Does bleach kill norovirus?

When norovirus, or “the stomach bug” hits your home or business, you’ll want to know exactly how you can clean and disinfect the area so that the nasty intestinal virus doesn’t spread. One of the biggest questions that occurs regarding clean-up is, “Does bleach kill norovirus?”

Of course, we use bleach solution cleaning products much of the time because bleach is known for its powerful cleaning and sanitation ability. But is it effective at killing norovirus germs that may be present on just about any surface?

The research indicates that yes, bleach is effective at killing norovirus that lingers on surfaces and objects; thus helping prevent outbreaks.

Good thing because it’s one of the most contagious intestinal viruses around, affecting more than 23 million people in the U.S. per year alone. But it’s not enough just to know that bleach kills norovirus; you must know what types of bleach solutions work vs. what don’t. If you use bleach on food contact surfaces you must rinse the surface thoroughly with water after using bleach.You also should use precaution when using bleach.

How much bleach should I use to kill norovirus?

Before we talk concentration, let’s talk safety. Before you open a bottle of bleach, it’s recommended that you wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and protective clothing (which you should be wearing anyway due to norovirus being present). Do not let children near bleach.

Note: Chlorine bleach can damage certain surfaces (like certain wood products and carpet) and fabrics. Do a spot-test before cleaning an entire surface to be sure it won’t ruin the surface.

Note: Do not pour bleach directly onto any surface. The concentration may surely damage it.

Bleach/water solutions:

  • For non-porous surfaces like counter-tops, tables, tile floors, sinks, etc. mix 1/3 cup of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water.
  • For stainless steel or items that will have contact with food or mouth (like utensils, plates, etc.) mix 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water.
  • For porous surfaces like wooden floors, add 1 2/3 cups bleach to 1 gallon of water.

It’s best to leave the bleach solution on the surface for at least 10 minutes, but you can leave it on up to 20 minutes. Then, rinse it off with regular water.