You may be hesitant to use chlorine bleach to clean or remove stains from your clothes. Using the wrong amount, putting it in the washer at the wrong time, or even using it on the wrong fabric can lead to bleach spots, discoloration, or other problems. To make matters worse, it offers no help for removing stains from dyed clothing. Fortunately, there is a new type of bleach that is easier to use than the chlorine bleach you are used to oxygen bleach. Here are 6 tips for using oxygen bleach to clean your clothes.
What Makes Oxygen Bleach Special?
Oxygen bleach is a softer, less corrosive bleaching agent that can be used on both white clothing and colorful fabrics. It will brighten colors rather than remove them. Oxygen is also known as all-fabric bleach.
Use powder rather than liquid bleach. Although both forms are readily available at the store, the compounds in powdered oxygen bleach are more stable than in their liquid counterparts. This means it will last longer and clean more effectively than liquid oxygen bleach. The powder has a shelf life of several years while the liquid has a lifespan of six months before essentially deteriorating into water.
Add it at the right time. Chlorine bleach should be added about five minutes into the wash cycle, but oxygen bleach should be added at the same time as the detergent: before you add any clothes. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when determining how much oxygen bleach to add. Use the scoop or measuring device provided with your purchase.
Make sure all the powder dissolves. If you are using all-fabric bleach in powder form, it is important to make sure it dissolves completely in the washer. If you are doing a cold wash, it may not dissolve completely. Simply mix the powder in a small container of hot or warm water first before pouring the solution into the washing machine.
Soak stained clothing before washing. Since oxygen bleach is gentler than chlorine bleach, it needs more time to work its stain-removing, color-brightening magic. Soak stained garments in a separate container (not the washing machine) for an hour at least. You can also soak it overnight, up to eight hours. Like chlorine bleach, it is important to make sure the container is in a well-ventilated area.
Use it on the right type of clothes. Despite the name, all-fabric bleach should not be used on all fabrics. Although it is gentler than chlorine bleach, it is still a strong chemical compound. You should avoid using it on delicate clothing items and delicate fabrics such as silk and wool. Additionally, all-fabric bleach should never be used on clothing with leather sections.
Spot test to be safe. Oxygen bleach will likely not turn dyed clothes white, but it can lighten colors if the dye is poor-quality or unstable. For garments you are especially fond of, it is a good idea to test a properly diluted solution of all-fabric bleach on a small area to see how the fabric and dye react.