1. Clean off mold and mildew
Bleach cleaner and ammonia are both useful for removing mold and mildew both inside and outside your home. However, the two should never be used together. Bleach cleaner is especially suited for the following chores:
2. Sterilize secondhand items
Remember Mom saying, "Put that down. You don't know where it's been"? She had a point—especially when it comes to toys or kitchen utensils picked up at thrift shops and yard sales (check out these tips for shopping at thrift stores before you go). Just to be on the safe side, take your used, waterproof items and soak them for 5-10 minutes in a solution containing 3/4 cup bleach cleaner, a few drops of antibacterial dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon warm water. Rinse well, then air-dry, preferably in sunlight.
3. Clean butcher block cutting boards and countertops
Don't even think about using furniture polish or any other household cleaner to clean a butcher block cutting board or countertop. Rather, scrub the surface with a brush dipped in a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach diluted in 2 quarts (2 liters) 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. Don't miss these other kitchen cleaning mistakes.
4. Brighten up glass dishware
Put the sparkle back in your glasses and dishes by adding a teaspoon of bleach cleaner to your soapy dishwater as you're washing your glassware. Be sure to rinse well, and dry with a soft towel. Did you know you could put these surprising things in the dishwasher?
5. Shine white porcelain
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 cleaner on colored porcelain, because the color will fade.
6. Make a household disinfectant spray
Looking for a good, all-purpose disinfectant to use around the house? Mix 1 tablespoon bleach in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) hot water. Then fill a clean, empty spray bottle and use it on a paper towel to clean countertops, tablecloths, lawn furniture— basically, wherever it's needed. Just be sure not to use it in the presence of ammonia or other household cleaners. Here's your definitive guide to how often you should be cleaning things in your house.
7. Disinfect trash cans
Even the best housekeepers must confront a gunked-up kitchen garbage pail every now and then. On such occasions, take the pail outside, and flush out any loose debris with a garden hose. Then add 1/2 to 1 cup bleach cleaner and several drops of dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water. Use a toilet brush or long-handled scrub brush to splash and scour the solution on the bottom and sides of the container. Empty, then rinse with the hose, empty it again, and let air-dry.
8. Increase cut flowers' longevity
Freshly cut flowers will stay fresh longer if you add 1/4 teaspoon bleach per quart (1 liter) of vase water. Another popular recipe calls for 3 drops bleach and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 quart (1 liter) water. This will also keep the water from getting cloudy and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Here are some other tricks for making flowers last longer.
9. 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 liters) water. Rinse it clean, then air-dry.
10. Kill weeds in walkways
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 cleaner on the grass or plantings bordering the walkway.
11. 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 liters) water. Be careful not to get bleach on your grass or ornamental plants.
12. Sanitize garden tools
You cut that diseased stalk off your rosebush with your branch clipper. Unless you want to spread the disease the next time you use the tool, sterilize it by washing it with 1/2 cup bleach in 1 quart (1 liter) water. Let the tool air-dry in the sun, then rub on a few drops of oil to prevent rust. New to gardening? Try one of these expert gardening tips for beginners.