Bleach is one of the most powerful cleaning agents that can help you get rid of (almost) any kind of stain. However, when using it, you probably noticed it’s got a particularly strong smell. Furthermore, the smell persists. So if you don’t want to label the room you just cleaned as a ‘potential hazard’ for your sense of smell, you may want to consider getting rid of the bleach smell.
Luckily, there are several methods to get rid of bleach smell. Although not always instantaneous, they are efficient and will help you drive the bleach smell away. So, don’t hesitate — follow the steps below to get rid of that lingering bleach odor. No matter if it comes from your hands, carpet or anywhere in the house, there is a way to neutralize it.
Is Bleach Smell Toxic?
Bleach smell is not toxic per se, but it can cause a handful of unpleasant effects as a result of breathing it in:
- Lung irritation;
- Coughing and/or shortness of breath;
- Sensation of burning in the throat, eyes and nose.
If you don’t use bleach on a daily basis, these immediate effects will disappear in a matter of minutes. However, long-term bleach fumes intake can lead to more dangerous side effects, but let’s not focus on that right now.
Always Take Preventive Measures When Using Bleach
No matter if you have to clean just a pillow or the entire carpet, you should always be cautious when using bleach. Because of the unpleasant effects caused by inhaling the bleach smell, it’s best to try and not breathe them in altogether. So, make sure that you always keep the air circulating — open a window or use a fan whenever you plan on using bleach. Ideally, consider cleaning using bleach outside, in the open air whenever possible.
How Long Does Bleach Smell Last?
When you clean using bleach, you most likely let it sit for a couple minutes on the surface before you dive in, for a better effect. However, the more you let the bleach sit, the longer its smell will persist. Plus, if you mix bleach with other cleaning agents to make it a more powerful product, it can leak other toxic fumes in addition to the bleach smell.
All that warrants an annoying (and dangerous) smell that lingers for days! So no matter which cleaning method you prefer, you should always be cautious.
How to Get Rid of Bleach Smell in Your Home
If you cleaned your house using bleach, you should immediately go and open all the windows to create a steady airflow. By opening windows in different rooms of the house, you can create cross-ventilation. That is not only a natural way of cooling but also an easy way to get rid of unwanted smells fast. Keep the air circulating so that the smell doesn’t linger too long, resulting in unwanted effects.
Place a Fan Next to Your Window
If simply opening windows doesn’t cut it and you need an additional way to help you get rid of bleach smell fast, you can opt for a fan (or fans). Place the fan in front of the window, facing the room. Once you turn on the fan, it’s going to boost the ventilation, and push more fresh air from outside into the room.
This method works extremely well if you have multiple fans. If you can create natural cross-ventilation, and add the fans in front of all the open windows, you could get rid of the bleach smell in the house in a matter of minutes.
Use an Air Purifier
It’s just unbelievable how many added benefits air purifiers have. From an overall increase in air quality, to helping you get rid of foul smells, they work wonders no matter what.
So, the next way to get rid of bleach smell in the house is by turning on the air purifier, and setting it on the ‘Purify’ or ‘Ventilation’ option. Depending on how big the room is, leave the purifier on for at least 30 minutes. When you come back, the smell of bleach should be long gone and the air should be breathable.
If you have only one air purifier and the bleach smell lingers around the entire house, you might want to consider purifying each room individually. This method could take a little longer for a thorough air purification, but it is a great option when you are expecting guests and don’t want them to smell the bleach.
All you need to do is place the air purifier inside one room, turn it on, and close the door before you leave. When the air in that room becomes fresh, you can move on to another room.
Repeat until the entire house is free of bleach smell, and that’s about it. It’s not the fastest method of getting rid of the smell, but if you can’t opt for anything else, this should do.
Mask the Bleach Smell With the Smell of Another Product
Although this method is not going to help you get rid of smells overall, it will work against the bleach smell particularly. If there is a specific cleansing product that you like the smell of, you can spray that product on the bleach-smelling surfaces in your house.
However, keep in mind that this will only help you mask the bleach smell, not get rid of it entirely. For instance, you could opt for it in case you want to stay in the room for a while, but can’t stand the bleach odor.
Use Room Odorizers and Scented Candles
Strong-scented products can work wonders against the lingering smell of bleach. You could use a room freshener, deodorizer, or even scented candles to mask the bleach smell, and eventually get rid of it.
Scented candles and other highly scented products work by giving off a pleasant smell and you can use them in case of ‘emergency’ to mask the bleach odor. For example, if you’re having guests over, try spraying some of your favorite room deodorizer. It will make the bleach stench go unnoticed.
Place Activated Charcoal or Baking Soda on a Plate
Another useful way to get rid of any unwanted odors (not only bleach) is using baking soda or activated charcoal. Both of these powders have a lot of uses, and absorbing smells is one of them. It’s pretty simple — all you have to do is pour some baking soda (or activated charcoal) on a plate, and place the plate in the room. In about 24 hours, the smell will get absorbed.
Removing Bleach Smell From Carpets and Rugs
If you have a clean, fresh-smelling carpet or rug, the entire room will smell good. But if it reeks of bleach, it can make the room pretty much impossible to stay in. So, if your aim is to remove the bleach odor from a carpet, here’s how to do it:
Give the Carpet a Wash With Vinegar and Hot Water
One of the easiest ways to remove bleach smell from a carpet is to use your carpet cleaner. Fill its tank with hot water, and then add 1 ½ cups of vinegar to the water. After you’ve cleaned the carpet, the bleach smell should disappear.
