Info Bleg: Commonly-Available Chlorine Types For Disinfecting And Water Purification

For the chemistry-literate amongst the commentariat, an open thread for advice on how to use commonly-available chlorine products for a) topical disinfectants and b) water purification.

Show your work.

Provide supporting source materials.


48 responses to “Info Bleg: Commonly-Available Chlorine Types For Disinfecting And Water Purification

  1. This would be good/great information to archive especially for us who live in rural areas …………..

  2. info sent via email

  3. This is the best info that I have yet found.
    Calcium Hypochlorite / Pool Shock Water Treatment

  4. Water purification:
    8 drops of unscented household bleach per gallon (double that for cold water, or especially cloudy/muddy solutions).
    Source(s): Military survival training, CA Emergency Svcs earthquake preparedness info, and even the EPA website:

    Surface disinfection:
    A 1:10 mixture of household bleach in water, left in place for 10 minutes.
    (i.e. 1 cup of 5.25% standard household bleach plus 9 cups water)
    Source: CDC Disinfection guidelines

    • “A 1:10 mixture of household bleach in water, left in place for 10 minutes.

      I can’t emphasize the time for disinfecting enough. If you have the time, do it twice.

  5. Cheesy site overall, but reasonably good info here:

    Graphite, titanium, salt, DC power, and water.

  6. And for goodness sake, don’t just say ‘pool chlorine’ for water purification Instruct us, ” x/x teaspoon per gallon. Stir to dissolve and let set for ___ minutes.”
    Chances are your local Walmart has shelf-stable bags of pool chlorine on clearance in the back corner…for now.

  7. The problem with chlorine is it doesn’t store well from my experience.
    It oxidizes everything.
    If someone has a good idea on storage, I’d like to hear it.

  8. Dakin’s Solution is used in US hospitals for certain specific, topical issues. I applied it on a patient’s wound. She was taking immune system control drugs because she was a kidney transplant recipient. She had a TB infection of her skin on the back of her calf, which had been surgically removed by full thickness skin removal. The Dakin’s was poured on a gauze pad and placed as a bandage pad, then wrapped with gauze to hold it in place.'s-misc/details

    • Pat,
      Thank you for this information.

      On a slightly different note I think everyone should have some hibiclense in their first aid packs. I had good experience with this on a wound I opted not to stitch up. Really pleased with results. (no I didn’t intuitionally wound myself).

      • Great product, but be CAREFUL with it around eyes and ears. It can permanently ruin your hearing or vision.

  9. Bleach kills almost all known viruses and bacteria,the idea is that surfaces must be treated with a solution of bleach and water that is allowed to remain on the surface for 3-5 minutes.
    When disinfecting surfaces,always wear rubber gloves,and use a clean rag or sponge for each surface,to avoid spreading the virus from one surface to the next.
    CDC info on disinfecting with bleach…

    Cleaning & Sanitizing with Bleach

    Use regular unscented 5%—6% household bleach and follow the instructions in the chart below.
    1tsp to 1 gallon
    1cup to 5 gallons

    (couldn’t get copy of chart to post)

    This was related to norovirus,but is still applicable…
    Clean visibly soiled surfaces with a detergent prior to disinfection. Excess soil or organic matter on surfaces can inactivate disinfectants, making them less effective.
    Apply the disinfectant bleach to the surfaces as per label instructions.
    Use clean gloves and cloths/rags to wipe down surfaces after the appropriate time has elapsed. After cleaning, dispose of or properly disinfect rags and cloths.
    Note that repeatedly using the same cloth on consecutive surfaces can actually spread the virus from one surface to another and to the hands of the person doing the cleaning.
    Bleach destroys viruses by breaking up their genetic material into inactive fragments. Other disinfectants may be effective, but only at concentrations two- to four-times higher than manufacturer recommendations for routine use. Bleach is effective at concentrations that are safe for routine use.

