Ebola Virus Disinfection With Bleach


How much regular bleach to use for Ebola virus disinfection?

How much bleach to add with water for a bleach-water solution to disinfect the Ebola virus?

Here’s your answer:

Surprisingly, the CDC website did not offer a direct answer to this question (that I could find). Their ‘interim guidance‘ regarding Ebola virus disinfection is less than direct.

Here’s what I mean by that:

Enveloped viruses such as Ebola are susceptible to a broad range of hospital disinfectants used to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces. In contrast, non-enveloped viruses are more resistant to disinfectants. As a precaution, selection of a disinfectant product with a higher potency than what is normally required for an enveloped virus is being recommended at this time. EPA-registered hospital disinfectants with label claims against non-enveloped viruses (e.g., norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus) are broadly antiviral and capable of inactivating both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses.

Begin by looking at the product label or product insert or, if these are not available, search the EPA search engine for this information. Users should be aware that an ‘enveloped’ or ‘non-enveloped virus’ designation may not be included on the container label. Instead check the disinfectant’s label for at least one of the common non-enveloped viruses (e.g., norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus).

Check the disinfectant’s label for specific instructions for inactivation of any of the non-enveloped viruses.

-the CDC

You can use Regular Clorox® Bleach for Ebola virus disinfection.

While there are apparently a number of products-manufacturers of disinfecting solutions, the CDC fails to identify any of them directly – for Ebola virus (that I could find while searching their website). This seems to be a disservice and/or a cover-your-a$$ approach.

From the Clorox® website:

Household disinfectants such as Clorox® Regular-Bleach and Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes meet the criteria currently recommended by the CDC for hospitals.


How Much Bleach With Water For Ebola Virus Disinfection

Add 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (1:10 dilution factor)

From the Public Health Agency of Canada:

Ebolavirus is susceptible to 3% acetic acid, 1% glutaraldehyde, alcohol-based products,

and dilutions (1:10 – 1:100 for ≥10 minutes) of 5.25% household bleach (sodium hypochlorite), and calcium hypochlorite (bleach powder).

The WHO recommendations for cleaning up spills of blood or body fluids suggest flooding the area with a 1:10 dilutions of 5.25% household bleach for 10 minutes for surfaces that can tolerate stronger bleach solutions (e.g., cement, metal).

For surfaces that may corrode or discolor, they recommend careful cleaning to remove visible stains followed by contact with a 1:100 dilution of 5.25% household bleach for more than 10 minutes.


Note: While the Ebola virus disinfection advice given above references 5.25% bleach, today’s newer regular bleach is typically 8.25% concentration (of sodium hypochlorite) and therefore a bit stronger (implying a slightly less required bleach-to-water ratio). However, given the use-case scenario (Ebola virus) I would still follow the same recommendation of 1 part regular bleach to 10 parts water (a slightly stronger solution will only help matters while using 8.25% regular bleach).

Example: To make a bit more than half a gallon of Ebola virus disinfectant, simply use a 1-cup measuring cup and dump 1 cup of regular bleach into a bucket, and then add 9 cups of water.

If anyone finds more specific information from the CDC or WHO, regarding bleach-to-water ratio for disinfecting Ebola virus, let us know…

For those of you in health care, hospital workers, etc., what are you being told regarding Ebola virus disinfection (if anything)?

Other articles on Ebola virus


  1. I work for a large Healthcare system in PA and This is from our newly formed policy that we received via email. No additional training, no PPE issued (such as biohazard suits), Simpy an email.

    Spills, Environmental cleaning and Environmental Waste Management

    a. Environmental services staff will wear recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) including, at a minimum,disposable gloves, gown (fluid resistant/ impermeable), eye protection (goggles or face shield). Additional barriers (e.g., leg covers, shoe covers) should be used.
    1) If reusable heavy-duty gloves are used for cleaning and disinfecting, they should be placed over standard PPE gloves
    2) When cleaning completed, utility gloves should be wiped off with an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with label claims for non-enveloped viruses and kept in the room or anteroom.

    b. Use only an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with label claims for non-enveloped viruses to disinfect environmental surfaces in rooms of patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus infection.

    c. Discard all linens, pillows and non-fluid-impermeable mattresses, and textile privacy curtains into the RED BAG waste container.
    1) The Ebola virus is a classified as a Category A infectious substance and regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR, 49 C.F.R., Parts 171-180).
    2) Any item transported offsite for disposal that is contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with a Category A infectious substance must be packaged and transported in accordance with the HMR. This includes medical equipment, sharps, linens, and used health care products (such as soiled absorbent ppr or dressings, kidney-shaped emesis pans, portable toilets, used Personal Protection Equipment (gowns,masks, gloves, goggles, face shields, respirators, booties, etc.) or byproducts of cleaning) contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with a Category A infectious substance.