If you don’t have a carpet cleaner, you could go for the good ol’ bucket of water. Similarly, fill the bucket with hot water and add vinegar. Then, using a carpet brush, start rubbing the carpet with the mixture.
Once the carpet is soaked, you could rub it with dry towels to remove the excess water (optional). Finally, hang the carpet outside to air-dry. The bleach smell should disappear completely once the carpet is dry.
Set a Plate With Baking Soda Next to the Carpet
If you don’t want to spill baking soda all over your carpet to absorb the smell, there is a less messy alternative. You could simply pour some baking soda onto a tray and place it next to the carpet.
This method can take longer than you might expect to completely remove the bleach smell, but eventually it will do the trick.
Wash the Carpet With Lemon Juice and Water
Since acids can work to neutralize the bleach smell, vinegar can prove useful. However, if you don’t want the carpet to smell like vinegar afterwards, lemon juice can work equally well. Fill a bucket with hot water, then squeeze the juice of one or two lemons into the water. Wash the carpet with the mixture, and you should be rid of the bleach odor soon.
Just remember to let the carpet dry thoroughly afterwards. You don’t want to go from bleach smell to moldy smell!
Related: Best Carpet Deodorizers for Getting Rid of the Worst Odors
How to Remove Bleach Smell From Hands
After cleaning anything with bleach, chances are the smell will linger not only in the room but also on your hands. That can be a real problem, especially if you tend to touch your face a lot.
The bleach can irritate your eyes and nose and very easily cause headaches. So, here’s how you can effectively get rid of bleach smell on your hands:
Wash Your Hands With Dish Soap
Dish soap is great for cleaning just about anything, from stains on your purse, to floors, and yes — your hands too. However, it’s not as mild as other soaps that are made specifically for the body.
So, when you can’t seem to get rid of the bleach smell otherwise, consider washing your hands with dish soap. It can dissolve grease and many other residues, making it a great option.
Just make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly, in between your fingers too, as well as underneath your nails. If the smell hasn’t disappeared, don’t despair. Just wash your hands again. The second, or, at most, the third wash, will completely remove the bleach smell.
Rub Your Hands With Lemon Juice
Another way to get rid of the smell of bleach on your hands is to squeeze some lemon juice onto them. That can help neutralize the smells, especially if dish soap and hand soap didn’t do the job quite right.
Start by cutting a lemon in half, and then in quarters. Squeeze one quarter onto one hand, and rub the piece of lemon onto the surface of your whole hand. Don’t forget to rub your nails, and underneath them as well. Then, repeat by using the other quarter for the other hand.
Another, less messy way to do it is to use store bought lemon juice. However, this option might not work as well as freshly squeezed lemon juice, because of the additives.
Cover the Smell With Hand Lotion
A very quick way to get rid of bleach smell on your hands is to use a scented hand lotion. However, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly beforehand to remove any remaining bleach residue. Use the hand lotion after you washed your hands. This way you can cover the bleach smell with a pleasant one, and hydrate your hands at the same time. It’s basically a win-win situation.
Additionally, If you want to be a little extra, you could wash your hands using dish soap or lemon juice instead of plain water and soap. Not only will you greatly reduce the smell of bleach, but also remove it (almost) completely before applying the lotion.
How to Get the Smell of Bleach Out of Your Nose
If you spent some time cleaning, chances are the bleach smell still lingers in your nose. After all, it’s a very difficult scent to just forget. But if you want to change that, you could do a couple of things that will help you get rid of the bleach smell in your nose.
Take a Breath of Fresh Air
By taking a breath of fresh air soon after you’ve been exposed to bleach, you can reduce its effects to an extent. When you inhale fresh air, you reduce the chances of getting a headache or irritation from the bleach fumes.
However, it’s not a permanent fix if you have to go back to the area where the smell still persists. In that case, you should try one of the other solutions listed below.
Relax and Smell the Coffee
Take this piece of advice quite literally. Taking a whiff of your ground coffee beans could really help eliminate the odor from your nose. Coffee works as a palate cleanser, but in this case, it could help you get rid of the smell.
Use a Saline Nasal Spray
In order to remove the lingering bleach smell in your nose, you could resort to a saline spray. First, make sure you blow your nose gently, no matter how much discomfort it will cause. Afterward, tilt your head forward slightly and spray the solution inside your nostrils. Finally, quickly blow your nose or sneeze (if possible) as soon as you’ve applied the solution.
You should feel a big difference right away. However, if the smell persists, you might have to repeat the process.
Sniff Some Peppermint Oil
You probably heard of the vast use of essential oils. Peppermint oil has a pretty strong smell, that can help you get rid of headache, irritations, and more. All you need to do is smell the peppermint oil and you should get rid of the bleach smell shortly.
Apply Some Scented Lotion Under Your Nostrils
Although this is not the ideal solution, it can work. Apply a tiny bit of scented lotion underneath your nostrils. It can work as a pleasant scent to mask the bleach odor. However, if you are sensitive to strong smells, it’s not the best solution, as it could have the opposite effect.
Bleach smell can be easily neutralized if you act quickly. The best way is to prevent it from forming in the first place. But if good ventilation is not an option, there are other ways to help you get rid of it.
Hopefully you found these tricks helpful, and you will consider them next time you want to clean something using bleach.
You may also want to read: What Is a Safe Way to Dispose of Bleach?