Bleach is the general name for any chemical product used to remove stains from any fabric or fiber but has a whitening and brightening effect on white fabrics. For colored fabrics, bleach works by reacting with the organic compounds and natural pigments, turning them into colorless ones or, in some cases returning the fabrics to their original color.
Types of Bleach
Beaches are of two types: Oxidizing agents and reducing agents. The oxidizing agents are the most common ones; they contain chemicals that can remove electrons from other molecules. While the reducing agents donate their electrons.
Bleach can be divided into two categories: chlorine and non-chlorine bleach. These beaches are quite popular, and they come in handy for various uses in the home. Let’s analyze each of these beaches further.
What is Chlorine Bleach?
Chlorine bleach is a powerful oxidizing agent, and its active ingredient is a chlorine-based compound known as sodium hypochlorite since pure chlorine is corrosive. They must be mixed with other solutions, including water, make them domestically usable.
What is Non-Chlorine Bleach?
Non-chlorine bleach, known as “oxygen bleach, ” uses hydrogen peroxide as the active ingredient instead of chlorine. Hydrogen peroxide is made by adding an extra oxygen molecule to water.
Instead of H20, its chemical composition is H202 hence the name ‘oxygen bleach.’ The extra oxygen in this solution creates an oxidizing reaction that can kill germs, although not as effective as chlorine bleach. Non-chlorine bleach is also an effective stain removal and whitening agent.
Still, they are not as effective as chlorine bleach but can serve as an alternative. One major advantage of Hydrogen peroxide bleach is that it is safer to use on color fabrics and other color surfaces, but it is advisable to try the bleach on a small portion of the cloth before usage.
Non-chlorine bleach is used primarily for laundry purposes; its usage as a disinfectant at an industrial level, such as in hospitals, isn’t popular and is also not advised since its disinfecting qualities are lacking. The absence of chlorine’s harsh odor in non-chlorine bleach makes it popular domestically.
Difference Between Chlorine Bleach And Non-chlorine Bleach
Both chlorine and non-chlorine bleach can come in handy for similar uses, but they still have extreme disparities in a few areas. Here are their differences below:
The major difference between the two types of oxidizing bleaching agents is their active ingredients. Chlorine bleach’s active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite, a chlorine-based solution, while non-chlorine bleach’s active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide.
Another difference is that they don’t have the same effectiveness. The non-chlorine bleach doesn’t have the laundry power that the chlorine bleach has. It has the same whitening benefit; it doesn’t remove stains as chlorine bleach does. If you have whites and you want to brighten their color, using chlorine bleach is your best bet.
Another difference between the two is that non-chlorine bleach is more flexible to use. You can mix it with ammonia during laundry, unlike the chlorine bleach that produces a dangerous chlorine gas once it gets in contact with ammonia.
Chlorine bleach uses a harsh oxidizing process, weakening the clothes they are used on after multiple runs. On the other hand, non-chlorine bleach uses a mild oxidation process, preserving the clothes longer.
The strong odor produced by chlorine bleach is caused by its active agent greatly differentiates it from a non-chlorine.
Pros of Chlorine Bleach
They are commonly used as either a whitening and disinfecting agent in the laundry or an all-purpose disinfectant in homes and hospitals. Here are some of the pros of chlorine bleach below:
- Besides laundry, chlorine bleach has disinfectants like sodium hypochlorite solutions that can be used in disinfecting drinkable water since they effectively kill germs that cause cholera and typhoid fever. Chlorine bleach added to water can destroy germs associated with raw foods. These solutions also can disinfect food preparation equipment. In summary, they can be used in your kitchen. And as a disinfecting agent, chlorine bleach outmatches its counterpart. 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach in a gallon can help disinfect your home and your laundry and treat injuries.
- As a whitening agent, chlorine bleach does a great job whitening your laundry. It easily removes tough stains from fabrics.
Cons of Chlorine Bleach
While chlorine bleach has undeniable usefulness in the home, there are also disadvantages. Here are some of the disadvantages of chlorine bleach below:
- One of the greatest disadvantages of chlorine bleach is its harsh smell.
- Chlorine bleach reacts dangerously with ammonia, vinegar, or acid products. This combination creates toxic fumes. It is advised not to mix chlorine bleach with other household cleaners since it is highly reactive. If you will, you must check their production ingredients to ensure they are compatible.
- Chlorine can fade colorful fabrics, and materials like wool, Spandex, and leather are unsuitable for chlorine bleach.
- Constant use of chlorine bleach on fabric wears them out due to the harsh nature of its active ingredient “sodium hypochlorite.”
Pros of non-chlorine bleach
Non-chlorine bleach, like every other bleach, has its advantages. Here are some of them below:
- First and foremost, the odor issue can be said to be one of the biggest advantages of non-chlorine bleach over chlorine bleach. With non-chlorine, you don’t have to worry about the harsh, uncomfortable smell of chlorine.
- Due to the absence of sodium hypochlorite, non-chlorine bleach can be successfully mixed with other cleaning agents to wield better results. The issue of accidentally creating toxic fumes is eliminated.
- Non-chlorine bleach is safe to use on most types and colors of fabrics. As far as laundry detergent is safe on a particular material then, non-chlorine bleach is also safe, although it is advisable to test the bleach on a small portion of the fabric. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Cons Of Non-Chlorine Bleach
Non-chlorine might be safe for clothing compared to chlorine bleach, but it also has some disadvantages. Here are some of the disadvantages below:
- Non-chlorine bleach is less potent than chlorine bleach when it comes to killing germs. This alone makes a less favorable choice in disinfecting tasks.
- While non-chlorine bleach does a good job in whitening and brightening clothes, its counterpart does a better job in this area. In the handling of white fabric, chlorine bleach is preferred. Also, for washing tough stains, chlorine bleach is recommended.
Are Chlorine Bleach And Non-Chlorine Bleach Suitable For All Clothing?
While chlorine bleach is effective in its job, it isn’t safe or suitable for all fabric types, particularly colored clothing or clothes with patterns. The bleach isn’t suitable for fabrics: Silk, leather, Spandex, wool, and mohair.
On the other hand, non-chlorine bleach can be used on most fabric materials; as long as laundry detergent is safe on that particular material, then non-chlorine bleach can also be used on it. However, it is advisable to always test on little portions first before usage.