bleach storage and expiration

Prepping with Bleach
Bleach storage and expiration tips for preppers

A word of warning for preppers on bleach: Never use bleach in
an enclosed area (you need proper ventilation).

Bleach has another name: it's sodium hypochlorite, and it is a
substance, which is extremely useful for preppers, but for which
also comes with caution.

Certainly bleach is high on the list of prepper necessities because
it helps reduce impurities and bacteria. Yet there are some
cautions and better alternatives. Here are ten things preppers
need to know about bleach...

Prepper Alert: Ten Things to Know About Bleach (Before you
Buy Too Much)

There's no doubt that bleach is useful to preppers, but sodium
hypochlorite, otherwise known as bleach, comes with a host of

#1: Bleach purifies water, but it's a carcinogen.
Chlorinatiing your drinking water will oxidize the organic
contaminants and will produce cancer causing  trihalomethanes.
In other words bleach is carcinogenic! However,  when boiling
water is not an option available and you have no other water
purification methods available, then consider bleach to purify your

As a reminder, bleach wasn't intended for human consumption;
however, FEMA advises emergency disinfection of water with
bleach as a last resort. FEMA's "recipe" is about 8 drops of bleach
for each gallon of water. See FEMA for more on
emergency water

  • Bleach can help battle cholera! On the Oregon trail
    pioneers didn't die of attacks from Native Americans, they
    died of Cholera (an infection in the small intestine caused by
    the bacterium)... "Chlorination and boiling are often the least
    expensive and most effective means of halting transmission"
    of cholera, however, it's important to know that bleach
    wasn't intended for human consumption.

#2: Bleach is sodium hypochlorite (a poison).
While it may be okay for human consumption in diluted volumes,
it's important to know that
sodium hypochlorite can lead to
poisoning! Sodium hypochlorite is an extremely dangerous and
corrosive substance. It can cause extreme damage to skin and
eyes that come into contact. For this reason alone, you should
heed extreme caution before considering purifying water with it.

Because sodium hypochlorite is a poison, make sure you:
  • Never use bleach in an enclosed area (you need proper
  • Don't mix ammonia and bleach as it produces an noxious
  • If possible, use gloves and eye protection when handling

#3: Avoid scented bleach for water purification!
Scented bleach will useless for purifying your water because of
the added chemicals! Avoid bleaches that contain perfumes, dyes
and other additives. You have better alternatives:
  • Two acceptable brands of unscented bleach are Clorox or
    Purex. These household bleach options have between 5
    percent and 6 percent chlorine. Again, make sure they are
  • See also the recommended water treatment products, above.

#4: Bleach will help you clean your dishes with minimal water.
To wash dishes in the scouting method, you'll need a bucket for
your composting to scrape off the excess food. Then you'll need
three tubs. Fill the first tub with water to rinse food from the
pots, plates and utensils*. Fill the second tub with warm soapy
water to clean your dishes. Finally, fill the third tub with water
and a teaspoon or tablespoon of chlorine bleach (unscented). This
is the final rinse to sanitize. Finally, hang your dishes out to dry!

* Note: Wash knives separately. Why? You don't want to risk
getting cut accidentally. Having the knives washed
simultaneously will keep you alert for this potential hazard.

#5: Bleach expires, so if you choose to use it, rotate it.
Yes, check the bottle and you will see that bleach indeed has an
expiration date!
Bleach expires after about three to six months.
Even though you'll have expired bleach on your hands, don't dump
your rotation of it. Just mark the bottle expired with a Sharpie
marker. An "X" for expired will do if you inform your party about
this method. While it's expired, it doesn't mean you need to
throw away your bleach. You'll still find the liquid useful for
helping you deal with the unpleasantries of sanitation. It could
cut the smells of sewage.

  • Tip on what to do with expired bleach: add a big X on the
    bottle, so you'll know that it has expired. Now you'll have
    liquid useful for flushing your sanitation.

  • Need a bleach alternative? Look to Steramine tablets,
    pictured right. Just one bottle of 150 Steramine Sanitizing
    Tablets will help you make 150 gallons of cleaning solution
    (1 tablet per gallon of water).