    Clorox makes some products for use in hospitals,nursing homes etc. that can be purchased by individuals in restaurant supply stores,etc.
    From the Clorox site…

    The CDC, APIC and OSHA guidelines recommend bleach as a broad-spectrum germicide to disinfect hard surfaces contaminated by blood spills and tough-to-kill pathogens such as C. difficile spores and norovirus, both of which are resistant to disinfection by quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs). For resistant organisms and surfaces that are highly soiled, the CDC recommends a 1:10 dilution of 5.25% – 6.15% bleach (5250 ppm – 6150 ppm sodium hypochlorite solution).

    Clorox Healthcare® ready-to-use bleach wipes and cleaners meet these guidelines for surface disinfection and are formulated at or above the recommended 1:10 concentration. Additionally, proprietary purification processes maximize shelf life, so you can trust Clorox Healthcare® products to be effective.

    Water purification…

    Boiling can be used as a pathogen reduction method that should kill all pathogens. Water should be brought to a rolling boil for 1 minute. At altitudes greater than 6,562 feet (greater than 2000 meters), you should boil water for 3 minutes.

    Treating water with bleach is very effective at killing germs and it doesn’t taste funny to most of us because this is basically what most city water supplies do. You need to have a bottle of plain liquid chlorine bleach and a dropper. The bleach should be 5 to 6 percent sodium hypochlorite with no preservatives and no additional ingredients. Ultra Clorox is a 6% solution instead of 5.25% but it is the same stuff. Keep a bottle of plain 5.25% or 6% chlorine bleach with no additives in the laundry room to use for water purification. Besides, this cleans sweat socks as well as any of the others.

    To treat water with chlorine bleach, put the water in a clean container and add 16 drops of bleach for every gallon of water. Stir in the bleach and let the water stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a little smell of bleach, repeat the dosage of 16 drops per gallon and let it sit for another 15 minutes. If it smells of bleach now it is OK to drink. If it doesn’t smell of bleach after two treatments, the water is too dirty to use. Throw it away and treat a new batch of water.

    1 quart bottle 4 drops of bleach
    2 liter soda bottle 10 drops of bleach
    1 gallon jug 16 drops of bleach (1/8 tsp)
    2 gallon cooler 32 drops of bleach (1/4 tsp)
    5 gallon bottle 1 teaspoon of bleach

    To use granular calcium hypochlorite instead of liquid bleach, make a stock chlorine solution by mixing one heaping teaspoon (about 1/4 ounce) with two gallons water. Disinfect water by mixing one part stock chlorine solution to 100 parts water.

    7 Steps to Emergency Drinking Water Disinfection

  10. Folks

    Generic info … hope this helps
    Ohio Dude
    Chlorine Solutions – Water Prep

    1/2 level – tsp granular calcium hypochlorite (1/4 oz) in 1 gallon water. That produces stock chlorine solution of about 500 mg/L, since Ca++ hypochlorite has available chlorine content ~ 50 to 70 % by weight.

    1/2 tsp : 1 G STOCK CHLORINE SOLUTION 1/2 t ~ 1 G

    To disinfect water, add 1 part stock solution to 100 parts of water. This is 1 pint (16 oz.) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water.

    Remember – 1 part stock : 100 parts to be sterilized / disinfect 1 : 100

    To remove any chlorine odor, aerate the water by pouring back & forth between containers for 2-3 m. Here are easy ratios for sterilization, using prepared stock solution ….

    16 oz per 12.5 Gal
    8 oz per 6 Gal
    4 oz per 3 Gal
    1/3 oz per Qt ( 4 drops )

    Chlorine Bleach and Uses

    CDC recommends a fresh 1:10 to 1:100 solution for cleaning up blood spills

    FEMA recommends 8 oz of bleach per 5 gallons of water for killing mold and 4 oz per 5 gallons for disinfecting flood-contaminated articles:

    Bleach does have some problems – it has a limited shelf life (6 months to 2 year)
    In metric, mix approximately 7.5ml of powder (by volume) to 8 liters for a 5% bleach solution.

    1 kilogram ( 2.2 lbs ) of pool shock can make almost 1,400 liters ( 350 gallons ) of standard bleach solution. Enough to treat many thousands of gallons of water!

