Bleach Concentration


Effective 3/1/2013

For those of you who use a diluted bleach solution as a sanitizing and disinfecting product in your early care and education programs, the concentration of bleach solutions sold in stores has changed in many areas of the country. The new bleach solution available in many stores is now 8.25% sodium hypochlorite solution (higher than the formerly available bleach solution of 5.25%-6%). Several companies have communicated to us that they have discontinued manufacturing the 5.25%-6% sodium hypochlorite bleach solution and it will no longer be available at many stores.The 8.25% solution is being produced by both brand name companies as well as companies that produce generic products. Many of these products are now EPA-registered products as well.

The NRC has been working with national experts and has determined that because of the variety of products available, it is no longer possible to provide a generic bleach recipe for sanitizing and disinfecting in early care and education programs. In addition, if you are using an EPA-registered product you should not be using a generic recipe, but should be following label instructions for use. Appendix J of Caring for Our Children, 3rd ed. has been revised to reflect these changes.

The NRC recommendation is:

  • Use EPA-registered products for sanitizing and disinfecting.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for diluting the EPA-registered product for sanitizing or disinfecting, as well as for the contact time. (Instructions on how to determine this for the EPA-registered product you are using can be found here) These instructions are also part of the revised Appendix J.
  • If you are not using an EPA-registered bleach product at this time, we recommend you contact your state and/or local health department for assistance in creating the safe dilutions for the bleach products you are using to sanitize and/or disinfect surfaces in your early care and education environment.