How to use bleach with laundry: Tips to reduce yellowing

Did you ever wonder if there’s a better and safer way to use bleach in the laundry? We all have our reasons for breaking out the large white bottle. One cannot deny its benefits to whiten clothing and strength to kill bacteria.

Knowing that bleach is probably one of the strongest chemicals in your cleaning supplies it’s common to misuse this product. There have been many times I’ve overused bleach and permanently yellowed perfectly good white fabrics.

Over the years of trial and error, I’ve learned how to use bleach the right way. I’m going to share my tips on how to use bleach with your laundry and remove stubborn stains.

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Warning before you add Bleach to your wash

Bleach should be used carefully by reading the care label on the fabric you want to whiten. Even if the fabric is white that doesn’t mean you can use bleach to brighten it.

Materials like: Wool, Silk, Mohair, Leather, Spandex should be avoided from using bleach. Before you use any chlorine bleach, perform a Testing for color fasteners.

Testing Tips for Color Fastness

Start by mixing 1 teaspoon of bleach with 2 teaspoons of warm water. Find a spot that would be less noticeable to test on your garment of choice. Dip a cotton swap in the diluted bleach mixture and dot the fabric.

Wait for the spot to dry completely to see if there are any changes. If the fabric color or transfers the color to the cotton swab does not use bleach on this fabric.

How to choose the right bleach

There are two main types of liquid bleach you can use in your laundry. One is chlorine bleach or non-chlorine bleach. Non-chlorine bleach is commonly known as oxygen bleach or color-safe bleach. Chlorine bleach should be used one white clothing to get rid of stains and odor but steer away from using it on colored fabrics.

One splash of chlorine bleach on colored clothes can leave faded splotches and completely ruin your fabric. If you want to wash colored or patterned clothing your best option is to use non-chlorine bleach like oxygen bleach.

It will clean and brighten your clothes without fading. If you are unsure about whether you should use bleach, Remember to always check the care label. This will ensure you don’t waste time on getting bad results after the wash.

Benefits of using Bleach with your Laundry

Bleach is extremely powerful in whitening your clothing. It does so through the process of oxidation, by changing the soil into soluble particles. As a laundry detergent aid, it helps the detergent better remove dirt and soil during the washing process.

Say goodbye to mold and mildew smell as it acts greatly in removing those stubborn odors. Bleach is also a powerful disinfectant. Using bleach as a sanitizer is the best choice because it kills 99.9% of bacteria.

When is it the correct time to add Chlorine Bleach?

You should never add chlorine bleach directly onto the clothes either in the sink or washer because it will quickly remove the color and start dissolving the fibers. That dissolving of the fibers is clear evidence of yellowing on white clothes.

It’s best to add the bleach into an automatic dispenser that is timed for the bleach cycle. If you have a standard washer add it into the washer water before adding in the clothes. After adding the detergent second as you normally would.

How to use Bleach with your Laundry

Step #1: Add your selected clothes to the washing machine after checking the care label or doing a colorfastness test.

Step #2: Add in your usual laundry detergent of choice

Step #3: Add ¾ cup of liquid chlorine bleach to the washing machine’s bleach dispenser.

Step #4: Select the heavy soil or extra rinse cycle 

Step #5: Choose Warm or Hot water for the water temperature.

*If you don’t have a dispenser add ¾ cup of bleach to your washer’s tub after its finished filling with water

Finally, launder your clothes as usual.

How to use Bleach for Removing Stains

Step #1:  Dilute a small amount of bleach in a lot of warm or hot water to make a light bleach solution.

Step #2: To remove spots, dip a white cloth in the solution and blot the stain until the stain is gone.

Step #3: Bigger Stains can be soaked completely in the bleach solution. Squeeze out excess moisture after 30 minutes. And repeated the solution step again with soaking until the stain is gone.

How to use Non-Chlorinated Bleach with your laundry

Non-Chlorinated bleach is the alternative solution as it is color-safe. This oxygen bleach is similar to chlorine bleach but works a little slower to brighten.

Even if you don’t see quick results don’t add more solutions as it will weaken and ruin your clothing. Alike bleach doesn’t use it on materials such as silk, wool, leather, and spandex.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t kill bacteria like chlorine bleach. Remember to always check the care label before adding non-chlorinated bleach to make sure it’s ok to use.

Step #1: Add your selected clothes to the washing machine after checking the care label.

Step #2: Add in your usual laundry detergent of choice

Step #3: Add ¾ cup of liquid chlorine bleach to the washing machine’s bleach dispenser.

Step #4: Select the heavy soil or extra rinse cycle

Step #5: Choose Warm or Hot water for the water temperature.

*If you don’t have a dispenser add ¾ cup of non-chlorinated bleach to your washer’s tub after its finished filling with water

Finally, launder your clothes as usual.

How to use Non-Chlorinated Bleach for Removing Stains

Stains can be soaked completely in the bleach and water solution for at least 8 hours. In this case with oxygen bleach the longer the better. If it’s a stubborn stain, soak the garment overnight. Wash it in your laundry with your detergent the next day.

Add in a brightening boost with a ½ cup of vinegar in the final rinse cycle, right where the fabric softener near goes.

How to choose the right oxygen bleach

Oxygen bleach is most effective in a powdered formula versus a liquid formula. So when picking out a non-chlorinated bleach, choose powder over liquid.

The problem with liquid as it gets opened will soon lose its strength when slowly exposed to air. Some detergents come with an oxygen bleach but you can benefit from its full strength by adding it to your laundry detergent.

How much bleach should you add to the washing machine?

Objective Standard Washing machine   High-efficiency washing machine 
Sanitizing ½ cup ⅓ cup
Normal Soil whitening
and removing stains
⅓ cup Max line dispenser
Heavy soil whitening
and removing stains
⅔ cup Max line dispenser

How prevent yellowing when using chlorine bleach

Yellowing of white clothing doesn’t necessarily mean you have bleached it too many times but may overbleached or used too much bleach. The yellowing happens because the bleach is stripping the out fibers by revealing a yellow inner core.

This happens with chlorine bleach because of its harsh chemicals. To prevent yellowing just make sure you are using the correct amount of bleach every time you wash white clothing.

Conclusion

Bleach can be a powerful agent when using it to sanitize, whiten or brighten clothing. Make sure you check the care label first or do a test of colorfastness before you add bleach to your wash cycle.

There are two types of bleach that are commonly used, non-chlorinated and chlorinated bleach. Non-chlorinated is color-safe however chlorinated bleach should never be allowed on colored clothing.

When adding in bleach, never put it at its full strength directly on the clothing. It’s best to use bleach always diluted in a water solution adding ¼ cup to a ratio of a gallon of water. Add the bleach to the directed bleach dispenser or in after the washer has been filled fully with water.

To prevent yellowing and over bleaching never use more than the recommended amount of bleach

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