When must disinfectant solution in a spray bottle be discarded?

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According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the maintenance of hand hygiene involves cleaning hands using water and soap, antiseptic hand rubs, antiseptic hand washes including surgical hand antisepsis, gels or foams, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers (ABHS).

Globally, people have adopted disinfectants as a measure to prevent the infection of the COVID-19 virus. Other than coronavirus, some other viruses and germs lurk around homes, and that’s why regular cleaning and disinfection are essential. Chidambaranathan and Balasubramanium (2019)’s study indicated that the increasing use of the solutions today arises perhaps because of its proven efficacy and ease of availability for reducing microbial load. Here is a guideline on when to discard the available disinfectant solution in a spray bottle.

The advantages of bleach

Bleach is probably the most commonly used disinfectant in the world. And you can use it to disinfect your home, food contact surfaces, and remove stubborn stains on your clothes. Klemeš, Van Fan, and Jiang, (2020) stated that it has been used for centuries and has proven to be effective against germs and viruses. Just a small fraction of it mixed with water can do wonders around your home thereby contributes a great deal to your family’s health. Compared to many other disinfectants, bleach is mostly affordable, given that you only need to mix a small amount of it with water means a gallon can go a long way.

It has excellent quality that leaves white clothes brighter after wash. Non-chlorinated bleach is a great alternative when cleaning non-colorfast material clothes. Most people don’t know that bleach does more than just cleaning your laundry. It has a robust sterilizing property that kills germs as it leaves your clothes and your household in general sparkling. Other than that, bleach can also pose some medical benefits for you and your family because it kills pathogens around your home. It can remove even mold and mildews from non-porous, hard surfaces too. When mixing bleach, you need to mix ¾ cup of bleach with a gallon of water, which should be sufficient to rid your home of these harmful microorganisms.

The disadvantages of bleach

Celina et al. (2020) pointed out that as much as bleach is effective in cleaning and disinfection practices, it also has its downside. And bleach can be corrosive when used on a surface material that is not suitable. Its corrosive feature can also be harmful to your respiratory systems if inhaled, so you should take extra precautions, especially when scrubbing surfaces that require you to have your head low (for example, cleaning the outside of a toilet, etc.). Chlorine gas is heavier than oxygen and sinks at the bottom of the room. That is one reason why it is always advised that before you start handling bleach, the first thing to do is to ensure that the room is well ventilated.

After ventilation, you need protective gear. Singh et al. (2020) highlighted that people should wear a mask that will prevent the chemical gases from entering your respiratory system, and wear an apron as advised during cleaning. It would help if you also had eye goggles for potential splash hazards (because the chemical might damage your eyes). And finally, you need rubber gloves because your hands come into contact with the bleach, and direct contact can cause skin irritation. Concentrated bleach can be too challenging for materials and can cause damage to the surface it’s applied to. So it’s necessary to add it to water using the correct ratio.  You should mix just enough for a particular disinfection process because it loses its strength after one day when in a diluted state. So after you are done cleaning, you can dispose of what’s left.



Chidambaranathan, A. S., & Balasubramanium, M. (2019). Comprehensive review and comparison of the disinfection techniques currently available in the literature. Journal of Prosthodontics28(2), e849-e856.

Celina, M., Martinez, E., Omana, M. A., Sanchez, A., Wiemann, D., Tezak, M., & Dargaville, T. R. (2020). Extended use of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic-Thermal conditioning and spray-on surface disinfection. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 109251.

Klemeš, J. J., Van Fan, Y., & Jiang, P. (2020). The energy and environmental footprints of COVID-19 fighting measures–PPE, disinfection, supply chains. Energy211, 118701.

Singh, P., Potlia, I., Malhotra, S., Dubey, H., & Chauhan, H. (2020). Hand Sanitizer an Alternative to Hand Washing—A Review of Literature. Journal of Advanced Oral Research11(2), 137-142.

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