Does bleach exist in a natural form?

No, bleach is a composite solution of sodium hypochlorite (the active ingredient) and water.

When was bleach discovered/invented?

In 1785, the French chemist Berthollet discovered the decolouring properties of a solution of sodium hypochlorite when he was bleaching textiles. This happened in the village of Javel (currently a neighbourhood in the 15th District of Paris). Hence the name javel water.

Does bleach smell like chlorine?

Bleach does not smell like chlorine. It smells like bleach! Chlorine gas can only be released when bleach is inadvertently brought in contact with an acid.

Why does the water in swimming pools sting your eyes?

In swimming pools, bleach is used to prevent pollution caused by microbes by responding to the organic elements in the impurities that are transferred by the swimmers. Therefore, it is possible that chlorinated compounds are formed that have an irritant or malodorous effect. This actually means that the amount of bleach in the swimming pool is insufficient, rather than too large.

How is it that tap water smells/tastes like bleach?

Water must be treated to make it potable. It can happen that water has a pronounced taste, because the treatment of the water required the addition of a significant amount of javel water. This may be the case during hot weather or when work is being done on the basin. To get rid of that taste, simply place the water in the refrigerator or add a few drops of lemon juice.

Should you drink milk after you have ingested bleach?

No! Milk does not neutralise bleach. If you have ingested bleach, you should drink a lot of cold water. Do not vomit and contact the nearest poison control centre if the poisoning seems serious.

Is bleach an acid?

Bleach is not an acid; bleach is an alkaline product. This means that contact between bleach and an acid can cause a chemical reaction.

In what forms is bleach available?

There are 2 forms of bleach available to consumers:

  • concentrated: with 48 to 50° chlorine (Chl.).
  • ready-to-use: with 8°, 10°, 12°, 15° chlorine. The latter is packaged in barrels of 1, 2, or 5 litres.

Can concentrated bleach be used over and over again?

The concentrated bleach may only be used if it is diluted with 3/4 of a litre of cold water. This in fact creates bleach with 12% Chl. Dilution should only be done in an empty bleach bottle and never in another bottle, in order to avoid accidents.

Must bleach always be used in combination with cold water?

For disinfection purposes, cold or lukewarm water suffices.

Is the shelf life of concentrated bleach the same as that of ready-to-use bleach?

Concentrated bleach must be diluted within 3 months following the date of purchase. Ready-to-use bleach (12% Chl.) can be kept for 6 months without a noticeable loss of effect). Storing bleach for a longer period does not destroy it. However, the active ingredient does decrease. Simply add a little more to the water.

How should the bleach bottles and dilutions be stored?

Like all maintenance products, the bottles should be stored out of the reach of children, high enough and – if possible – locked away. Bleach keeps the longest in a dark and cool place.

May surfaces that come into contact with food be treated with bleach?

In kitchens, worktops and kitchenware may be washed with bleach, as long as the prescribed dosage and recommended contact time are observed. Rinsing the dishes after disinfection is obligatory.

Can stains on the bottom of a saucepan be removed with bleach?

Saucepans that are made of enamel or glass (not pans made of inox or aluminium) can be de-stained with 10° Chl. bleach. Contact with the dirty sides is allowed for 1 to 2 hours. Afterwards, pour out the bleach, bring some water to boil to remove odours, then rinse with tap water.

Can bleach be used to deodorise a refrigerator?

Yes, bleach disinfects and deodorises a refrigerator. Use 2 to 3 cl. Of 10° Chl. bleach per litre of water, let sit for 5 minutes and then rinse.

Can bleach be mixed with a descaling agent?

No. Mixing bleach and an acid (such as a descaling agent) releases chlorine gas, which is poisonous. If javel has mistakenly come into contact with a descaling agent, you must leave immediately and – if possible – ventilate the area.

Can bleach be used to clean toilets?

Yes. Toilets are a source of contamination. Regular disinfection is therefore necessary. Treat the sides of the toilet, let sit for 5 minutes and then flush.

Will that cause a problem for septic tanks?

Toilets can be treated twice a week without it causing problems for the septic tank. Bleach that comes into contact with organic ingredients quickly disappears and the remaining – very small – amount will certainly not hinder the tank’s functioning.

Can bleach be mixed with a floor polish?

No. Bleach must always be used on its own. Mixing it with household products hinders the cleaning and disinfection function. To perfectly disinfect a surface, it must first be washed and rinsed with pure water, then treated with bleach.

What textile fibres do not tolerate bleach?

All fibres of animal origin (wool, silk…) must not be treated with bleach. All other fibres can tolerate bleach, although the dosage is different for each fibre. Watch out with coloured fabrics: they may change colour!

What about modern textiles?

No problem. To disinfect modern textiles, 1/2 a glass of 10° Chl. bleach in the compartment of the washing machine is sufficient, or 1/4 of a glass in 10 litres of water. Watch out with coloured fabrics: they may change colour!