How Old Is Your Bleach?

Wow, my eyes have been opened, about bleach that is! One of the things I stocked up on before my move was Clorox bleach, mainly for use in disinfecting and cleaning, but also as a water purifier if need be, well I just found out that bleach has a very definate shelf life, it’s 6 months, yes, I said 6 months! It is recommended that you replace or rotate your liquid bleach every 3 months. That’s so scary because I have 3 or 4 large jugs of bleach that I haven’t even opened yet, these were purchased before December, now it’s September, so it seems that my supply of bleach may not be as strong as I thought it would be.

Fortunately, there is an alternative, you can get powdered bleach used in pools, it’s calcium hypochlorite, also known as pool shock. If you do this, be sure to get the kind that has no extra additives, you don’t want any added algicides or antifungals in it.
I haven’t tried this, I can only assume it’s safe to use like this, at least as safe as using liquid bleach. I did a search for calcium hypochlorite and potable water, I have learned that some big city water treatment processing plants are switching from sodium hypochlorite (liquid bleach like Chlorox) to calcium hypochlorite, so it seems to be safe to use in this manner. You will need to get the granular form, not the tablets.
Using calcium hypochlorite is cheaper too, a one pound bag can treat up to 10,000 gallons of water, and in the dried form, it should last quite a long time. I will be looking for calcium hypochlorite when I go back to my previous stomping grounds in a few weeks, I’ll be stocking up on some things that I didn’t know I would need at the time when I moved out here.
Here are the sources where I got this info, check them out:

7 Responses

  1. I’ve had bleach several years old and didn’t have a problem with it’s cleaning ability.

    As for purifying water, Survival Enterprises also has Silver Water, which I highly recommend (I strongly do not recommend any other silver water–search internet on “silver water” for reasons why). That said, I do use their stabilized oxygen to extend the life of water I distill myself.


  2. Judy
    I could find very little on line in reference to using this in potable water, I suspect it may be that it hasn’t been tested specifically for this purpose, it may be safe, it appears that when added to water it releases oxygen and soda ash, here is one thing I found,

    “Sodium Percarbonate
    Sodium Percarbonate is an addition compound of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. It is a white crystalline water-soluble chemical compound. When used in detergent or bleach, it has strong stain removal capability. It is very effective as a laundry presoak for heavily stained articles. It is color safe and brightens colors and prevents fabric from becoming yellowed or darkened. Additionally, it is effective as a disinfectant on both bacteria and viruses. For its environmental advantages, sodium percarbonate is a good oxygen release chemical for agricultural applications.”,

    I’ll have to do more research before I would be willing to try it, do you have any links in regard to adding this to potable water?

    I’ve looked into that, and I like the idea, thanks for the reminder. :)

    Thanks everyone!


  3. There are a couple of other substances which can be used as bleach/disinfectant, which are probably safer still, and relatively low-cost. One is sodium percabonate, which is powder, or rather very fine granules, which when dissolved with hot water fizz quite a bit, creating a lot of oxygen. Not quite sure what the cleaning/disinfecting mechanism is, but it works quite well. As it is quite soapy, I often use it alone without washing powder for washing whites. In the UK it is sold (alas, now with perfume) as Oxyclean, and in its plain version by Ecover and is considered one of the most environmentally safe bleaches. You may get it in a drug store if you just ask for the generic term. It has no shelf life, but needs to be kept dry. If it combines with too much atmospheric moisture, you see a marked decrease in fizz. Probably no good for water purifying, but a filter should do the job. I have no problems with my filter on its own (a Berkefeld ceramic drip filter).

    The other bleach would be hydro-gen pero-xide (remove hyphens)- but watch the fe-ds, since it may be classed as an ingredient for you-know-what.

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