Common household bleach is a must have during a long-term disaster because it helps reduce bacteria, many viruses and impurities in water.
In this article, the various survival uses for bleach is listed and some important things preppers need to know about bleach are also noted.
9 Survival Uses of Bleach
1. Purify Water
If you can’t boil water and there are no other water purification methods available, you can opt to purify water and make it safe to drink with regular, unscented bleach. According to epa.gov;
“Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1⁄8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.”
Here’s a water-bleach ratio table for your reference:
NOTE: Don’t use scented bleach for water purification, because this has added chemicals that are unnecessary for water purification. Also, avoid bleaches with dyes and other additives. You can use regular household bleach from Clorox or Purex or other bleach brand that only have between 5 percent and 6 percent chlorine and sodium hypochlorite as active ingredient. Don’t use pool chlorine to disinfect water.
2. Sanitize your infant’s eating utensils.
Clean baby bottles, nipples, sippy cups, etc. with soap and water. Prepare a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Submerge the baby utensils in the solution for 2-3 minutes and then drain and air dry.
3. Disinfect cutting boards.
After cleaning your cutting board with soap and water, soak it in a bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water) for five minutes before draining and allowing it to air dry.
4. Remove stains from china and porcelain.
Those stains in your china and porcelain are a breeding ground for germs. Remove those by soaking clean dishes in a bleach solution (2 tablespoons of bleach to 1 gallon of water) for 10 minutes. Rinse china and air dry.
5. Wash questionable vegetables and fruit with bleach solution.
Washing vegetables and fruits in a bleach solution gets rid of germs that may be in them. Mix 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water and soak vegetable or fruit in it for 2 minutes before cooking or eating.
6. Kill airborne viruses.
You can get rid of any viruses that can cause illness by spraying a bleach solution in the bathroom, kitchen or sick room. Mix bleach half by half with water in a misting bottle then liberally spray into the air to destroy germs.
7. Get rid of mold and mildew.
Remove mold and mildew on surfaces by flooding the area with ¾ cup of bleach per gallon of water. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing lightly and sensing off.
8. Deodorize water containers.
Thermos bottles, ice coolers and other containers can be deodorized by soaking them in a bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach to a gallon) for 2 minutes. Drain and air dry.
9. Use bleach to kill insect pests
Pour some bleach into standing water to kill young mosquito. Bleach can also be used to kill bed bugs (bed bugs must come in direct contact with bleach to kill them).
Some Important Things to Know About Bleach
1. Sodium hypochlorite is poison!
When diluted in volumes, sodium hypochlorite is acceptable for human consumption. However, if swallowed undiluted, it can lead to poisoning. Sodium hypochlorite is a dangerous corrosive substance so you must be cautious when choosing to use bleach to purify water and make sure you stick to recommendations. See table above and visit the EPA page as well. Never mix bleach and ammonia because it produces a noxious vapor. Read more about sodium hypochlorite here.
2. Bleach expires, make sure you rotate your stock.
The shelf life of bleach is about 6 months. Expired bleach cannot be used to purify water but can be used for other things like removing mold from surfaces, getting rid of toilet bowl stains or cutting the smells of sewage.
3. Always have bleach alternatives.
Since bleach expires, you need to have alternative means to purify water like water purification tablets and filter systems.
I recommend the LifeStraw which is a simple water filter that can be used by anyone; just suck water through it and the filter can make dirty water drinkable. According to tests conducted, the filter can remove 99.9999% of bacteria including vibrio cholera and salmonella and 99.9% of protozoa like entamoeba histolytica. It can filter more than 250 gallons of water which is really impressive because traditional filters can only filter 20 gallons or more! Also, you will know you’ve reached the limit when water can no longer be sucked. This filter can be used by one person for more than a year in an emergency situation. It’s highly portable so you can include it in your BOB.
For the your home or bug out location, I recommend a Big Berkey Water filter. There are fluoride water filters for it that can remove arsenic from water (but they expire with use). The ceramic filters however work indefinitely.
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