A lot of people ask about the reliability of homemade or DIY pregnancy tests. There are hundreds of them out there – from old, traditional remedies to modern folklore. One of the most common ones that gets asked about is the bleach test.

The way this test is supposed to work is very simple. You mix equal parts bleach and your urine in a bowl. If it fizzes and froths, you are pregnant. If there is little or no reaction, you aren’t. The mixture should also change color to a dark orange or red if you are pregnant.

Here’s an example of how the test works:

Myth or truth?

This test seems simple enough, but does it really work? We decided to test the theory to see if it does indeed work. We ran the test three times on a woman who was confirmed as pregnant, and on only one of those times did the mixture boil in a positive result.

It would appear that this test is really just a myth. We do not recommend that you try it out if you are hoping that you have fallen pregnant. Rather get a medical test from your pharmacy to give you true peace of mind.

IMPORTANT: Never perform these tests in reusable cups or bowls. Use disposable cups and discard them after you’ve tried the test.

What other home test scan I try?

There are numerous other tests that you can try out at home, although none of them have shown to be completely reliable.

One that we get asked about often is the Moroccan test. This test supposedly works by oxidizing a needle in your urine. You place the needle in a glass or bowl of your urine and then leave it there overnight. If the metal gets dark or oxidized, then you are pregnant. If it doesn’t, you aren’t. Again, we tested this theory three times on a woman who was confirmed as pregnant by a doctor, and got no positive results.

Other tests include using sugar, toothpaste, vinegar or pine sol in your urine. None of these tests are 100% reliable and the results should definitely not be taken as fact. To be fair, not even an hCG pregnancy test that you can buy at a pharmacy is completely accurate – although they do give more reliable results statistically.

Basically, there’s no harm in trying these tests to see what comes up. However, if you are trying to fall pregnant, it’s best to not pin your hopes on the results of any homemade tests that you read about on the Internet. Rather try a test from your local pharmacy or book an appointment with your gynecologist.

Recurring questions from readers

Due to the large number of questions we receive, we decided to assemble a summary of the queries that come our way most often:

Does the chlorine test really work?

Unfortunately no, the chlorine test is about as reliable as the bleach test. This is because it doesn’t contain anything that can test for the presence of hCG. Chlorine is a strong chemical that can alter the state of urine regardless of whether or not you are pregnant.

Which pregnancy test is most effective?

The only test that really works is a blood test. This has to be done by a qualified nurse or doctor and analyzed in a lab before you get a result.

However, tests that look for the presence of hCG in your urine are the best you can do at home. These can be bought at just about any pharmacy and taken home with you. They come in the form of a stick that you must urinate on. After waiting the stated period of time – usually a minute or so – a positive or negative result will appear.

How do I know if I’m pregnant without taking a test?

There are many symptoms of pregnancy that can give you an indication that you have conceived. However, you’ll have to be very observant and know your cycle well in order to pick up the signs. These include sore breasts, nausea and cramps, among others.

The best way to be sure is to actually go to your doctor and get your blood tested.

What if I want to test for pregnancy discretely at home?

Your best bet would be to get a hormone test from the pharmacy. These tests may not be completely reliable, but they are a lot better than most homemade tests. Be sure to research well-known brands that have good reviews, and wait until after your menstrual period is five days late. If you don’t trust the results of the test, wait another two days and repeat it. This should give you a clear result either positive or negative.