There are several reasons why you may want to make your own bleach at home instead of using store-bought stuff. First, gallons of bleach take up a ton of space when you’re trying to stockpile enough to get you through several months of disaster. Another reason is that standard bleach has a relatively short shelf life.
That’s right – most people don’t realize that those 20 bottles of bleach in the basement will start to lose potency after about 6 months. At the year mark, assuming you’ve kept it between 50 and 70 degrees F, it loses 20% potency, then about 20% per year after that. In other words, when you reach for it to disinfect water or living space, it may not be any good. It’s OK though – we have a couple better options for you that work just as well.
Option 1: Calcium Hypochlorite
Standard household bleach’s chemical name is sodium hypochlorite. There’s also another commonly used form of chlorine that’s typically used for pools but is just as effective at disinfecting water and surfaces. It’s called calcium hypochlorite and is commonly known as pool shock.
Pool shock has a few advantages over household bleach when it comes to survival uses. The top two are shelf life and storage space. Pool shock is sold in dry granular form and as long as it remains that way and is stored in a cool, dry place, it has a shelf life of 10+ years. When it comes to storage, one pound of pool shock will effectively treat up to 10,000 gallons of water. Significant advantages.
Recipe for Calcium Hypochlorite Bleach
First, make sure that you buy pool shock that has around 70% calcium hypochlorite and doesn’t have any algaecides, clarifiers or other active ingredients.
This is important: make sure that the ingredient list only has 2 entries: calcium hypochlorite and “other” or “inert” ingredients. Otherwise, you’ll poison yourself instead of disinfecting your water. Zappit 73 Pool Shock is 73% calcium hypochlorite and many common brands found on the web are 68%; they will work too as long as they’re pure.
To make a concentration that is equivalent to household bleach:
- 2 Tablespoons Pool Shock
- 3 Cups water
Mix together. Don’t be alarmed if it’s milky colored because that’s the inert ingredients. Let it sit for a few hours so that those ingredients settle and it will have the same slightly yellowish clear appearance that liquid household bleach does. If you’d like, you can drain the new bleach solution off the top after the other stuff settles.
How to Use: This mix is exactly the same concentration as household bleach. To sanitize your water, use the same 8 drops of bleach solution per gallon of water that you would use if it were sodium hypochlorite liquid bleach.