    d. Spills:
    1) The basic principles for blood or body substance spill management recommend removal of bulk spill matter, cleaning the site, and then disinfecting the site.
    a) For large spills, a chemical disinfectant with sufficient potency is needed to overcome the tendency of proteins in blood and other body substances to neutralize the disinfectant’s active ingredient. An EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with label claims for non-enveloped viruses and instructions for cleaning and decontaminating surfaces or objects soiled with blood or body fluids should be used according to those instructions.

    e. Daily Cleaning;
    1) Daily cleaning and disinfection of hard, non-porous surfaces (e.g., high-touch surfaces such as bed rails and over bed tables, housekeeping surfaces such as floors and counters) should be done.
    2) Before disinfecting a surface, cleaning should be performed.
    a) In contrast to disinfection where products with specific claims are used, any cleaning product can be used for cleaning tasks. Use cleaning and disinfecting products according to label instructions.
    3) Disinfectant’s label must be specific for non-enveloped viruses
    a) Follow label instructions for use of the product that are specific for inactivation of that virus.
    b) Use disposable cleaning cloths, mop cloths, and wipes and dispose of these in leak-proof bags.
    c) Use a rigid waste receptacle designed to support the bag to help minimize contamination of the bag’s exterior.

    f. Once a patient with suspected Ebola Virus Disease is no longer suspected to have Ebola Virus disease (EVD) or has ruled out for EVD, their waste materials no longer need to be managed as if contaminated with Ebola Virus.

  2. Not much to add except make sure you have several inexpensive spray bottles and a way to mark them so you identify what is in them and how long it’s good for.

    Under collapse conditions where cleanliness is a real problem (no good way to wash up) then far more stomach flu situations will occur. Spraying the bleach solution is important as you’re wanting a light mist to clean kitchen countertops. You might be preparing game animals, right?

    Even if Ebola never comes to you while the infrastructure collapses, there’s a very high chance of getting vomiting and diarrhea simply from being in tight quarters with poor sanitation, so regardless the bleaching is important for cleanliness.

    If one adult is badly sick with the stomach flu, it will get passed around as you’re trying to take care of them, and everyone will pass it around too. So this article is pertinent for that mostly as an ounce of prevention is worthy a pound of cure.

    The dirtiest place in a home is generally the kitchen sink and the main culprit are the drains, baskets, and the sponge. Don’t forget that a tiny amount of bleach is routinely added to dishwater in restaurants in order to ensure that the dishes are properly disinfected. Some dish soaps intentionally have that bleach in with the soap to do this function.

    Ebola is extremely rare, but Staph is very common.

  3. Ken, Thank you. saw the links previously posted by someone, read info, etc..

    but this is nicely summarized. Appreciate it.

    surprising, the CDC is not more easily understood, for someone like me, who would like to be careful, etc.. One does wonder why.

    Do appreciate your work / your readers’ work in tracking info down.

  4. Good timing on this post with our latest shopping list from the local Sam’s Club where today we picked up plenty of bleach and cleaning supplies.

    Posts like this serve as good reminders to go out and replenish your cleaning supplies for reasons more than just cleaning.

    It would be interesting to see some polls with the posts from time to time for how many people actually taking action, were planning to take action, or just tucking away the knowledge for a rainy day.

  5. Shelf Life of Diluted Bleach with Water 1:10

    In general, chlorine bleach retains its disinfecting power for about 12 months.

    After a year, it starts to weaken and should be discarded.

    Because the chlorine and water mix is more diluted, it loses strength in a shorter amount of time. Its shelf life is only a few months.

    As a rule, make only enough solution as you believe you will use in two month’s time. After the two months go by, discard any of the mix that remains and make a fresh batch if it is needed.

    1. I slightly disagree with you- The shelf life of bleach is closer to 6 months, before it starts to degrade. I would suggest using poolshock tablets instead.

      1. Yep–I copied that info from a site. I think 6 months is about right. I was researching the shelf life of diluted bleach.

        I don’t use tablets. I use the powder form of calcium hypochlorite bought at pool supply stores in bags.
        Lasts indefinitely if kept cool and dry, cheap, purifies about 10,000 gallons of water, requires little shelf space.

        1. The WHO recommends replacing a 1:10 or 1:100 bleach solution every 24 hours or sooner if the bleach smell is hard to detect.

          Ideally you should only make enough of a solution to get through a day then refresh it with a new solution each day.

        2. Good advice once you’ve made a disinfection ‘solution’. Thanks for your input.

    2. doesn’t need to be discarded. Just calculate for slightly stronger solution?!

  6. Wouldn’t be a bad idea if you are out a lot, and I’m not, to keep a box of baby wipes and a small spray bottle of diluted bleach in your bag for your hands while making your runs to grocery store, etc.
    Money, shopping carts, bathrooms–nasty!!

