How and When to Use Bleach When Doing Laundry

Tips for Using Bleach to Wash Clothes

To bleach or not to bleach clothes? This is a popular conundrum that often pops into our heads when we come across heavily-stained garments. Generally, there are two types of bleach used in home laundry: chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach. Through a process of oxidation, bleach changes the stain into soluble particles to be washed away by detergents in the washing process. Next time you’re doing laundry in Chula Vista, check out these tips on how and when to use bleach.

Chlorine bleach is a liquid solution of sodium hypochlorite. It lightens clothes well and is good to disinfect materials. Note that it is much more corrosive than oxygen bleach, so it should only be used for stubborn stains and on hard-wearing materials. Chlorine bleach should always be added to water and mixed in well before adding to the washer or added to the proper automatic dispenser in your washer. Never pour chlorine bleach directly onto fabrics – it will remove color completely and start to dissolve the fibers.

Oxygen bleach contains sodium percarbonate and is gentler than chlorine bleach. It can be used on most white and colored clothing – just remember to check the care label on any garment first. It should not be used on silk, wool, or leather. It is commonly known as color-safe bleach. If adding powdered oxygen bleach to wash loads, add the powder to the empty washer tub first, then add clothes.

When mixing powdered oxygen bleach with water, use warm water to ensure that all of the powder dissolves. You can then add cold water, if necessary. Submerge the stained garment and allow it to soak for as long as possible – up to eight hours or overnight. Oxygen bleach works slowly, so patience is key.

Be aware that bleach does a poor job of removing oil-based stains. However, it does work well at removing stains that are plant-based, such as grass stains, blood stains, and coffee stains. Generally, you should always dilute oxygen bleaches for stain removals. If you want to try full-strength oxygen bleach, it is best to try a ‘test spot’ on part of the fabric that does not show, such as an inside seam.

When deciding on whether or not to use bleach in your laundry, it is always best to err on the side of caution. A bleaching mishap can be heartbreaking when your favorite garment turns out blotchy. If you do decide to use bleach, always take care.

When it comes caring for your laundry and getting the most out of every wash, consult the experts at Fresh & Clean Laundry. As your local laundromat in Chula Vista, California, we can help you with all of your laundry-related needs.

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