When Should I Use Bleach on My Clothes?

Bleach is a powerful tool to help you keep your clothes clean and spotless, but using it isn’t always straightforward. In this post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about using bleach. First up: bleach types!

Understanding Bleach Types

Despite what you may think, not all bleach is the same. In fact, there are at least three commonly used types:

  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Chlorine bleach (most popular)

Hydrogen Peroxide

This is indeed the same hydrogen peroxide you buy at the grocery store and use to clean small scrapes. No extra purchases needed!

But you do need to know how to use it. Don’t pour it onto your clothes directly, as it can strip any color and leave you with unwearable clothes. To prevent this from happening, put approximately one cup into your washer’s water before adding laundry. 

Oxygen Bleach

Also known as all-fabric bleach, this option is great for people who need a bleach that’s flexible for a wide variety of clothing types. Just don’t use it with leather, silk, or wool. 

To use this, we recommend finding a powered version that activates in water. This will still have optimal use, but will also last longer than liquid bleach. If you’re simply removing a stain, you can add the solution to a tub of cold water and soak the piece. You can also add the powder to a washer the same way as hydrogen peroxide.

Chlorine Bleach

This is probably what you think of when you hear bleach — and rightfully so. Chlorine bleach is by far the most powerful home option, so it pays to be careful. Similar to oxygen bleach, you can find both liquid and dry options.

With chlorine bleach, it’s best to test your clothes for something called “colorfastness.” This is a simple, hidden way to see if the chlorine solution will damage the color of your clothes. Find a part of your clothes that no one will see, dab a small amount of chlorine on the clothes, then let the spot dry. If the color changes even slightly, don’t use it. 

If your clothes pass this test, you can use your chlorine bleach similarly to the other two types: diluted in water before you add any fabrics. This will ensure that you get an optimal clean without the strong solution damaging any of the fibers in your clothes. 

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