  7. For the flu or other common illnesses these methods are not unreasonable for use at home. But they aren’t effective. That is you cannot sterilize your home so even for the common cold or flu these things as a home prevention technique amount to whistling past the graveyard. That is it makes you feel better but does nothing for your safety. With a serious level 4 infectious agent it becomes all the more important that you understand that you cannot disinfect your home or any non-hospital environment. A hazmat team could do it but you cannot and certainly not with a couple of spray bottle and bleach solution. In a SHTF situation if your home is suspected of being contaminated by someone with ebola your only choice would be to leave it. How long? Who knows the experts differ on this.

  8. At the congressional hearing today on C-SPAN the CDC director said that any solution strong enough to kill the ebola virus is strong enough to burn your skin. That is why he said you have to have ALL your skin covered (and then disinfect whatever was covering your skin.)

  9. Liquid bleach rapidly breaks down.. 3 months tops. Anyone have a rebroadcast on bleach volatility?

    1. Like other chemicals degradation depends on exposure to air, heat, UV radiation, moisture etc…. store in a cool dry place with the cap on tight and I would bet stable at 12 months. In a limited resources situation- No need to throw away older bleach if in question, just raise calculated concentrations.

  10. Oh, antibacterial hand sant does not affect a virus.. You need an antivirus hand sant…

  11. Killing any virus on a surface is easy and is done efficiently with household bleach. This particular filovirus is just so transmissible and can get you before it settles on a surface. Never thought I’d see such a game changer. G-d help us all.

  12. 2 items: chlorine pool tablets and sanitizer solution used in home brew. Anybody have any idea how either of these could be used?

  13. well, I am not surprised, even though we are told “don’t worry”

    From the Toronto Star
    “Scared by Ebola, U.S. consumers turn to Lysol and Clorox

    Bleach and disinfectant sales rise as Americans look for way to fight virus.

    “Can you kill Ebola?” a person who gave her name as Starlena Barnes asked on Lysol’s corporate Facebook page. Barnes’ post was one of dozens of similar queries.

    In a post on Lysol’s corporate website, the company notes that their products have not been tested on Ebola but “based on their ability to kill similar as well as harder to kill viruses, these products are likely to be effective against the Ebola virus.”

    The company’s website now features a large banner labelled “Safeguarding Against the Spread of Ebola,” which links to information on the product’s effectiveness against the virus.”

  14. Get educated STAT! Not only concerning ebola but Marburg, as well. Both are filoviruses. First thing to know is that ebola is an aerosol(meaning airborne) virus that survives for 1 hour in the air. Go to virology websites that have studied these viruses since 1976. Gov’t thinks we’re dumb/will freak out. Call all ur Representatives/Governors to ban flights from west Africa. They will listen. Prep and only believe scientific info.

  15. FYI–in previous work in animal labs, the recommended time for dilute bleach solutions is actually 24 hours… as in, make it up fresh every day. I think it’s based on concentration, so more concentrated(say 1:1 or 1:2) might be good for a few weeks. For the 1/10 or 1/100, I’d just make up a fresh batch sufficient to your needs for the day.

  16. We are used to the washing of our hands with chlorine every day in a daily bases. This has helped many people today in West Africa to keep hands clean.
    But the virus can disinfect on the outside as we use the chlorine to wash our hands, what if we an experiment or do more research on this bleach to disinfect the virus on the inside by using the chlorine that sterilise drinking water?

  17. Viruses are not ‘alive’ therefore we cannot kill them. We ‘inactivate’ them by changing their structure. Sodium hypochlorite oxidises them by zapping their protective bubble, changing the exposed chemical groups and fragments the structure so they lose their infectivity.
    Hypochlorite has a short shelf-life as some comments have stated. This can vary, based on the quality of the bleach, how it is stabilised, how it is stored ( cap secure, in cool and dark, no water added). Three to six months on average.

    The efficacy of hypochlorite depends on the pH. If it is not between pH 5.0 and 8.0 it fails to work effectively. The quality and pH of the water used to dilute it is therefore important also. Make up dilutions freshly, as mentioned by Bob in his comment.

    The efficacy of the solution is determined by the amount of free available chlorine (FAC) in ppm (parts per million) in the solution and its REDOX potential rather than just dilutions.

    For Ebola 1000 ppm FAC for 10 minutes is necessary for disinfecting clean surfaces, 5000ppm for 10 minutes for and 10,000 ppm for 10 minutes for high organic content e.g. blood, faeces, saliva.

    One can get simple colour-change dipsticks which will show the real strength of your solution in ppm.

    If one measures the REDOX using a little meter, one is looking for a value of +800mV or over.

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