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« VHF - 7 Waste Workers/Cleaning Staff/ Decontamination Group | Main | VHF 5 - Disinfectant Solutions »

VHF - 6 Bleach Solutions

The overall goal for preparation of your bleach solutions is one not only of concentration but of accessibility. You must choose a location where sustained replenishment of these solutions can be made over an extended period of time. This will be a permanent location in terms of the length of the emergency incident. It must be isolated from other hospital traffic, and yet close enough where delivery of prepared solutions can be distributed. Along with this, used solutions must be returned and properly handled for waste disposal. So actually you will have two (2) operations at one location. One for distribution of “fresh” solutions to the operating patient isolation areas, and one area for receiving used solutions and the preparation of waste disposal. Transportation back-and-forth, must be considered and implemented based on the size of liquid containers. If moving equipment is used it must be easily cleaned at both delivery and operation points with a minimal of disturbance to the patient care operation. Over time, hand carrying of liquid containers will exhaust staff and require frequent personnel replenishment. The more personnel involved the greater the factor of cross-contamination.

The need shall be for two (2) solutions of ordinary household bleach using a 5.0% concentration or stronger. The;

1] 1 to 10 solution is used for excreta spills and bodies (0.5% solution).

2] The 1: 100 solution is used for cleaning; materials, VHF/HCW decontamination, VHF waste bio-hazard bags (0.05% solution).

—  Bleach solutions must be prepared daily. They lose their strength after 24 hours. Anytime the odor of chlorine is not present, discard the solution. Anytime the 1:100 mixtures become cloudy or contaminated with particle matter, replace with fresh solution.

—  Note: 1:10 bleach solution is caustic. Avoid direct contact with skin and eyes. Prepare the bleach solutions in a well-ventilated area.


A good start point is to consider your container sizes. They must be matched to the patient care operating area. Usually, depending on your volume use,

1] Have a large container for the 1:10 solution and,

2] Smaller containers for distribution of 1:100 and 1:10 solutions.

You will also need;

3] Measuring cups for volume mixing measurements.

4] Household ordinary bleach in gallons (holds potency longer when unopened) (un-scented).

It is important to note that bleach potency drops drastically once the factory seal is opened. Opened bleach gallons should be decontaminated and used for regular cleaning duties after one (1) week of opening. They should NOT be stored for the next emergency incident after opened and partially used. Additionally, scented bleach can interfere with the potency of concentration. To insure accurate decontamination mixtures, do not use scented bleach.

Lastly; a clean water source is needed for creating mixtures.

To begin, mix;

1] One (1) part chlorine bleach to nine (9) parts water. This creates the 1:10 bleach solution.

2] Mix this solution to nine (9) parts water. The resulting solution is now 1:100.

Mark all containers CLEARLY, either 1:10 or 1:100 and distribute to the patient care and or Decontamination areas. The cleaning/waste staff MUST monitor these solutions every ½ (half) hour depending on patient care use or needs, HCW activity, and time of shift. These solutions MUST be kept contaminant free to be effective. Whenever solutions become clouded, or material laden, they must be replaced with fresh solutions.

REPEAT THIS PROCEDURE every 24 hours! (Or earlier depending on solution clarity). As VHF emergency incidents are long term patient care, as hours turn into days this becomes a critical feature. Decontamination solutions only work safely when they are pure and strong. This means the cleaning/waste staff needs staffing at a rate the same as the patient health care staff. As you can see, a VHF emergency incident becomes a long term operations with multiple staff “Teams” in a very short period of time. Be sure that your pre-planning takes all elements into account before your operational response is implemented. Next month, VHF 7 Waste worker/Cleaning Staff Dress out Standards.

                 Haz Mat Mike



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