How to Use Bleach in the Laundry

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Adding bleach to your laundry is an effective way to remove stains from laundry and keep your whites gleaming. Liquid bleach also kills germs. It is important to use care when adding bleach to your laundry. Using chlorine bleach on some fabrics can remove the color. Using too much bleach, even on bleach-safe items, can create holes in the fabric. It is still necessary to use laundry detergent when bleaching fabric. Bleach does not contain soaps or detergents to clean the fabric; it removes stains and disinfects.

Step 1

Determine if you can use bleach safely on the fabric. It is normally safe to bleach towels, sheets, color-fast prints, underclothes and whites. The clothing label should state whether you can safely bleach the items.

Step 2

Add the appropriate amount of bleach. Use one cup in top-loading machines, one-half cup in front-loaders and 1 tbsp. per gallon of water when hand-washing laundry.

Step 3

Dilute the bleach in water before adding it to your machine and allow it to mix with soapy water before adding the laundry items. This prevents the bleach from creating holes in the fabric.

Step 4

Add clothes to the water and wash as usual.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use care when bleaching fabric if your water has a high iron content. The iron in your water can react with the bleach, creating rust stains on the fabric.
  • Powdered oxygen bleaches are generally safe for all fabrics. However, check to make sure it says "Safe for all fabrics" on the package. To use powdered oxygen bleach, add it to hot wash water.

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