House Smells Like Bleach After Cleaning? (Fix It Now!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

The average homeowner keeps bleach around to clean the house or even do laundry. There is no denying that bleach is an effective cleaner, but it is hard to get past the strong smell. So, what can you do if your house smells like bleach after cleaning?

Open the windows and air out your house for up to 24 hours to get rid of the bleach smell. Set out a dish of vinegar or baking soda to absorb and neutralize the bleach odor. Air purifiers are another great way to cycle out the bad bleach odor and simultaneously cleanse the air in your home of impurities.

Bleach is a useful tool for every homeowner, but lingering odors may make you think twice. Luckily, you can still use bleach without worrying that the smell won’t go away. Follow along as we explore what you can do when your house smells like bleach after cleaning.

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House Smells Like Bleach After Cleaning

Bleach is one of the most common chemical cleaners that homeowners use. Every homeowner can recognize the smell of bleach because it is so strong. The unpleasant odor that bleach produces is a result of how it breaks down.

Proteins break down and release a strong odor that is similar to chlorine. It can be irritating if your house smells like bleach after cleaning, but it is unavoidable in many cases. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get rid of the smell using household items like vinegar and baking soda.

How to Get Rid of Bleach Smell in House

The smell of bleach is not only unpleasant, but it can be harmful as well. Many homeowners are sensitive to chemical fumes whether they have asthma or not. Let’s take a look at how you can safely get rid of the bleach smell in your house.

Air it Out

The most natural way to get rid of the bleach smell in your house is to air it out. Bleach odors can linger for up to 24 hours depending on how much you used. You can speed up the process if you open windows throughout the house to allow fresh air in.

Prepare to leave the windows open for as long as you need to until the smell is gone. The smell of bleach is notoriously stubborn and it can easily take all day to dissipate. Use a fan in areas where the bleach smell is the strongest so that you can help speed up the process.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is absorbent enough that it can help remove the smell of bleach in the air. Homeowners use baking soda to remove odors because it can neutralize molecules that smell strong. Pour baking soda into a bowl and place it in the room or rooms where the bleach smell is strong.

Leave the baking soda alone until it neutralizes the bleach odor. It can take as little as 30 minutes for baking soda to remove an odor in some cases. However, you may need to leave the dish out for 12-24 to fully get rid of the smell of bleach.

You can safely leave a dish of baking soda in each room that smells like bleach. Be careful if you have pets because they may knock the dish over unless you place it out of their reach.

Air Purifier

Use an air purifier if you want to simultaneously remove the bleach odor and clean the air in your home. Air purifiers are useful in any household because they can improve respiratory health. They can also remove foul odors from your home, like when your house smells like bleach after cleaning.

Not only will you remove the bleach odor, but you will likely notice an improvement in your home’s air quality. Use an air purifier in combination with other methods, such as baking soda or opening the windows for maximum results.


It is unsafe to mix vinegar and bleach, but you can use vinegar to get rid of the smell of bleach. Much like baking soda, simply pour vinegar into a dish and leave it in a room that smells like bleach. You will be safe as long as you don’t pour vinegar directly onto bleach which can be toxic.

Allow the vinegar to sit for 10-12 hours or as long as it takes to soak up the bleach smell. Close the door to the room to focus the vinegar’s absorbency on one area where the odor is the strongest. Make sure to air out the room after you are done because it will likely smell like vinegar for a while.

Bleach Smell in Washed Clothes

Using bleach in your laundry cycle is an excellent way to remove stains and ensure the clothes are sanitary. But if you use too much bleach in a cycle, the smell can cling to your clothing for days.

Steps to Removing Bleach Smell in Clothes

  • Using cool water, rewash the clothes in ¼ cup of detergent.
  • Add 1 cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
  • Once the wash cycle is complete, dry your clothes with 1 or 2 dryer sheets.
  • If the bleach smell persists, soak the laundry in a tub of cool water for several hours. Then repeat the above steps.

Bleach Alternatives

Maybe you want natural cleaning alternatives. Maybe you simply don’t want to wait so long for the bleach smell to go away every time you clean. Luckily, there are several natural alternatives to clean your house that won’t leave you with an unpleasant chemical smell.


This seems to be the magic ingredient! Not only can you use it to get rid of bleach smells, but you can actually use it to clean! It’s a disinfectant and is roughly 80% protective against bacteria and viruses. You can use it to clean surfaces. You can even add it to your laundry cycle instead of bleach.

Baking Soda

Another natural wonder! Baking soda is a wonderful whitening agent that can remove tough stains. It’s great for cleaning clothes and can replace your normal fabric softener.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This is primarily a disinfectant though it does have other uses. You can use this to clean surfaces as you would bleach. It can kill many types of bacteria including salmonella. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used in your laundry as a whitening agent, and it’s a natural odor remover.


Unlike bleach, lemon juice can be used to remove stains on your colored clothing. The citric acid in lemons makes it an excellent ingredient in DIY cleaning solutions.

Tea Tree Oil

This is another ingredient often added to DIY cleaning solutions because of its great disinfecting properties. It can be added to your laundry, and it’s also a natural anti-fungal essential oil.

Castile Soap

This is a natural, vegetable-based soap that is very gentle. It’s safe to use around children and pets. Castile soap is an all-in-one product that can clean pretty much anything in your home.

Sudden Bleach Smell

If you notice a sudden bleach smell long after cleaning, it may be due to a chlorine gas leak. This can be caused by accidentally mixing incompatible chemicals. Mixing these chemicals can have dangerous results. It’s very important that you DO NOT MIX the following products with chlorine bleach:

  • Some glass and window cleaners
  • Some toilet bowl cleaners
  • Some drain cleaners
  • Some indoor and exterior paints
  • Vinegar
  • Urine
  • Hydrogen peroxide

Steps for Decontamination

If you feel that you’ve been exposed to chlorine gas, it is important to seek emergency medical attention. Leave the area immediately and take the following precautions.

  • Remove clothing. Seal your clothes in a plastic bag so as not to spread the chlorine.
  • As soon as possible, wash and rinse your body using soap and water. Rinse your eyes with water for at least 15 minutes.
  • For contact lens wearers, remove lenses and seal them with your clothes. For glasses wearers, rinse your glasses with soap and water.

Any symptoms should subside within a few days.

Related Questions

These are some additional questions that users had related to bleach and the potential effects of using it to clean.

What happens if you inhale too much bleach?

Breathing in large quantities of chlorine gas can cause fluid to build up in your lungs which can lead to severe shortness of breath. This can be deadly if left untreated. You may also start coughing either immediately after inhalation or after a few hours. This is due to the chemicals irritating the lungs. It is important that you seek immediate medical attention if you feel that you’ve inhaled any chemicals.

Do you have to rinse the washer after using bleach?

If you added the bleach to the wash cycle—not the rinse cycle!—you can wash any type of load after using bleach. There is no need to run an empty cycle beforehand.

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Summing It Up

Bleach is certainly a popular go-to cleaning product because let’s face it—it works. But it can leave an unpleasant and potentially hazardous smell long after you’re done cleaning.

Making sure your house is properly ventilated by opening windows and using fans is the best way to dissipate the smell and ensure your safety. Using air purifiers or natural odor eliminators like vinegar or baking soda is another way to rid your house of that bleach smell.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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