#6: You'll need bleach alternatives for water purification.
Because bleach expires you'll need alternatives for water
purification tablets and filtration. To that end, here are some
bleach alternatives for preppers:

  • At home: We recommend a Big Berkey Water filter, pictured
    left. There are fluoride water filters for the Big Berkey that
    also remove arsenic from your water, but they will eventually
    expire with use. The ceramic filters work indefinitely! There
    is a portable version, but it's really intended for car camping.
    Store one in your bugout location, just don't bring it with you
    on your travels

  • In the bug-out bag: For your bugout bag or bugout vehicle,
    consider LifeStraw, a Katadyn water filter, or AquaMira at the
    bottom of the page.

  • Emergency cache. Water treatment tablets are an ideal
    item to stash in your emergency caches because they don't
    take up much space at all and they will rid your water of
    giardia and bacteria to give you peace of mind for potable
    water. Pictured at the top of the page, Potable Aqua tablets
    are water treatment tablets good for up to 25 gallons of
    water. Stash up on them as your life may depend on it!

#7: Your tap water already contains acceptable levels of
Tap water typically has a chlorine concentration of 1 part per
million (ppm). Municipalities vary from 0.2 ppm to 4 ppm, which is
safe. Some municipalities add fluoride.

#8: Swimming pools contain dangerous levels of bleach.
Swimming pools contain as much as 4 parts per million of bleach.
While this is correct amount for swimming to keep the water free
of algae and bacteria, it is highly unacceptable and dangerous
water to drink. Thinking of using your pool water reserves? Using
an above-ground pool as a reserve of water in preparation for a
catastrophic event is an option many preppers employ. Avoid pool
bleach or your water will not be a potable option.

#9: Bleach can aggravate asthma.
If anyone in your home has asthma or breathing problems, you'll
want to steer clear of bleach, particularly because there may not
be a doctor around and bleach can aggravate asthma.

A safer
alternative to bleach, which is hydrogen peroxide for
sensitive individuals.

#10: Bleach is a pesticide.
Bleach can prevent, destroy, or repel pests. Bleach disinfects and
kills germs, which means it is a pesticide. This is not a pretty
picture if you're thinking of consuming it. Bleach has been used to
kill bed bugs in particular, in situations of extreme invasion. Bed
bugs must come in direct contact with bleach to kill them, which
is why you use bleach to wash bedding infected with bed bugs.

An important not is that sodium hypochlorite is an "antimicrobial
pesticide"however it will not deactivate Giardia Lambia and

Is it okay to use pool chlorine to disinfect your drinking water
in an emergency?
No! The chlorine found in swimming pool
chemicals are calcium or sodium hypochlorite, which are
"antimicrobial pesticides." It is a corrosive substance. Pool
chemicals do disinfect the water; however, it boils down to having
an appropriate dosing strategy. Too much sodium hypochlorite
will burn body tissue and cause damage to air tracts, stomach
and intestines, and worse, yet, disease-causing organisms may
lurk at the wrong dosage.  Also, it's important to note that
neither sodium hypochlorite nor chlorine will deactivate Giardia
Lambia and Cryptosporidium.

So there you have it.
Bleach helps disinfect surfaces
contaminated with Ebola and Bleach expires! A good alternative
to bleach is Steramine tablets. One  bottle makes 150 gallons of
cleaning solution.

Final thoughts...
Preppers have a long list of uses for bleach:
  1. Helps prevent cholera. This often fatal bacterial disease of
    the small intestine causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, and
    comes about from infected water supplies.
  2. Disinfects cutting boards and butcher blocks.
  3. Gets rid of slippery moss and algae on bricks, and kills
  4. Kills insect eggs. Try pouring some bleach into standing
  5. Cleans trash cans.
  6. Removes odors, mold and mildew.
  7. Kills cold and flu viruses from counter tops, cabinetry and
  8. Kills Ebola contagion. Kills Ebola on surfaces.
  9. Gets rid of slippery moss and algae on bricks, and kills
  10. Kills insect eggs. Try pouring some bleach into standing

One thing's for sure: bleach is useful for preppers, but it's good to
be educated  about the best alternatives, and proper usage.

Happy endings...
Life can be "bleachy clean" if you use bleach properly during an
emergency. Be prepared with bleach.

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