Never Fear Cleaning With Bleach Again

Bleach_1
For most of us, bleach is kind of a mystery. It's even a little scary, too. Sometimes we're just not 100% positive we've got the right water-to-solution ratio. And, what fabrics are okay to wash with it, anyway? To get the answers to these pressing questions, we went to Mary Gagliardi (a.k.a Dr. Laundry), a stain and laundry expert at Clorox, for the 411 on when to use it and how much per load.
Advertisement
Turns out we've been skittish for no reason. The key to washing with bleach safely is all about reading labels and knowing how much you should use. Read ahead for tips that will have your tees really excited for a white summer to come.
What exactly is household bleach, anyway?
In the concentrated kind you buy at the grocery store (like Clorox Regular), the main ingredients are water, sodium hypochlorite (an active ingredient to kill germs), sodium chloride (also known as table salt), sodium carbonate (removes grease), sodium chlorate (a substance resulting from sodium hypochlorite), sodium hydroxide (also known as lye), and sodium polyacrylate (prevents soils from depositing on fabrics). For more on these sodiums and what they do, you can read up them here.
How much should go in each load?
Gagliardi recommends using a half cup of Clorox bleach along with your normal detergent in a wash cycle. Simply pour the solution into the marked container in your top- or front-loader machine. Since some bleach brands are formulated differently, it's important to always check the label.
Can you use bleach with every wash?
It's completely fine to use it every time you run a load. Gagliardi says tests have shown using the solution regularly does not affect the natural deterioration of clothing.
Bleach_2
Advertisement
Can you treat other fabrics than cotton?
As long as you dilute properly — polyester, nylon, acrylic, and vinyl are all fine to treat. The ones to stay away from are wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex. When in doubt, check the label. If there's a black triangle crossed out, it's a no-go. A white triangle means it's totally fine to use bleach.
What about items with a little color on them?
Any standard bleach (or Clorox Regular) should only be used on all-white items. However, any item with a little bit of color printed on the outside is a good candidate for Clorox's new Smart Seek bleach, a solution specifically curated to treat "mostly whites" gently. Gagliardi says, "White T-shirts with a screen print on the front are a great example. Also, items with only a few stripes (or narrow stripes) of color and colored embroidery on a white background are considered mostly white." Kitchen dish towels, sheets, and towels are always usually fine as well.
If we don't have a washing machine, how do we soak an item at home?
Take a plastic dishpan and one gallon of cool water with three tablespoons of Clorox (again, check the label for your brand). After mixing the solution, fully submerge your clothing item and weigh it down, if necessary. After letting it soak for five minutes, thoroughly rinse the piece, squeeze out the excess water, and let it air-dry. Gagliardi says, "It's also my go-to method for removing dye transfer from a white bleach-able item that picked up color accidentally (for instance, if a blue T-shirt snuck into a load of white athletic socks)."
Advertisement

More from Home

While Hermione's life outside of Hogwarts didn't get nearly enough screentime in the Harry Potter movies, it's getting the credit it deserves on the ...
If you, like many people, would do just about anything to own a former Leonardo DiCaprio residence, you have a second chance. It's entirely possible that...
What comes to mind when you think of Japan? Is it the fashion of Harajuku or the electric chaos of Akihabara? Maybe the quiet of a mountain retreat in the ...
Rest assured: Stains are not always your fault. Sure, you experience a clumsy moment from time to time, but you also can’t control the actions of others, ...
It's safe to say that a home — especially in New York City — will be one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make in a lifetime. But let's be real here: ...
Lady Gaga is known for her unique, eccentric, and sometimes downright insane sense of style. So it makes total sense that she would purchase a mansion ...
Take a peek at any design-forward apartment, and we dare you not to spot at least one Ikea item. Like classic wardrobe staples, there are certain pieces ...
(Paid Content) August is a turning point. It might still be peak summer, but all the summer Fridays in the world are not enough to keep our fall fantasies ...
Lighting candles is a great way to relax. The luxurious scent, the small burst of warmth, and the dim light all come together to help you unwind. But can...
A change of season means a change of style. It's the perfect time to update your wardrobe with the newest fall trends and freshen up your home with some ...
If you've rented an apartment, chances are you've had a kitchen like redditor ElizaB's, which she described as "yellow and sticky and ALWAYS dirty." Not ...
Time to celebrate, little spoons: There's a chair that will literally cradle you. A student in Moscow delivered the design for our dream lounge chair. ...
Though Ikea offers stylish home furnishings for insanely affordable prices, a visit to the store can be a true test for any relationship. The hordes of ...
In 1998, not too long after the release of Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio put his well-earned Jack Dawson money toward a beach home in Malibu. According to ...