Is the Bleach Pregnancy Test Safe and Reliable?

The bleach pregnancy test is an internet sensation. Type “bleach pregnancy test” into any search engine, and you’ll find stories that feed into that hype, complete with videos of women doing what looks like a whacky science experiment.

If you’ve ever taken a regular home pregnancy test, you might understand the appeal of this DIY hack. I still vividly remember how I sat in my bathroom watching that pregnancy stick like a hawk to see if I was pregnant.

The minutes seemed like hours.

The waiting was agony.

Enter the bleach home pregnancy test: it’s simple, it’s quick, and bleach is a common household staple that everyone is used to handling.

And the best part? It’s cheap.

You can buy a big jug of bleach for a couple of dollars. But before you start rummaging in the cupboard under your sink to see if you’re pregnant, here are a few things you should know about the safety and accuracy of the bleach pregnancy test.


What Is The Bleach Pregnancy Test?

The bleach pregnancy test is supposed to be a quick alternative to traditional home pregnancy tests.

The technique is simple – you grab a cup and pour in some bleach, add your fresh urine, and wait to see what happens. How much bleach? How much urine? Your guess is as good as anybody else’s because unfortunately there are no set guidelines or measurements out there.

If you’re pregnant, you’ll supposedly know it quickly with the bleach test because the mixture will bubble up and foam. If the mixture doesn’t do anything or just slightly fizzes, there’s no stork delivery in your future.

Bleach supposedly reacts with the HCG in a pregnant woman’s urine, and that’s why people believe this test works.

You should always ventilate any area that you are using household cleaners, solvents, or paint. Purposely mixing household cleaners and urine is dangerous. Stay safe. You may now be breathing for two!
Headshot of Caitlin Goodwin, Certified Nurse-Midwife

Editor's Note:

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Why Do People Think This Works?

A standard pregnancy test works by measuring the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin. Because none of us will probably ever need to know that full term again and we can’t pronounce it anyway, let’s call it hCG.

Early in a woman’s pregnancy, her body starts to produce hCG. The levels continue to rise each day dramatically during most of the first trimester.

That’s why home pregnancy tests typically work better if you wait until a week or so after your missed period – although there are tests that say they can detect pregnancy even before your missed period.

The Danger Behind This Method

In case you’ve had better things to do with your life than memorizing the mind-numbingly long and boring names of ingredients found in cleaning products, allow me to blind you with my science skills.

The chemical name for everyday chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite (source). Here’s some information you likely learned in high school chemistry class, but I’ll be glad to give you a quick refresher course.

Certain chemicals and compounds are not friends. They aren’t even frenemies. They shouldn’t mix at all.

Chlorine bleach and ammonia are like that. Combined, they create a toxic fume called chloramine gas that no one should be around, least of all pregnant women. Normal urine contains urea, which can break down into – you guessed it – ammonia (source).

Mixing urine and bleach is not only gross, but it can also create nasty chloramine gas.

Those who are around this gas can experience some terrible side effects, including nausea, coughing, breathing issues, chest pain, pneumonia, and throat, nose, and eye irritation. Inhaling the fumes created by mixing bleach and ammonia can even knock you out if you aren’t in a properly ventilated room (source).

Going to the hospital
If you plan to do this test in your bathroom without opening any windows, you’ve put yourself and your baby at risk.

Who Wants to Clean That Up?

If I were going to have two liquids bubbling, fizzing, and spewing in my house, my last two picks would be bleach and urine.

Watching YouTube videos of people who’ve done this test reminds me of the homemade volcano I made with my kids a couple of years ago. That was made of baking soda and vinegar, and it was still a pain to clean up.

I can’t imagine cleaning up a cocktail of bubbling urine and bleach. But you’d have to.

You can’t just announce over an intercom that you need a clean up on Aisle 5. It’s your house, so the only clean-up crew coming to your rescue is you.

Remember

Some people opt to put the cup in the sink while they do this test, while some choose to put it in the shower. Neither one of these areas is typically highly ventilated! Remember, if you do this test you need to make sure that fresh air can come in and toxic gas can go out.

I’ve seen videos of people doing this test on a floor, with is a towel placed under the cup. Well, I have enough cleaning to do at my house without adding to the workload by doing this. If I have to put gloves on to clean something up, I don’t want it to be something that could hurt the growing baby in my belly.

Questions About Accuracy

But let’s get down to the thing you really want to know: does it work? Sadly, do-it-yourself home pregnancy tests are seldom reliable.

Despite lots of YouTube videos of people’s bleach tests showing accurate results, this test is no better than chance. Some women have had a positive reaction even though they weren’t pregnant.

And even if the bleach test is sometimes right, you’ll likely still feel the need to go to the drugstore, buy a pregnancy test, and confirm the result at home anyway.

Waste of Time?

If you’re going to buy a test to back up the bleach test’s results, why not skip the mess and danger and just take the home pregnancy test?

