Sears Knowledge Center

How to Use Bleach

Bleach is a powerful stain blaster. It cuts through stubborn blemishes, kills germs and keeps your whites gleaming. You have to be careful using it, however. Bleach is so strong that if misused, it can fade colors and even burn holes in some of your delicate garments. Read on to learn how to safely use bleach to keep your wardrobe looking razor-sharp.

Be sure you need it

Bleach is very strong, and you shouldn't use it all the time. Even bleach-safe fabrics will weaken over time with extensive bleaching. Skip the bleach for clothes that don't need it, and break it out only when you have stubborn stains to remove.

Check the labels

Check the tags on your clothes to see if they're safe to be bleached. Bleach is usually reserved for all-white clothes, linens and towels. If you have any bleach-safe colored clothes, make sure to run them in a separate wash or else the color may transfer to your whites.

Consider color-safe bleach

If you need to remove stains from brightly colored garments, you might want to try color-safe bleach. Because these products use hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine, they're much gentler on clothes and safe for many colored fabrics. Color-safe bleach is less effective at fighting stains than chlorine bleach, however, so you should continue to use regular bleach for your whites.

Add bleach to the machine

The important thing to remember when adding bleach to your washer is that concentrated bleach can burn a hole in fabrics. If your machine has a bleach dispenser, adding bleach is easy. Just fill the dispenser to the line with bleach, and your washer will automatically dispense it properly.

If your washing machine doesn't have a bleach dispenser, you must manually dilute the bleach in water before you add your clothes. First start the machine, so the wash bin begins to fill with water. Add your detergent, and then add a half-cup of bleach. When the wash bin has filled with water, diluting the bleach, then it's safe to add your clothes.

Avoid ammonia

Some people use ammonia in the laundry to help remove stains and get rid of odors. Be aware, however, that mixing bleach with ammonia will give off dangerous toxic fumes. For your safety, it's absolutely vital to avoid using ammonia and ammonia-containing products when you're using bleach.


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