Bleaching Clothes White

Priya Johnson Nov 25, 2018
Bleaching helps maintain the gleam in white garments. Today, various kinds of bleaches are available in the market, of which chlorine and oxygen bleaches are most commonly used.
It's so disappointing to see our lovely whites losing their gleam in some time. White clothes can be brought back to their pristine condition by bleaching them. Centuries ago, the Egyptians vigorously scrubbed and sun-dried garments in an effort to preserve their brightness, but with no avail!
By 1000 AD, the Dutch were using a mixture of lye and caustic alkaline solution to scrub dirt off their clothes. This mixture destroyed the fabric as well. To counter this problem, they added sour milk to the mixture to soften the effects of the lye. The alteration, though beneficial, took 8 weeks to form, which was a long wait for laundry to be done.
In the year 1772, Karl Scheele, a Swedish chemist, isolated the element 'chlorine', which became an essential ingredient in modern bleaches.. Bleach helps keep white clothes white and also assists in blotting out stains from them. However, too much bleach can damage clothes, which is why it has to be measured and used carefully.
Chlorine and non-chlorine bleaches; the two general types of laundry bleaches reign the market today.

Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleaches were first introduced to the US in 1916, and included chlorine present in the form of 'sodium hypochlorite'. The ones available at grocery stores are 5.25% solutions of sodium hypochlorite mixed with water.
This bleach is powerful and it decolorizes stains by oxidizing the stain-forming compounds, thereby blotting out even the most stubborn of stains. What this bleach does is that it breaks the stains into smaller units, making them easy to remove by the regular washing process.
One should also note that iron deposits in the water can interact with the bleach, and result in rust stains on the clothes. Moreover, this bleach can also make some yellow stains worse and form holes in the fabric. The fact that chlorine bleaches can blot out grave stains shows how strong their effect is on the fabric.
Chlorine-based bleaches can damage or discolor fabrics, which is why one needs to read the labels on bleach containers and clothes before bleaching.
Chlorine bleach should be used only on sheets, pillowcases, bath towels, dish towels, tablecloths, color fast prints, undershirts, and white socks. One should not use it to bleach silk, spandex stretch fabrics, wool, etc. The labels on the fabric serve as guidelines.

How to Bleach Your Clothing White with Chlorine Bleach

For those bleaching clothes in a washing machine, do not use more than one cup of chlorine bleach liquid for top-loading washing machines.
Extra large machines will require one and one quarter cups of bleach solution. While bleaching clothes white by hand, do not use more than a tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. To avoid hole formation in the fabric, mix the bleach with lots of water before mixing with soapy wash water. Rinse out any bleach that may have been left out.

Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach is also known as non-chlorine bleach. It is mostly available in powder form and can be safely used on all kinds of clothes that require bleaching. While chlorine bleach is excellent to bleach clothes white, the oxygen one is wonderful for preserving the color in those bright cherry red jammies and rainbow-colored frocks.
To bleach clothes using oxygen bleach, one should follow the instructions given on the packet. Most oxygen bleaches work well in hot water, and can be used every time the fabrics are washed.

Bleaching Clothes White Without Bleach

For those who prefer the natural way, chemical bleaches can be substituted by lemon juice. For bleaching clothes white with lemon juice, one should mix half a cup of lemon juice and one gallon of hot water.
Soak the clothes in this solution for an hour to overnight (depending on how much bleaching is required). Remove the clothes from the solution once they are soaked and pour the solution into the washing machine. This will conduce to perfect white socks, etc. Bleaching clothes white with lemon juice will not lead to over-bleaching.
Most washing machines available today come with a bleach dispenser. By following the instructions given on the instruction manual, one can safely carry out the bleaching process. While bleaching clothes, one should remember not to allow the garment to dry until the results are satisfying.
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