How Does Bleach Work?

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Bleach and Its Uses

  • Bleach is a common product found in just about every home. It does mainly two things. First, it cleans, disinfects, and kills germs. People use bleach by diluting it with water and cleaning various rooms in their home -- most commonly, the bathroom and the kitchen. Because of its germ killing power it can also be used on house siding to kill mold. Second, bleach is used to whiten clothing. Clothing that may have been stained and not savable by using regular laundry detergent, can be brought back to life just by adding a cup of bleach to your washing machine.

How Does Bleach Whiten?

  • There are is a basic way that bleach whitens clothing or fabrics. To understand bleach you must first understand color. Chromophores are chemical compounds that basically cause color or display color. In order for you to change the color you have to change the compound. This is done with bleach because of the oxygen in bleach. The oxygen breaks up the chemical bonds of the chromophores molecule taking away the part that reveals color. In some cases it actually masks the part that reveals the color so you don't see it.

How does Bleach Disinfect?

  • Bleach actually contains chlorine. Chlorine is a chemical that is used for killing germs in pools and in our drinking water. So you can correctly assume that the chlorine in the bleach is also working to kill any germs that it comes in to contact with. Many people have been concerned about the chlorine in their drinking water, but the chlorine is what is keeping the water safe to drink. Without the chlorine the water would contain diseases that could make you violently sick or even die. The chlorine in bleach is also used to help keep use safe because it kills molds, bacteria, and even algaes. It is perhaps the most powerful germ killer and that is why almost every household in America keeps a constant bottle on hand.

Other Uses for Bleach

  • This is a list of ways that you can use bleach in your own home: to clean your baby's cloth diapers, to sanitize trash cans, clean toilets, clean bathrooms, clean kitchens, get mold off of refrigerators, get mold off of your siding, whiten clothing, whiten sneakers to make them look like new, clean stains in your carpet, sanitize cat litter boxes, sanitize children's toys, clean molds off of decks, clean pool liners, and get stains out of upholstery.

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