Aside from the fact that when mixed with ammonia it can become a highly corrosive agent that can burn through skin, or at a different ratio, be used as an explosive, there are other reasons NOT to use bleach.
Bleach can cause respiratory difficulties, headaches, skin burns, loss of consciousness, and vomiting. According the the Material Safety Data Sheet for bleach”Medical conditions that may be aggravated by exposure to high concentrations of vapor or mist: heart conditions or chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or obstructive lung disease.” Also, use in conjunction with other cleaning solutions can prove to be very dangerous.
Furthermore, using bleach to disinfect some microbes from clean, hard nonporous surfaces is possible but most people use it wrong. Preschools are instructed to use 1 part regular household bleach to 9 parts water and leave it on for 1 minute. This contradicts with what is stated on the Clorox bleach website where longer application times are recommended.
First, it must be noted that bleach does not disinfect a dirty surface. The surface must already be washed of organic matter before using the bleach to disinfect. Secondly, the amount of time that one should leave the solution on a non-porous hard surface is not 1 minutes but differ depending on the contaminant. According to this efficacy review conducted by the EPA for Clorox brand Super Bleach, the leave on time, is 2 minutes for Staph, 2 minutes for e-choli, and 10 minutes for Clostridium Dificile. In addition, they expect you to wipe or mop so that the surface is thoroughly wet for that period of time. A sprintz won’t do it.
Also, reviewing various EPA action for the use of Sodium Hypochlorite (the active ingredient in bleach) there are various degrees of efficacy and dilution for hospital use when used as a virucide (to kill viruses) and fungicide (to kill mold and other fungi). Furthermore, many of these recommendations involved longer standing time and the use in combination with other chemicals.
The most dramatic is the EPA recommendation for the use of bleach during 2001 to neutralize Anthrax, a bacterium. The epa recommended a solution of 1 part bleach to 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water. Considering the combination of bleach with vinegar is exactly what burns human flesh, you can see that the use of bleach alone does not make it an all around disinfectant as one would imagine. Furthermore, this solution was used, spraying to cover the entire surface repeatedly and kept wet for over 60 minutes, an entire hour!
It is not that bleach doesn’t have disinfecting properties, but the long list of organisms on the page that Clorox company links to titled “Facts about Bleach” misleads the reader into believing that bleach is a disinfectant for all of these germs when in fact it is not, especially not at the 1 minute leave on instruction that preschools are trained to use. Even on this page, you will see that for some of these items 10 minutes is recommended. Also, for many items on the list, no time is recommended because, although bleach can kill them, there is no proven efficacy level or leave on time available. Simply put, bleach is not an EPA disinfectant for those items therefore, the degree of efficacy is not approved by the government.
Finally, the greatest danger in trusting bleach as your all around disinfectant is that we are fooled into believing a solution of bleach spritzed for one minute than wiped off takes care of the most resilient and deadly of microbes when in fact, just the opposite is true.