Does Bleach Kill COVID-19?
The short answer to this question is yes. Bleach can kill COVID-19. Bleach is one of the most effective disinfectants around, and it is used not just for killing viruses like COVID-19, but also other human pathogens like bacteria and fungi.
Why and how does bleach kill coronavirus?
Even the most current studies indicate that using bleach for disinfection of PPEs is effective in deactivating COVID-19, rendering viral particles incapable of infiltrating people and causing infections. The current science reveals that effective disinfectants like bleach work on destroying the proteins in the RNA of viruses.
Without working RNAs, viruses can’t replicate themselves, and they are rendered dead or harmless to people. The need to disinfect physical surfaces like doorknobs and other similar surfaces arise from the fact that COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 presents a low but worrying risk of transmission through physical surfaces.
There is some evidence that suggests that COVID-19 may persist as viable viral particles hours or even days after they have left the host body. The presence of respiratory droplets remains the biggest health hazard to the general populace, and it is up to us to protect ourselves by being as hygienic as possible, especially at home.
The risk of getting COVID-19 is higher in crowded public places, where anyone can release a stream of viral particles through coughing or sneezing.
A person with COVID-19 can also spread the pathogen by touching physical surfaces after touching his/her eyes, nose, and mouth. So in community settings, the best way to slow down or delay the spread of this disease is by reducing contact with others and by keeping our surrounding sanitized. This is one viral respiratory illness that is not going away quickly, so we must know how to protect ourselves.
What do you have to know before using bleach?
Bleach is one of the most effective agents around, right beside ethanol, 2-propanol, and povidone-iodine. In terms of concentration, bleach requires the least amount of concentration within a solution to inactivate COVID-19 and other human pathogens. Scientists recommend a minimum concentration of 0.21% for a bleach solution to be effective.
Keep in mind that pure bleach and bleach solutions can easily irritate people with respiratory issues like asthma, so keep this in mind before applying it at home. Children and elderly persons with respiratory issues are especially prone to having allergic reactions to bleach.
Alcohol vs. bleach, which one is better for disinfection?
Four disinfectant agents are used frequently in hospital settings: rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, povidone-iodine, and bleach. Among these three, the most frequently used for the disinfection of physical surfaces is bleach and alcohol.
Disinfectant wipes are usually soaked in alcohol and are used to remove dirt and potential pathogens from surfaces. You also use pressure so that pathogens will stick to the wipes during cleaning. The use of bleach is recommended for the general disinfection of households and surroundings. Bleach is relatively inexpensive, and it works quickly when disinfecting all kinds of surfaces from equipment to flooring.
While alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are generally more expensive, especially in Asian territories, these too can be used for disinfection, but you have to get the ratios right. Generally speaking, these disinfectants have to be used almost pure to deliver good results. Not only that, the surfaces that you wish to disinfect, but they also have to be soaked by the chosen disinfecting solution for at least one minute. For weaker disinfectants like Benzalkonium chloride, a surface has to be coated with the disinfectant agent for at least 10 minutes at 0.05% concentration to be effective.
Sixty seconds or a minute is the average time needed for a disinfectant solution like bleach to kill most, if not all, viral or bacterial particles on an affected surface. This is also the reason why doctors recommend that people avoid wiping away alcohol gels as soon as these are applied because the alcohol gel has to stay on the hands for at least one minute to kill any viruses lurking there.
How to Make Bleach spray
As we continue to battle COVID-19, we must know how to create the proper disinfectants for application at home. Bleach is an effective way to disinfect possibly contaminated areas at home. Take note that bleach expires exactly one year after production, and it has to be stored properly to maintain its effectiveness. Homemade bleach solutions must be used within 24 hours of the formulation. After 24 hours, they have to be remade or reformulated.
This is how to make bleach disinfectant at home:
The WHO and CDC recommendations for homemade disinfectant solutions require 2% to 10% sodium hypochlorite (as an active ingredient in the commercial bleach product) and cool tap water. Use the following ratios to ensure that your bleach spray or solution is at top potency for wiping out COVID-19 and other human pathogens:
- 15 ml 2% strength bleach – 240 ml of water
- 10 ml 3% strength bleach – 240 ml of water
- 5 ml 4% strength bleach – 240 ml of water
- 6 ml 5% strength bleach – 240 ml water
- 5 ml 7% strength bleach – 240 ml of water
- 75 ml 8% strength bleach – 240 ml of water
- 5 ml 9% strength bleach – 240 ml of water
- 3 ml 10% strength bleach – 240 ml water
Follow the correct bleach disinfectant ratio to ensure that your bleach spray will work well in cleaning and disinfecting surfaces at home. Take note of the strength of the bleach (the active ingredient) before measuring how many milliliters you need per 240 ml of cool tap water. Take note that the bleach solution needs to remain in contact with the surface for at least five minutes (this is the minimum) to be optimally effective, especially in heavily soiled areas.
If your bleach solution expires after 24 hours, simply drain it and make another solution using the ratios we recommended. Do not mix bleach with ammonia and other household cleaners.