High-efficiency washers offer cleaning results comparable to standard machines with reduced water consumption. However, their unique, low-water cleansing process typically requires different quantities or varieties of detergents and cleansers to function properly. Bleach works with high-efficiency machines, as their front-loading design increases the risk of odor-causing bacteria and mold or mildew. If you opt to use non-chlorine bleach, make sure that you choose a type appropriate for your high-efficiency washing machine.
Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach
A number of non-chlorine bleaches use hydrogen peroxide as an active ingredient instead of the sodium hypochlorite, which gives "chlorine" bleach its whitening power. As with any type of bleach, check the packaging of any specific product for indications about its compatibility with high-efficiency washing machines. Many hydrogen peroxide bleaches can work with high-efficiency washers, such as Clorox's hydrogen peroxide-based Clorox 2 Bleach, appropriate for both regular and high-efficiency machines. Seventh Generation's hydrogen peroxide-based bleach is also indicated for use with high-efficiency washing machines. It combines hydrogen peroxide with plant-derived cleaning agents and enzymes.
Hydrogen Percarborate Bleach
Hydrogen percarborate-based bleach offers improved performance at lower temperatures and, like other non-chlorine bleaches, it will not whiten dyed material and is safe to use on a range of fabrics. Tide Stain Release, while marketed as a special stain-remover for addition to mixed laundry loads, also contains sodium percarbonate, making it a kind of non-chlorine bleach. It's indicated for use with regular and high-efficiency washing machines. Lifekind's organic laundry powder with oxygen bleach incorporates sodium percarborate directly into all-purpose washing powder. It's designated for use with both regular and high-efficiency washing machines.
Technically, both hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen percarborate-based bleaches are "oxygen bleaches." The term oxygen bleach derives from the behavior of an active ingredient, such as hydrogen peroxide, that degrades into oxygen and water. Several non-chlorine bleaches are simply marketed as "oxygen bleach," though they also use a hydrogen peroxide, hydrogen percarbonate, hydrogen perborate or some combination of the above and bleach activators. Bi-O-Kleen's Oxygen Bleach Plus doesn't indicate which oxygen-based active ingredient powers its non-chlorine formula, though it is indicated for use with both regular and high efficiency washers. Westland's Premium Washing Powder also contains "oxygen bleach" and is specially formulated for Splendide and other high efficiency washing machines. It's also appropriate for use in marine environments.
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