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15 Brilliant Uses For Bleach You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

If you're only using bleach on your laundry, you're tapping just a fraction of its potential. Check out these clever uses for bleach all around the house.

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Uses for bleach - clean flowerpotsPhoto: Shutterstock

Uses for bleach in the garden

Try using bleach to clean flower pots and plants. “By cleaning your containers it helps prevent the transfer of molds and diseases from old plants to new ones,” Byrne says. To disinfect, wash and rinse pots and planters by soaking them in a solution of half a cup of bleach to one gallon of water for at least five minutes before rinsing with water. Your garden and home could also benefit from these clever uses for vinegar.

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Uses for bleach - clean garbage cansPhoto: Shutterstock

Freshen up your garbage cans with bleach


Although garbage cans hold your trash and possibly garbage from an indoor cleaning session, the cans themselves need a good clean with bleach, too. Wash with soapy water and rinse. Then deodorize and sanitize the cans with a mixture of half a cup of bleach per three-quarters of a gallon of water. Swish this solution over the inside of the can and let it sit for two minutes before rinsing.

You’ll also want to avoid these common mistakes people make when cleaning with bleach.

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Uses for bleach - preserve fresh cut flowersPhoto: Shutterstock

Keep fresh cut flowers alive


If you don’t have a green thumb, you can still use bleach to keep store-bought flowers alive. Smell your freshly cut flowers for longer by keeping them in cold water with a quarter teaspoon of bleach per quart of water, according to Byrne.

Psst—a variation of this hack made our list of clever new uses for plastic wrap!

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Uses for bleach - clean litter boxPhoto: Shutterstock

Eliminate litter box odour


Put an end to unpleasant cat box odours with bleach, which kills odour-causing germs, according to Byrne. Wash the litter box with sudsy water and rinse. Then wipe it down with a solution of half a cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Wait five minutes before rinsing. Check out more home hacks for effortless pet odour removal.

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Uses for bleach - bathroom moldPhoto: Shutterstock

Clean off mold and mildew with bleach


Bleach not only removes mold and mildew stains, but also kills the fungus, says Byrne. “By killing the fungus, you no longer have to worry about the harmful effects that mold can have to your family’s health,” she says. Remove mold and mildew from your bathroom tiles with a mixture of equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle. Let it sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it off and rinsing. Check out more bathroom cleaning tips from the pros.

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Uses for bleach - keep Christmas trees freshPhoto: Shutterstock

Use bleach to keep your Christmas tree alive longer


Keep the holiday spirit around just a bit longer with the help of bleach. According to Julia Byrne, a product developer, bleach at Clorox, you can prolong the life of your freshly cut tree with an easy mixture. Use a solution of two teaspoons of bleach per half a gallon of hot water, plus one cup of corn syrup, and an eighth of a cup of powdered iron from your local nursery. This mixture goes into your tree stand bowl instead of plain water, Byrne says.

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Uses for bleach - cleaning kids toysPhoto: Shutterstock

Use bleach to clean toys


Legos and other hard, non-porous objects such as kids toys could definitely benefit from bleach, especially if they are second-hand. “Bleach is perfect for disinfecting second-hand products because you can disinfect a lot of items with a small amount of bleach at a time,” Byrne says. Here’s what to do: add half a cup of bleach per gallon of water. Then wipe the surface with the bleach solution and let it sit on the surface for at least five minutes. Rinse it well with water and let it air dry.

Check out more spring cleaning tips that make disinfecting a total breeze.

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Uses for bleach - secondhand white beddingPhoto: Shutterstock

Brighten and clean second-hand white linens


So you want to keep high thread count hand-me-down sheets without handing down any gross germs or bacteria. When washing, add two-thirds of a cup of bleach to your standard machine or one-third of a cup of bleach to your high-efficiency machine along with regular detergent. Ensure that the bleach contacts the clothes for ten minutes, Byrne says.

These brilliant laundy hacks make cleaning your clothes less of a chore.

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Uses for bleach - make glass sparklePhoto: Shutterstock

Use bleach to brighten up glass dishware


Put the sparkle back in your glasses and dishes by adding a teaspoon of bleach to your soapy dishwasher as you’re washing your glassware. Be sure to rinse well, and dry with a soft towel.

Don’t miss these pro tips on how to clean the dirtiest items in your home.

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Uses for bleach - DIY cleaning solutionPhoto: Shutterstock

Make a DIY spray to use on most surfaces


Sealed tile, wood, countertops and plastic are all hard, non-porous surfaces that are safe for bleach. Create your own disinfecting spray with a combination of two cups of water and one tablespoon of bleach. Plus, bleach is good for cleaning glass and porcelain dishware because it doesn’t streak as much as some other cleaners, according to Byrne.

Check out more cleaning shortcuts that will save you time, money and effort.

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Uses for bleach - weed killerPhoto: Shutterstock

Use bleach to kill weeds

Do weeds seem to thrive in the cracks and crevices of your walkways? Try pouring a bit of undiluted bleach over them. After a day or two, you can simply pull them out, and the bleach will keep them from coming back. Just be careful not to get bleach on the grass or plantings bordering the walkway.

Want to make your outdoor chores even easier? These yard tool hacks can help!

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Uses for bleach - clean butcher blockPhoto: Shutterstock

Use bleach to clean butcher’s block

Don’t even think about using furniture polish or any other household cleaner to clean a butcher block cutting board or countertop. Instead, scrub the surface with a brush dipped in a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach diluted in 2 litres water. Scrub in small circles, and be careful not to saturate the wood. Wipe with a slightly damp paper towel, then immediately buff dry with a clean cloth.

Giving your whole home a thorough cleaning? These toothbrush cleaning hacks will come in handy.

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Uses for bleach - make porcelain shinePhoto: Shutterstock

Use bleach to make white porcelain shine

Want to get your white porcelain sink, candleholder or pottery looking as good as new? In a well-ventilated area on a work surface protected by heavy plastic, place several paper towels over the item (or across the bottom of the sink) and carefully saturate them with undiluted bleach. Let soak for 15 minutes to a half hour, then rinse and wipe dry with a clean towel.

Note: Do not try this with antiques; you can diminish their value or cause damage. And never use bleach on coloured porcelain, because the colour will fade.

Here are 25 more cleaning tips that actually work.

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Uses for bleach - remove moss from sidewalkPhoto: Shutterstock

Use bleach to get rid of moss and algae

To remove slippery and unsightly moss and algae on your brick, concrete, or stone walkways, scrub them with a solution of 3/4-cup bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 litres) water. Be careful not to get bleach on your ornamental plants or grass.

Don’t miss 13 more things you should never do to your lawn.

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Uses for bleach - clean folding lawn chairsPhoto: Shutterstock

Clean plastic lawn furniture

Is your plastic-mesh lawn furniture looking dingy? Before you place it curbside, try washing it with some mild detergent mixed with 1/2-cup bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 litres) water. Rinse it clean, then air-dry.

Next, find out 20 clever new uses for ammonia.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest