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Find information about cleaning and disinfecting at home to protect yourself during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Kill Germs With Bleach

Print-and-Go Fact Sheet


When returning to your home after a hurricane or flood, be aware that flood water may contain germs from sewage and other germs that can make you sick.

Use bleach to kill germs on things touched by flood water.
gray and white image of runnig water over a soap bar
  • Wear rubber or non-porous boots, gloves, and goggles to protect yourself while cleaning.
  • If the weather is hot and humid, take plenty of breaks in a cooler place and drink lots of water.
  • Wash surfaces with soap and warm, clean water to remove dirt and debris.
  • Do not drink water used for sanitizing.
Next, sanitize surfaces with unscented household bleach:
man dressed with globes, protective boots and goggles, scrubbing the floor
  1. Clean with a mix of 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water. Use bleach that does not have an added scent (like lemon)
  2. Scrub rough surfaces with a stiff brush
  3. Air dry
    • Try not to breathe in product fumes. Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter.
    • If you don’t have household liquid bleach, use soap and water.
Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners.
bleach and ammonia bottles with a cross sign on top

This can produce dangerous, toxic fumes. Seek medical care if you experience
immediate signs and symptoms of chlorine exposure, such as migraine, blurred vision, or difficulty breathing.

For more information on cleaning and sanitizing your house after a natural disaster, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/cleaning-sanitizing/household-cleaning-sanitizing.html

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