Learning about pregnancy is an emotional time for women and dads-to-be. If I’m riding an emotional roller coaster, I’d prefer to know that the results were accurate and that I wasn’t getting my hopes up because of a test that could well be wrong.

Related Reading
Is It Okay to Take a Pregnancy Test at Night?

Is It Cheaper?

I remember when I was trying to get pregnant, I was so impatient. I wanted a baby so badly, and I couldn’t wait to find out if my dreams were coming true.

The first day of my missed period I would test to see if I was pregnant. When that test was negative, I would wait until the next day and try again. There were times I took two pregnancy tests in one day – one first thing in the morning and one right before bed.

My pregnancy tests didn’t show up positive until the third or fourth day of my missed period. For the women who have irregular periods, guessing when to take a pregnancy test is even harder. If they’re as impatient as I was, that adds up to buying a hell of a lot of pregnancy tests.

So, I get it. Pregnancy tests can be expensive. Some tests that say they can detect pregnancies days before a missed period can cost several dollars apiece.

I feel like I personally kept some of the pregnancy test companies afloat financially during the months I was trying for a baby. I was starting to feel like I had to take out a part-time job just to support my pregnancy test addiction.

But not all pregnancy tests will leave you broke. Some brands that receive great feedback cost less than fifty cents apiece. At that price, you can repeatedly test without feeling like you’ve been ripped off or needing to take out a second mortgage.


Who Needs the Worry?

Expectant moms worry all the time. They need to remember to take their daily multi-vitamin, they have to avoid certain foods, and they shouldn’t drink or smoke. And, even if they do everything perfectly, things can still go wrong.

You know who blames themselves at the first sign of trouble? Women. We feel responsible for everything. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. It’s not fair, but it’s a reality.

The bleach pregnancy test can give women just one more reason to beat themselves up. They aren’t only exposing themselves to toxic fumes – they are also exposing their unborn child, any other children who live in their household, and their significant other.

Even if nothing seems to go wrong while doing the bleach test inside your home, is it worth the extra worry when you can buy a cheap pregnancy test instead?

I hate the idea of women having one more reason to second-guess themselves. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if any of my actions caused my son’s peanut allergy or my daughter’s viral-induced asthma. Let me tell you, mom guilt is real, and it’s brutal.

My Opinion?

Every woman must make her own decisions about what’s best for her child, but I don’t think the bleach test is a good idea when you consider it from all angles. The possibility of inhaling toxic fumes and hurting yourself and your baby when there’s a better choice out there doesn’t seem like the way to go.

A standard pregnancy test can be bought for less than $1 at Walmart, has a proven record of being accurate, and is a lot less messy. Isn’t that a better choice?

What do you think of the bleach pregnancy test? Why do you think it has become so popular?

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26 Reader Comments

  1. Jacquelyn Tucker

    I took the bleach pregnancy test about a month ago because I had a lot of sporting and nothing happened, then I got what I thought was my period but after it was done I took another one and it all bubbled up and got foamy, does this mean I am pregnant? I took it 3 times just to be sure and every time it foams up

    • It could mean that you are pregnant. But as I mentioned in this post, the results of the bleach test are often inaccurate. If I were you, I would buy a real pregnancy test just to be sure. Good luck, Jenny.

    • Soukaina

      It doesn’t work. I tried the bleach pregnancy test more than five times, I got positive result, but I’m not pregnant.

  2. Lola

    I just concluded my period and I guess I’m in my ovulation period, but I had an unprotected sex two weeks before my period, I did the bleach pregnancy test and it all foamed up, could it mean dat I’m pregnant

    • Jenny

      Sorry Lola, I have no idea. You should get a real pregnancy test if you really want to know the answer to that question.

  3. Aidery

    I saw the bleach test on Pinterest and after the third day of my missed period I tried it. We have been trying to conceive for 6 months now and when the bleach bubbled up right away I got so excited. I was ready to tell my husband. Unfortunately, later that day I started my period. ???? I thought maybe it was just spotting and would go away as that happened with my first pregnancy, but it wasn’t. I did this in the restroom without thinking and boy did I get a headache! Anyone who might want to try this, please be careful.

    • Jenny

      Yes! That you so much for sharing Aidery. This is exactly what I have tried to warn people against. Not only is the bleach pregnancy test wildly inaccurate, but it IS dangerous too. So why even bother? Sadly there are still lots of other websites that promote this method and give people false expectations. I do wish you all the best of luck for conceiving though. Hang in there and I’m sure everything will work out! xx

  4. Unknown

    I took the bleach test and it just fizzled nothing else no foam at all would that mean I’m pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Sorry to say, but the best way to find out will be by taking a pregnancy test. Good luck!

  5. Ashely

    Am I pregnant? So I just turned 18, and I need help, so it’s been 2-3 weeks without I’m once a month visitor and this morning I took the bleach test and it just fizzled but no foam came up and it didn’t fizzle a lot so is there a chance I’m pregnant?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      What happened in the end Ashley? Was the test accurate?

