How long can you leave bleach on a counter?
March 13, 2012 8:45 AM   Subscribe

How long can I leave bleach on a countertop?

Okay, I know this is very stupid but before I left for work this morning I bleached my kitchen countertop to remove some wine stains. Then I forgot to rinse it off and left. I don't want to bleach-stain my countertop or cause any other damage to it, though I realize it may be too late for that. I have searched and searched the internet but can't find anything saying just how long it takes before bleach starts ruining your countertop.

I have plans after work but will skip them if it means I can get home and save the countertop. So, does anyone know:

How long it might take for bleach to ruin a countertop of unknown material? It is grey, possibly laminate. It's not granite or concrete but something cheap. Is this something I even need to worry about?

If I should be worried and there is a chance I can save it I will rush home. It's been on the counter for about 7-8 hours already and I won't be able to get home for another 2 at the earliest.

I've never done this before, but I have left bleach on the bathtub/sinks/painted walls and nothing bad has ever happened, so I'm not sure if I should be freaking out right now or not.
posted by Polychrome to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
It may depend a bit on the counter (and the bleach) but I doubt you need worry. I've used bleach on my cheap grey countertop without harm.

Also if it were going to do any damage, after 8 hours I feel fairly sure you'd be too late, so I wouldn't rush home.
posted by Segundus at 8:58 AM on March 13, 2012

Yeah...if it was going to hurt anything its likely too late now.

If it was liquid chlorine bleach it also would of most likely dried by now leaving behind some chloride and chlorate salts (sodium chloride and chlorate assuming you were using typical household Sodium hypochlorite bleach) just give the counter a rinse and it should be fine.
posted by Captain_Science at 9:02 AM on March 13, 2012

It was a gel bleach, which I am not used to using so I don't know if that would have dried up.
posted by Polychrome at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2012

Yeah, any effect that it was going to have, it will have had by now.

Also, the gel-bleaches are a lot less effective once they dry out, which I'm sure it has by now. Also, chlorine bleach is volatile. It will eventually all evaporate and be gone, anyway.
posted by Citrus at 9:36 AM on March 13, 2012

I am marking these all as best answer because they all made me feel better. I won't rush home and will update to confirm how the countertop suffered.
posted by Polychrome at 9:44 AM on March 13, 2012

So the countertop was stained a pale yellow. It's noticeable and looks a bit trashy, but not so horrible that it must be replaced.
posted by Polychrome at 5:43 AM on March 15, 2012

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