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Is It Harmful To Disinfect Your Well With Bleach?

Should You Pour Bleach Down Your Well?

Will It Harm You To Add Bleach To Your Well?

If you have well water that smells, looks, or tastes strange, or if the water is harming your health and home, then it's time to think about testing your water and possibly, treating your well.

Bleach is one way to do this, but there are some important things you should know before using it in your water supply: First, The CDC recommends using bleach only in certain situations (natural disaster or emergency) and according to specific guidelines.

Bleach can harm your health by making asthma worse, it can burn your eyes and skin, can irritate your throat and mouth, damage to the lining of the stomach, and much more.

It's important to follow the CDC or other health agencies recommendations to protect your health and the health of your family and pets.

What Is Bleach?

Bleach is a chemical that removes color from fabric or fiber and can kill bacteria. The chemicals can be sodium hypochlorite or peroxide based bleach. It can be purchased in powder and rehydrated or liquid form.

Bleach is found in many household cleaning and laundry products. A few of the products that contain bleach are toilet bowl cleaners, disinfectants used cleaning kitchens or laundry stains.

Research Before Bleaching Water!

Why Would I Want To Add Bleach To My Well?

Bleach is an inexpensive option for treating your water for bacteria without having to invest in a water filter system.

Bleach is also effective at killing bacteria--it can kill some types of harmful bacteria, but not all of them.

If you plan on using bleach as part of your well maintenance routine, make sure that you read the instructions carefully before adding any chemicals into the water system of your home or business because they may react with each other and create toxic fumes!

If you're interested in learning more about how bleach works as an disinfectant agent on this page: CDC Guidelines For Bleaching A Well

Does It Work To Add Bleach To Your Well?

The short answer is no, it's not a cure-all.

Well water issues often stem from contamination by bacteria and chemicals, so bleach can be an effective treatment for some of these problems. However, it will not eliminate all types of bacteria in your well water; in fact, some types may actually thrive on the added chlorine (like E. coli).

And while bleach may kill some harmful organisms in your well system, it also kills helpful ones like nitrifying bacteria--which naturally occur in soil and aquatic environments--and are necessary for good healthful drinking water that doesn't smell or taste bad!


  • Use only unscented household liquid chlorine bleach.

  • Bleach concentrations are generally between 5%-9%.

  • Quantities given in this table are approximate and are rounded to the nearest practical measurement. Amounts given are calculated in accordance with reaching a chlorine concentration of > 100 mg/L

Remember: adding bleach to your well isn't without risk: When ingested orally at high concentrations (more than 1 part per million), sodium hypochlorite causes nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; abdominal pain; dizziness or fainting upon standing up quickly after sitting still too long with eyes closed; coughing with fever followed by yellowing skin color due to liver damage...

sick woman
Bleach In Well Water Can Make You Sick

Bleach is Toxic When Ingested.

It's not just the well water that can be dangerous. Bleach is toxic when ingested and can cause burns, damage to the stomach, and even death. It can also cause vomiting, nausea and diarrhea; irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; headaches and dizziness.

How Does Bleach Kill Bacteria?

Bleach is a disinfectant. It kills bacteria by disrupting proteins on the cell membrane, which results in cell death.

The chemical reaction that takes place when bleach is added to water is known as oxidation and it occurs when bleach reacts with other compounds in your well water system.

Bleach can kill bacteria at low concentrations (0.5% - 2%), but not all types of bacteria are susceptible to this chemical process. For example, some strains of E-coli will survive exposure to bleach solutions at concentrations as high as 10%, while other types of pathogenic organisms will die quickly even at very low levels (<0.5%).

There are Many Types of Bacteria in Water

Bleach Is Not Effective Against All Bacteria.

In order to understand why adding bleach to your well may be harmful, you need to know a little about how it works.

Bleach can kill most bacteria if it's used at the right concentration and for long enough.

However, some bacteria are resistant to bleach. Those resistant strains are called "extremophiles" because they live in extreme conditions (like boiling water or high levels of acidity). They can survive the high concentrations of chlorine found in your tap water and thrive once they've been introduced into your well water system.

The problem with these extremophiles isn't just that they're hardy enough to survive exposure to household cleaners; it's also that some types produce toxins after being killed by chemicals like chlorine or iodine

measuring cup
It's Important To Know How Much Bleach To Add

How Much Bleach Should You Use To Treat Your Well Water?

To treat your well water, you'll need to refer to the CDC guidelines.

If you have a large amount of water that needs treatment, divide the amount into several smaller batches and mix them together in buckets before pouring them into your well.

Once the bleach has been added and mixed thoroughly with the water, let it sit for the amount of time referred to in the CDC bulletin highlighted above.

The longer the bleach/water mixture site, the more effective (if the bacteria in your well is succeptible to bleach) it will be. You can also leave this mixture in place overnight if possible--this gives even more time for bacteria-killing action!

If you notice any discoloration after adding your treatment solution or if there is still a smell coming from your faucets after running them for several minutes (or hours), repeat this process again until those issues resolve themselves completely

Can You Use Other Chemicals Instead Of Bleach?

If you're looking for an alternative to bleach, there are plenty of other chemicals that can be used to disinfect well water. Chlorine, hydrogen peroxide sand filtration, KDF media, and ozone are all effective against some bacteria but not all.

The University of Minnesota Extension recommends chlorine as a disinfectant because it's inexpensive and easy to use. You simply add 1/8 teaspoon (1 g) of liquid bleach per gallon of water in the well casing or bucket until it reaches a concentration between 5 parts per million (ppm) and 10 ppm; then let the mixture sit for 30 minutes before pouring it into your house plumbing system.

Bleach can kill some microorganisms, but it is not a cure-all for well water problems.

While bleach is an effective disinfectant, it's not a cure-all for your well water problems. In fact, using too much bleach can be harmful to you and your family.

Bleach will kill some bacteria, but not all of them--and it won't even kill the most dangerous ones.

Bleach also doesn't work against certain types of microorganisms such as Cryptosporidium or Giardia lamblia (the cause of giardiasis), which are common in municipal drinking water systems but rarely found in well water systems because they require more extreme conditions than most wells provide: very warm temperatures and low oxygen levels that aren't typically found underground where wells are located.

In addition to being ineffective against some types of microorganisms, bleach can be toxic if ingested by humans or animals--even small amounts can cause serious illness or death in pets!

water test kit
There are 3 Ways To Test Your Water - Home Test Kit, Local Health Department, and Commercial Labs

Test Your Well Water First, Then Test It Again

If you're worried that your well water might be contaminated with harmful bacteria and other impurities, it's important to test it first. To find out if your problem with bacteria is fixed, it's time for step two: testing again.

If the problem persists after the second round of testing (and if you don't have any other reason for adding bleach), then consider adding some bleach into your water supply!

However, if everything checks out okay during both rounds of testing--and there are no signs of contamination--it may be best not to use any kind of additive at all!

⇨⇨ Never put bleach in your well without testing your water first!

⇨⇨ You should never add bleach to your well water without first testing it!

Once you have the water testing results and they are high for bacteria, you can consider treating your well with bleach.

It's important that you test frequently because depending on natural factors, use of the land around your well, and more, the levels bacteria may change over time.

In conclusion............test, test, and retest your water. That is the only way you'll know if your water needs to be treated.

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