    A one-pound box makes just under 165 gallons of stock solution

    Get pool shock containing only – Calcium H/chlorite
    Other types of chlorine – Tri-Chlor and Di-Chlor – are not suitable

    Be advised it’s a powerful oxidizer, and should be stored in dry container, sealed away from moisture. It will catch fire violently if put in contact with brake fluid and similar substances, so be careful. But the increased shelf life and mess-free storage outweigh any negatives.

    Liquid bleach is useful, but get no more than a gallon at a time. One important proviso: You want to buy only plain bleach — not bleach with scent or any other additives that could be poisonous. Check the label before buying liquid bleach. It must have ONE, AND ONLY ONE ingredient: Calcium Hypochlorite!

    Chlorine Tablets.

    Chlorine tablets containing the necessary dosage for drinking water disinfection can be purchased in a commercially prepared form. These tablets are available from drug and sporting goods stores and should be used as stated in the instructions. When instructions are not available, use one tablet for each quart of water to be purified.

  11. Folks

    generic info, apologies for not having original source

    Acidic Bleach

    This disinfecting solution was discovered by Norman Miner, a microbiologist and owner at MicroChem Laboratory in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in germicidal chemistry. He and some scientists were looking for something common that would kill bacillis anthracis and other pathogens. According to Miner, this solution kills bacillus subtilis, which is the most resistant of all bacillis spores — even more so than anthrax. The solution wiped out b. subtilis within one minute. This was the wet spore test. They then ground up b. subtilis and dried it. The solution killed all the spores within ten minutes. This solution kills everything courtesy of a neat “trick” – adding an acidic solution provides for lower pH, degrading spore-coat matirx, and allows the germicidal and viracidal oxidizing action of the Na-hypochlorite

    The composition is:

    1 C bleach, added to …
    1 1/2 gallons (6 quarts) water
    1 1/2 C 5% vinegar

    Mix the bleach and water first, then add the vinegar.

    Use a plastic bucket or large glass vessel if possible, and stir with a plastic or wooden stick. This is a highly reactive oxidizer, so a reactive metal such as an aluminum pot should NOT be used, for either mixing or storage. Store in glass or plastic.

    This cleans, leaving virtually no scent when sprayed on and wiped off. Although not intended for use on organic tissue, it can be used as an expedient hand-cleanser, or tissue cleaner … it will cause some irritation of tissue, especially open wounds, but is safe in a limited, occasional-use regime.

    Placed in shallow trays near entries/doors into residences, it will allow disinfectation of footwear

  12. I’ve got a specific brand of granular chlorine (pool-shock) that we researched all the ingredients on the MSDS sheet. The trick is to find the brands where all the filler crap is inert or benign enough to use to purify drinking water. I’ll do my best to log on when I get home this evening and post that brand.

    For storage, I put the pack in a mason jar with the poly type re-usable lid on it, taped it up with compressed foam for drop protection and put it into an empty animal cracker type jar, along with a 3×5 card of mixing ratios and a couple of measuring spoons. This is kept cool/dry and dark, the chlorine plays hell on metal and some types of plastics but I’m pretty confident the Ball brand poly lids could hack it. At least mine haven’t had any breaches yet and they’ve been in storage for almost 2 years.

    • Okay folks… it was PoolLife “Turbo Shock” brand, made by ArchChem in Atlanta Ga. EPA number is 1258-1173. I put this up 2 years ago, in a protein powder plastic tub with a screw lid that I’d duct taped shut. The packet itself is in a quart ball jar, with one of their plastic “storage” type reusable lids, that inside a gallon ziplock, inside the plastic tub. There has been some reaction/leakage, I got a faint odor after I opened the tub (but not before) and the instruction card inside the bag was slightly yellow, but the measuring spoon, dipper, and plastic drinking straws were all okay, not brittle. The jar was intact, other than there had been some leakage of gas, but all dry and secure as far as I could tell. Instructions are: to make stock solution for cleaning/water purifying, add 1/4 teaspoon of powder to 1 qt of water. Use as is for disinfectant. For water purification, add 3 drops per quart of water, 6 if cloudy, cover loose and sit for 1 hour. Should be faint bleach odor, if not repeat and sit 30 min.

