid Sick Days
As bleach can kill different disease-causing microbes, you reduce the chances of sickness in the household. Eliminating mold and mildew with bleach also reduces the presence of allergens that would otherwise initiate or worsen allergy and asthma symptoms.
There are a lot of cleaning products on the market, but most of them just could not beat the low price of bleach.
Both thin and thick types of bleach are not only widely available but are also cheaper than most cleaning products. Bleach is even cheaper than vinegar, which is also popular in households as a cleaning agent.
Bleach is also economical to use. The general recommendation is to dilute bleach when using it to disinfect surfaces. For every gallon of water, you only need to add a cup of bleach, and therefore, a gallon of bleach goes a long way.
Remember the importance of diluting bleach before using it on any surface. This is the safest and most effective way to remove stains from the floor. Otherwise, undiluted bleach can cause more harm than good, leaving a permanent stain and harsher fumes.
Bleach not only kills bacteria but also helps brighten the appearance of nonporous materials. The sodium hypochlorite acts as an oxidizing agent which either alters or breaks the color properties of the molecules of a material.
The correct dilution will remove stains on nonporous floors when you leave the bleach on for a few minutes. On the other hand, a thick bleach would have a longer-lasting effect ideal for managing tougher stains and discoloration.
Safe Use Of Bleach
Bleach is a caustic chemical that can cause skin irritation and injuries if not used correctly. It is also important to store bleach according to the brand or general recommendation to ensure it remains effective as expected. Before using bleach, take time to know the best practices to avoid unwanted situations.
Always Dilute With Water
Pure bleach is too strong for surfaces. What more could happen if it touches your skin? Medical experts always remind consumers to never use bleach containing more than 9% sodium hypochlorite.
It is also important to dilute the bleach before applying it to any surface. The chemical can cause severe skin reactions and worse when it gets to your eyes and other vulnerable body parts.
Use the correct water-bleach ratio when diluting bleach. The standard ratio for disinfecting household surfaces is 250 milliliters of bleach mixed with one gallon of water, but it is always best to follow instructions on the product label. A stronger mixture is required to clean bodily fluid spills.
Do Not Mix With Other Chemicals
Do not combine vinegar or cleaning products containing ammonia or acids with bleach. Doing so can cause negative chemical reactions and result in injuries.
The fumes coming from bleach are already dangerous on their own. Mixing bleach with another chemical will produce even stronger fumes that are dangerous when inhaled. It is a no-no to combine bleach with another liquid unless it is water.
Use In A Well-Ventilated Area
Too much inhalation of bleach fumes can cause burning along the esophagus lining, and prolonged exposure to the fumes can cause severe health issues. Always keep the windows open when using bleach to mop the floors. You may also use an electric fan to keep the air circulating.
Wear Protective Equipment
Wear gloves and other protective equipment when using bleach. Do not forget to wash your hands after mopping and cleaning with bleach as well.
Proper Disposal of Unused Bleach
Dispose of unused bleach if it has been over a month. At this point, it is no longer effective in cleaning and disinfecting. The absence of bleach odor indicates that it is no longer good to use.
To dispose of bleach, simply pour it down the drain or dilute it with water as you let it go down the drain.
Mopping with bleach to disinfect is recommended for nonporous floors. Remember to follow the safe use of bleach protocols to avoid health hazards and damage to the floor surfaces. Dilute bleach only with water, and follow the instructions on the label for safety.
If you find this post helpful, you may also be interested in reading the following:
7 Steps To Clean A Bathroom Floor With Bleach