Over one million people have watched the YouTube video. Shot from above, viral recipe video style, a disembodied hand pours bleach into two cups of human pee. They both begin to fizz, but one fizzes more than the other. This is a "bleach pregnancy test."
Dozens of similar videos have been posted to YouTube over the past five years, many of them racking up hundreds of thousands of views. They claim that if you mix a pregnant person’s urine with bleach, it will fizzle and foam. Supposedly, the reaction is caused by the bleach’s reaction to human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a pregnancy hormone that can be detected in urine.
However, experts say that they have no idea where this viral trend comes from, and there’s no proof that it’s true. According to Planned Parenthood, “The ‘bleach test’ — adding bleach to your urine — is 100% myth. It cannot accurately tell you whether or not you’re pregnant.”
There is tiny a grain of truth in the tests: drugstore pregnancy tests work by measuring the amount of hCG in your pee. After a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining, your body begins releasing hCG, which prevents your uterine lining from shedding and stops your period. During the early days of pregnancy, your levels of hCG increase rapidly. By the time you’ve missed your period, they’re easily detectable by a drugstore pregnancy test.
However, there’s no evidence that bleach reacts to urine with hCG differently than any other kind of urine. And in fact, inhaling bleach fumes can be harmful, so bleach shouldn’t be played with. If you want to take a pregnancy test, it'll both be safer and more accurate to purchase an over-the-counter test — these often cost less than $10 and are available at most drugstores, as well as online. A blood test, which is done at a doctor’s office and measures the levels of hCG in your blood, is also an accurate way to tell if you’re pregnant.
Bleach is just one viral DIY pregnancy test — others include mixing your pee with toothpaste, sugar, or baking soda. Doctors say that none of them work. “Having an accurate answer is well worth the cost of a pregnancy test from the drug store or a visit to your doctor," Caitlin McAllister, MD, chief Ob/Gyn resident at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, previously told Refinery29.