Which whitener is right for you? Clear up any questions with this side-by-side comparison.

April 02, 2018

Bleach is a staple in most cleaning arsenals, but choosing the right type of bleach can be tricky. Here's your quick cheat sheet when you're not sure whether chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach is the right choice for the task at hand. 

Chlorine Bleach

The Upside: Packs the most powerful punch. It not only whitens but also disinfects and deodorizes. Can be used on every washable material except silk and wool.

The Downside: Can weaken fabrics. (It’s strong stuff!) You should wear gloves when you’re using it and work in a well-ventilated area.

Usage Tips: If your machine doesn’t have a bleach dispenser, wait for 5 minutes before adding it to the wash water. Pouring it in before then may destroy enzymes and whiteners in the detergent.

Oxygen Bleach

The Upside: Gentler and less toxic than chlorine bleach. Can be used on all washable garments, though it’s best for colors.

The Downside: Not as powerful as chlorine bleach.

Usage Tips: Pour into the water before adding the clothes (unlike a regular wash, when clothes go first). Use warm or hot water; it’s less effective in cold.

Did You Know?

You don’t need bleach to get rid of protein stains, like blood, sweat, and tears. (OK, maybe tears are not a big laundry issue.) One natural option: Toss stained socks, tees, and undies into a big pot of water with a few lemon slices and bring to a boil for a few minutes.