Cleaning and Sanitizing With Bleach after an Emergency
Cleaning and sanitizing your household after an emergency is important to help prevent the spread of illness and disease.
First, wash surfaces with soap and warm, clean water to remove dirt and debris. Next, sanitize surfaces with household bleach.
It is critical to read and follow the safety instructions on any product you use. Below are the most important safety guidelines when using sanitizing products:
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.
- Wear rubber or other non-porous boots, gloves, and eye protection.
- Try not to breathe in product fumes. If using products indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter.
Cleaning & Sanitizing with Bleach
Use regular unscented 5%—6% household bleach and follow the instructions in the chart below.
|Area or Item to be Cleaned||Amount of Bleach and Water to Mix||Cleaning Steps|
|Bleach Amount||Water Amount|
|Clean and Sanitize Food Cans and Surfaces|
|Food surfaces that may have touched flood water [Examples: countertops, plates] Note: Throw away wooden cutting boards, baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers||1 teaspoon
|Food cans that are not bulging, open, or damaged||1 cup
|Clean and Sanitize Other Household Surfaces and Items|
|Surfaces that do not soak up water and that may have touched floodwater [Examples: floors, stoves, sinks, certain toys, countertops, flatware, plates, and tools]||1 cup
|Clean Mold Growth Off Hard Surfaces|
|Mold growth on hard surfaces [Examples: floors, stoves, sinks, certain toys, countertops, flatware, plates, and tools]||1 cup
For more information see:
Protect Yourself from Mold
Be aware that flood water may be contaminated. For more information about how to protect yourself and your family, visit Cleanup of Flood Water.
- Page last reviewed February 1, 2011
- Page last updated February 1, 2011
- Content source: Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services, National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Office of Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury and Environmental Health
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