      It’s a one pound bag, so at that mix ratio should make a metric crap ton of bleach stock and go even further toward making potable water.

      • NightWatcher

        Some simple math will show how far 1lb of shock will go:

        1 Gal of “bleach” will have ~200g of available chlorine. 1Gal = 3.8L = 3,800g x 0.0525 (5.25%) = 199.5g.

        Based on these calculations, your 1lb of shock (454g) will make 2 Gallons of “bleach”, assuming 90% CL availability.

        For disinfection solution (1:10 dilution) you would have 20 Gal.

        1lb will suffice for drinking water, but not disinfecting.

  13. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on The Lynler Report.

  14. Chlorine is most-commonly available to the public for the purpose of sanitizing hot tubs and swimming pools. Pool-Shok is inexpensive at Mal-Wort, in couple-pound packages. Some versions are drinking-water-capable, but ALL TYPES will kill the heck out of bacteria and viruses when mixed up in strong solutions in water.

    Usual Haz-Mat warnings/cautions. Chlorine kept in your garden shed with tools (or electrical anything!) will greatly encourage fast corrosion. Keep in sealed plastic or glass containers, and expect the plastic containers to be attacked by the chlorine.

  15. From over the transom:

    Ebola viruses have been known to survive for two weeks or even longer on contaminated equipment and fabrics7.

    Household bleach is typically 5.25% This stuff is 99.9% – dilute before using but it takes up much less space. When I worked in waste treatment (chemical plating shop) we bought in truck delivered bulk.

    Sodium Hypochlorite Solution NaOCl | AMERICAN ELEMENTS ® Supplier & Info

    Any waste water treatment facility should have this in bulk – people would take at the place I worked for their pools.

    3. Protocol for transmission risk reduction in the home
    To be used by caregivers only.
    The bleach solution must be at a concentration of at least 2.5%.

    Check farm supply stores for higher concentration bleach at reasonable price.

      SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: Filoviruses [ like Ebola] have been reported capable to survive for weeks in blood and can also survive on contaminated surfaces, particularly at low temperatures (4°C) . One study could not recover any Ebolavirus from experimentally contaminated surfaces (plastic, metal or glass) at room temperature. In another study, Ebolavirus dried onto glass, polymeric silicone rubber, or painted aluminum alloy is able to survive in the dark for several hours under ambient conditions (between 20 and 250C and 30–40% relative humidity) (amount of virus reduced to 37% after 15.4 hours), but is less stable than some other viral hemorrhagic fevers (Lassa) . When dried in tissue culture media onto glass and stored at 4 °C, Zaire ebolavirus survived for over 50 days. This information is based on experimental findings only and not based on observations in nature. This information is intended to be used to support local risk assessments in a laboratory setting. “

      Clean thoroughly, with good biocidal solutions. Cold is not your friend.
      Heat is. 212F, whenever possible. And then the disinfection solutions.
      1:10 bleach, sprayed on and left in place for >10 minutes is the recommendation.

  16. Excellent information…thanks!

  17. Marlo Stanfield

    In this age of E things that can kill you at various rates of speed, such as Ebola, Ebonic’s. (Sorry) People should consider removing that germ factory from their homes a thing known as carpeting. Every piece of carpet that I have seen removed for replacement had a village of creep crawly things living and breeding underneath. This includes carpeting that was regularly professionally cleaned. I think people would have far less breathing problems if they last the wall to wall carpeting and toss out the dogs and cats. When there is no power to run your cleaning equipment and some visiting  missionary back from Africa decides to toss cookies on your carpet while showing you pictures from the trip…

    • The guys recommending pool shock are on the right track. Its compact, its stable, and for about $10, you can treat nearly a lifetime supply of drinking water.
      Bleach itself doesn’t store well, a jug of it is pnly good for a couple of years at best.

  18. 68% calcium hydrochlorite

  19. The people on Flu Tracker site are all wondering how the spanish nurse got the virus. Unless she had a needle stick, there are some big ass implications about to go FULL RETARD. And Obola imported it to the FUSA.

