Don’t use old bleach; it goes bad.

Maybe everyone else already knew this, but I recently learned that bleach goes bad. My daughter wanted help making a pattern on some clothing with bleach, so we put some bleach in a cup and she used a paintbrush to draw the pattern. And nothing happened. We repeated the process, and again, nothing at all.

I was quite dumbfounded, so I did some googling. It looks like everyone knew about this except for me; bleach degrades over time. It has a shelf life of only six months, and starts to degrade after that. Bleach won’t be worthless after six months, but it degrades by 20% per year after that. The bottle of bleach I was using was nearly six years old and was completely ineffective at that point. And if bleach is mixed with water, the solution is only good for about a week.

We bought a new bottle of bleach and it did the trick exactly like I expected. From now on, I’ll write the purchase date on any bottles of bleach I buy, and I’ll only use fresh bleach. It’s safe to dispose of up to five gallons of bleach by pouring it down a sink connected to a municipal waste system. Flush it down with water when you do it to help dilute it.

Related Post: Moldy shower caulk… fixed!

Written By

Reuben is a second-generation home inspector with a passion for his work. He grew up remodeling homes and learning about carpentry since he was old enough to hold a hammer. Reuben grew up thinking he was going to be a school teacher because he enjoyed teaching others so much. In a sense, that’s a lot of what home inspections are about, so Reuben truly does what he loves. Sharlene has worked with Structure Tech since 2000 and Reuben has been contributing to her blog since 2008.

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