Preparing Household Bleach as a Disinfectant

Adapted from Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Guideline for Selection and Use of Disinfectants.

The solution must be made fresh daily to preserve strength.

Household bleach solution is 5.25% sodium hypochlorite solution (50,000 parts per million available chlorine)
Level requiredWhen to be used - See table two on disinfectionHow to mix the bleach solution
High-Level Disinfection

1:50 dilution of bleach (one part bleach: 49 parts water)
Use on semi-critical items: items that may accidentally penetrate skin and/or come into contact with blood or body fluids. Also use to clean surfaces following contact with blood or body fluids or where sterilization is not possible.

Contact time: less than 20 minutes
Ten milliliter bleach with 495 milliliter water or two teaspoons bleach with two cups water
Intermediate-level Disinfection

1:50 dilution of bleach (one part bleach: 49 parts water)
Use on semi-critical items: items that may accidentally penetrate skin and/or come into contact with blood or body fluids (example hair clippers, cuticle scissors)

Contact time: less than ten minutes
Ten milliliter bleach with 495 milliliter water or two teaspoon bleach with two cups water
Low-level Disinfection

1:500 dilution of bleach (one part bleach: 499 parts water)
Use on non-critical items: items that come in contact but do not penetrate intact skin, or those that do not ordinarily touch the client. These items do not contact blood or body fluids. May be used for routine housekeeping (example floors or surfaces).

Contact time: less than ten minutes.
Five milliliter bleach with 2.5 litres water or one teaspoon bleach with 10 cups water

Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Personal Services Settings, January 2009.

January 2013