    • The Spanish “nurse” was in fact a cleanup tech, and in all probability wasn’t taking nor wearing proper precautions because stupid and under-trained/educated.

      NBC News: A nurse in Spain has become the first person to contract Ebola outside of West Africa in the latest epidemic, authorities said on Monday.
      The woman, who was described as a “sanitary tech,” last month treated a priest in Madrid who later died of Ebola after contracting the virus while doing missionary work in Sierra Leone.
      The nurse entered the priest’s room twice: Once to treat him and once upon his death, to recover his belongings, officials said. She began showing signs of illness on Sept. 30 and sought treatment, they said.
      Health authorities said the nurse earlier had also helped treat another priest, Miguel Pajares, 75, who had been working in Liberia when he was afflicted with Ebola.
      “We are working to verify the exact source of contact to see if all strict protocols were followed,” Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato said at a news conference on Monday.

      This is an exposure overwhelmingly likely due to stupidity/cluelessness on the part of a Spanish minimum-wage worker, and not a failure of the protocols by a trained professional.
      Maybe she didn’t know any better, maybe no one told her, maybe she didn’t care, but regardless, she’s now looking at 5 to 9 chances out of 10, dying in a puddle of her own liquefying guts as payback for a few lapses in practice.
      IQ correlates to high degree to life expectancy at the point of the evolutionary spear; like during an epidemic.
      Mother Nature doesn’t grade on the curve. Ever. The bitch.

  20. Thanks for posting these.

    I just printed it out and put it in my binder concerning these things.

  21. Pat Hines

    “She had a TB infection of her skin on the back of her calf”

    Just curious,how did she get a TB infection anywhere other than her lungs?
    That’s very rare,but if it is occurring here,could it be caused by a new form of antibiotic resistant TB?

    • The CDC was investigating that question and I never did hear that they arrived at a conclusion. She was taking immune-suppressing drugs, so was open to opportunistic infections, but TB was unexpected. When I treated her, the infected tissue had already been removed, the Dakin’s therapy was to stop any spread of it to an untreated area.

  22. Reverend Mike

    I appreciate the people chiming in, but I believe that liquid bleach only has about a nine to twelve month shelf life and then it separates. Just a heads up for the preppers and people planning on long term storage.

  23. Reverend Mike
  24. I did water purification in the Corps (Engineers) and to remove the chlorine taste if it bugs you, simply unscrew the cap enough to let it “breathe” and about 10 minutes later the taste is barely noticible. We used to over chlorine the water for the Army units in our OA so that they’d get the runs, sin loi!, and if you over chlorine your water, again, let it air out.

    For long-term, pick up water purification tablets via surplus.

  25. I read all the labels of the various pool disenfectants. Interestingly there are different concentrations of chlorine. from 48% to 90%, ad the chlorine can be from various chemical combinations. The dry chlorinating products come in powder and tabs. I opted for the 1 inch tablets in 90%, called chlorinating tabs. Aqua Chem is the brand I chose. Comes in 3.75lb bottles, $10 at wallyworld. Whew! strong stuff. Heavy duty. 3.75 lbs of 90% concentration is a hell of a lot of chlorine. The 1 inch barrel tabs are handy size and shape. Fairly easy to chop in smaller portions. Tab weights and size are consistent, makes it simple to figure doses by hairy eyeball once you know the amount needed per gallon of water.

    If chlorine ain’t effective for rapid disinfection over a wide area, go to plan B: flame thrower.

    • “If chlorine ain’t effective for rapid disinfection over a wide area, go to plan B: flame thrower.”

      Uh-oh, a conundrum. Which is Plan A and which is Plan B?

      Oh, now I remember—“Can’t we have both?”

  26. ps,
    warning on label states above 4 parts per billion in water are injurious to the body

  27. The small packages of pool shock in plastic bags emit gas, which corrodes everything nearby. I’ve had success putting those pool shock bags inside two separate nested airtight plastic containers from the kitchen storage aisle at Wal-Mart. Success means I put the nested package under my sink, and when I stuck my head in the cabinet a week later I couldn’t smell accumulated Chlorine, and neither container was bulged from internal pressure. I think the Gamma seal lids on the 5/6/7 gallon buckets could be a good second outer container, but I wouldn’t trust one alone.

