Do Bleach Pregnancy Tests Work?

Medically Reviewed by Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM
Updated
Is the bleach pregnancy test accurate and reliable? Let's find out.

If you can’t make it to the store for a few hours but are desperate to find out if you’re pregnant, the bleach test is a do-it-yourself alternative to a pregnancy test.

But before you go and grab that bottle of bleach, we have done a ton of research to let you know how safe and reliable the bleach pregnancy test really is.

Soon, you’ll know how to use bleach to find out if you’re pregnant and the science behind it, as well as the pros and cons so that you can decide if it’s worth it – or if you should just wait until you can get to the drugstore to buy an official test.


What Is The Bleach Pregnancy Test?

This DIY testing method is supposed to be a quick alternative to traditional home pregnancy tests.

The technique is simple – pour some bleach in a cup, add your fresh urine, and wait to see what happens.

But unfortunately, there are no set guidelines for how much bleach and urine to mix together since this isn’t an official method.

If you’re pregnant, the bleach and urine mixture should bubble up and foam. If the mixture doesn’t do anything or just slightly fizzes, you should take that as a negative test result.

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!
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Editor's Note:

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Does hCG React With Bleach?

A standard pregnancy test works by measuring the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin.

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 can detect pregnancy even before your missed period.

Dangers of the Bleach Pregnancy Test

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 (1). You likely learned some information about it 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 ammonia (2).

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 (3).

 

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 using 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 if you did this DIY test, you’d have to.

Remember

Some people opt to put the cup in the sink or shower while they do this test. 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 a towel placed under the cup. I have enough cleaning to do at my house without adding to the workload by doing this.

Plus, 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.

Does the Bleach Pregnancy Test Really Work?

Sadly, do-it-yourself home pregnancy tests are seldom reliable.

Despite lots of YouTube videos of people’s bleach tests showing positive results, this test is no better than chance. Some women have had a positive bleach pregnancy test 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 positive 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 moms- 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
Woman Taking Pregnancy Test at NightPregnancy Test At Night: Are The Results Accurate?

Is It Cheaper?

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 pregnancy 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 think 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.

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. In my opinion, that’s the better choice.

Headshot of Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Medically Reviewed by

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Caitlin Goodwin MSN, RN, CNM is a Certified Nurse-Midwife, clinical instructor and educator. She has ten years of nursing experience and enjoys blogging about family travel and autism in her free time.
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