  6. hannah

    I took the toothpaste, baking soda, soap and the bleach pregnancy test. They all came back POSITIVE! I asked many doctors, and they said it was 75% accurate. But they still recommended that I take regular, store-bought pregnancy test. So I will be getting a store bought test Friday, and I will let you know! I hope I am for sure carrying a beautiful little mini-me again! Wish me luck and as well I as I do for you! <3

  7. Chelsea

    I’ve watched a lot of videos on YouTube of the bleach test and the positive and negative results seem to be just about that same result according to the video. I wasn’t thinking and did this test in a very small bathroom and regretted it shortly after my headache and eyes did not feel so well. Is there any other home remedies you prefer to have better luck?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Chelsea,

      Thanks for sharing your story. I hope others will be able to learn from your unfortunate experience.

      I recently wrote an article on the best homemade pregnancy tests.

      There are some much safer and more reliable options than the bleach test. But at the end of the day, if you want 100% certainty, a store bought test will always be your best option.

      Best regards,
      Jenny

  8. Paloma

    I had protected sex about two weeks ago the funny part is that he didn’t finish and now I’m experiencing symptoms only pregnant woman have I took the home pregnancy test with bleach and it came out positive but I haven’t started or missed my period yet, should I worry?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Give the circumstances you described, it seems highly unlikely. But what happened in the end Paloma. Was the test accurate?

  9. Jamzz

    Took the bleach test and it really foamed over the container, but I got my cycle the next day????. I feel concerned. Doctor appointment isn’t until 12/06. I also have all the other symptoms especially the achy teeth/gums

  10. Taylor

    So I think I may be pregnant and I was to impatient to wait to buy a proper pregnancy test. I didn’t read anything that said it can be harmful in many ways and now I feel so worried that I may have done something harmful that I should have not done. Should I be really worried?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Taylor, thanks for getting in touch.

      This isn’t medical advice, so please do not take it as such. But in my opinion, there’s no need to panic.

      Unless you performed the test in an enclosed space without any ventilation and inhaled a bunch of the bleach fumes, I don’t think you’ve put yourself at risk.

      It’s a good lesson to be learned though. Patience is king, and be careful not to believe anything you read on the internet! 🙂

      Hope everything works out for the best,
      Jenny

  11. I put bleach in a bowl and my urine in the same bowl it bubbled up just a little bit then it started to see foam on the top layer. Does this mean I’m pregnant? Someone, please help!

    • Jenny Silverstone

      I’m afraid it’s not the answer you are hoping for, but the only way to find out is by taking a real pregnancy test. Good luck Leah!

  12. Shelly

    I have done the pinesol, baking soda, sugar, vinegar and today the bleach (small amount of bleach and urine, equal amounts of both in a ventilated area.) it did start to foam this time, and it only had a few bubbles the last time I did it. I have all the other symptoms. The baking soda worked in the beginning but not much now. As it can be used as a gender thing, I am taking the hope it means it is a girl LOL. My HPTS was negative when I took it on sat morn. I did the bleach test that morn today it was showed the foam as if positive. The sugar has had some small clumps as well. I do not produce HCG as fast and my implantation seemed to end on Tues. So it may take longer for it to produce. My AF was due on 26, and she did not arrive 😀

  13. Destinie

    So my boyfriend and I always use a condom. We always check after and the condom has never broke and they’ve never torn. I am not on the pill, so my periods are not exactly regular. My last period was at the end of March and we were intimate 2 days after it ended (once again, we used condoms). I did not get my period at all in April and am currently 10 days late for my period this month. I am not trying to conceive so this is very scary for me as neither of us are in a position to have a child right now. I do take thyroid medication because I don’t have a thyroid, so I’m hoping it could be related to that instead (since that’s currently a much smaller issue). I took 2 pregnancy tests after I was 3 weeks late for my period and they both came back negative, but today I did this bleach test (just experimenting in a well-ventilated area of course) and it got very foamy and bubbly (which I assume is a positive reaction?) so I am very worried. Does anyone have any idea why I could have all these results?? I also don’t have any pregnancy symptoms besides some odd discharge.

    • Scared Teen

      Hi. So I am way too young to have a kid, and I took this test. I have looked up videos and with male urine I have seen it totally fizz up and overflow. I haven’t taken any pregnancy tests and nobody but my boyfriend knows about this. I took it too and the chances of me being pregnant from what we did is very slim but it did fizz up and overflow.

  14. Scared Teen

    Hi. I’m very scared because I did this test and it fizzed up slowly. I am in no way ready for a child. I’m way too young. It turned positive on this, and I don’t have access to a pregnancy test. I’m really scared, and I don’t know what to tell my mom if I am pregnant. Please help!

    • Jenny Silverstone

      The good news for you is that this test is not very reliable at all. I think the best thing you can do is get a real pregnancy test, and that way you will be able to know for sure.

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