Chlorine Bleach Advantages & Disadvantages

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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Chlorine Bleach Advantages & Disadvantages
Chlorine bleach can keep your white fabrics looking bright. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Chlorine bleach is an inexpensive product that is useful in cleaning your laundry and disinfecting your home. As with any commercial cleaning product, it has advantages and disadvantages. It is vital that you use the bleach in the correct manner to avoid fading your fabrics and to ensure your home is disinfected properly.

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Disinfection Advantages

Using chlorine bleach is an inexpensive way to disinfect countertops and surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens and personal items, such as baby toys and utensils. Wash the surface with a soapy mixture made of mild dishwashing liquid or detergent that does not contain ammonia compounds. Rinse the area well. Combine a gallon of cool water with ¼ cup chlorine bleach. Saturate a sponge in the solution and wring it out well. Wipe the sponge over the area and allow it to air dry. The solution kills many infectious agents found in homes. A weaker solution of 1 gallon of water and 1 tbsp of the bleach is useful in disinfecting toys and utensils.

Whitening Advantages

Chlorine bleach whitens and brightens your laundry and is useful in removing stubborn stains in fabrics that are labelled safe for use with bleach. Many newer washing machines come with a bleach dispenser. In these models, pour ¾ cup of bleach into the dispenser; it releases the bleach at the proper time. If you do not have a built-in dispenser, pour your washing powder into the wash water. Add the clothes to the water-filled tub. Allow the machine to agitate for 5 minutes before adding ¾ cup of chlorine bleach. For bigger washers, use 1¼ cups of chlorine bleach.

Fading in Laundry

Chlorine causes fading in items that are not colour-fast. Silk, leather, Spandex, wool, mohair and any clothing that has non-fast colours are not suitable for use with chlorine bleach. Read the care label on items made of fabric; it tells you if chlorine or colour-safe bleaches are suitable for the material. When in doubt, mix 2 tbsp chlorine bleach with ¼ cup water. Place a drop of the mixture on an inconspicuous area of the garment, such as an inside hem or seam. Blot the area with a towel after 1 minute. If the colour fades, the fabric cannot withstand chlorine bleach.

Toxic Combinations

Chlorine bleach is highly reactive to products containing acid or ammonia. Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia; the combination creates toxic fumes. Other products you cannot mix with bleach or products that contain bleach include vinegar, window and glass cleaners, drain and oven cleaners, de-liming products, toilet bowl cleaners and any liquid dishwashing detergents that contain ammonia compounds.

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