    If you have the urge to buy containers by the boxful, not just buckets but any kind of bottle or canister, is cheap and has no minimum order price. They have the 7 gallon buckets, but shipping for a bucket or two is more than the buckets.

    If you have any of the Polar Pure brand of Iodine-based water treatment bottles, they also leak gas. Don’t store them packed away inside your camping gear. These are now available again from Amazon.

  28. I agree with the pool shock,get the it with no algicides ect.This stuff will last years until mixed and very inexpensive as only paying for the product and not gallons of bleach that are mostly water and the added costs there of shipping weight.The pool shock a bit cheaper in the job lot type stores especially in many parts of country where on sale as pool season closes.

  29. Some had a question about dermal TB. Exceedingly rare but it exists.

  30. NightWatcher

    I am going to try and simplify things a bit for my own simple mind.

    Measuring something by “drops” is not a very precise method, the size of the drop is totally dependent on the size of the “dropper”. By “standard”, a drop = 0.05ml (i.e. 20 drops/ml).

    Red Cross “guidelines” suggest 16 drops of “bleach” per Gallon of water. Can we just “standardize” on 1ml of bleach per gallon? Back in the day when I was purifying drinking water in 50 gallon barrels, a 50 ml syringe full of bleach was the way to go.

    Now back to “stock” bleach solution. It is a beotch to get 1/2 pound of pool shock dissolved in a gallon of water (don’t ask me how I know). A previous post shows the math for this calculation. We don’t really need 5.25% bleach, what we need is standard 1:10 diluted bleach for disinfecting. It is much easier to get 1/4 lb of shock dissolved in a 5 gallon bucket to get to the same concentration.

    If you need to use your “disinfecting” solution to purify water, you simply need to use 10ml per gallon of water.

    As an aside, if you are using 1-inch 90% available chlorine tablets (0.5oz or 14g per tablet), you would need 16 per gallon for “bleach” or 8 per 5 gallon bucket for “disinfecting” solution. 14g x 16 = 224g x 0.9 (90% availability) = 201.6g of chlorine. (It requires ~200g of chlorine per gallon to make 5.25% bleach)

  31. NightWatcher

    On re-reading some of the posts, I see that CA has noted that “hospital grade disinfecting”, i.e. caregivers, should use a minimum 2.5% solution.

    At this concentration, a 1lb bag of “shock” would make 4.3 gallons. Fill a 5 gallon bucket “mostly full” and hope for the best on getting it to dissolve. Or you could use 32 1-inch tablets in the same volume and pray harder.

  32. Nice info on chlorine. Keep your pool shock in glass bottles or jars, preferably with glass stoppers, it will corrode most metal it gets on. A glass or ceramic cookie jar would work.

    Potassium permanganate will also disinfect drinking water, and goes pretty far. Mostly it’s used to protect sewer pipes from rust, or kill fish diseases in aquariums. Don’t ingest the powder – in powder form it’s rather toxic, it’s OK when in water. A very small amount will do you. You can put it until the water just barely starts to turn pink, that’s more than you need but the color change will tell you you definitely have enough. It might turn your container a little pink, that’s OK. Don’t use it and chlorine at the same time, it will pull the chlorine out of the water and precipitate it in a compound, wasting the chlorine. You can use PP to make a disinfectant wash too. In that case I’d mix it in til it was light purple.

    If you are cleaning scummy pond water to drink, filter it first.

    PP keeps for a year or two.
    It’s also highly flammable so keep away from flame and other chemicals. Especially sulfuric acid. Don’t get them anywhere near each other or you’ll blow yourself up.

    Speaking of which, you can use it to make fire if you add a few drops of glycerine to it, and maybe a little water to spread the glycerine around better. The way to do this with a campfire is to put the twigs etc. where you want them, put a few teaspoons of PP over them, then dribble some drops of glycerine on it and stand back.