What Is The Difference Between Laundry Bleach And House Cleaning Bleach?

Last Updated on March 8, 2021 by

The main difference between laundry bleach and house cleaning bleach is their chemical composition. House cleaning bleach has sodium hypochlorite or chlorine as the active ingredient, while laundry bleach has sodium percarbonate or oxygen as its active ingredients. House cleaning bleach also has some disinfecting properties, and this isn’t the case for laundry bleach.

Chlorine bleaches are stronger and can be used to disinfect various surfaces, making them more preferable for house cleaning. Oxygen or non-chlorine bleach is meant to be used on coloured clothes, and it’s relatively mild.

How Does Bleach Work?

Bleach works differently when removing stains and when disinfecting or sanitizing surfaces. For stain removal, bleach works together with detergents to remove stains and soil. Bleach changes stains into soluble particles through a process of oxidation. These soluble particles are then washed away by detergents leaving the fabric whiter and brighter. As a disinfectant, bleach works by destroying the protein in bacteria, thus denaturing and destroying it. Bleach has been proven to be effective against most infectants, making it the preferred disinfectant and sanitizer.

Can You Use Bleach As A Cleaner?

 Yes, you can. Although bleach doesn’t have any cleaning properties to remove dirt or stain on its own, it effectively removes germs on surfaces. To use bleach when cleaning, first, wash the surfaces with water and detergent to remove dirt, then clean with bleach to sanitize. If you are not familiar with using bleach to clean, get household cleaning products containing chlorine or peroxide. Here are some tips on how to use bleach as a cleaner:

1. Do not mix bleach with hot water, vinegar, or ammonia since their reaction produces a harmful gas that is a health hazard

2. When using bleach to clean, ensure its diluted, mix one-part bleach with ten parts of water.

3. For household cleaning such as washing the toilet and bathtub, always ensure you put on gloves to avoid irritating your hands.

Using Bleach As A Disinfectant

Common household bleach, 3-6% sodium hypochlorite solution, is used to treat drinking water and disinfect surfaces. It is effective against most bacteria and viruses found in a home. Non-chlorine bleach can also be used for sterilization and water treatment but not for disinfection.

How To Use Bleach Safely And Effectively On Laundry

Whether you want to remove stains or makes your clothes look brighter, laundry bleach is an excellent choice. Misusing bleach could cause skin irritation or even discolour your clothes. In this section, we take you through the nitty-gritty of using bleach on laundry. Keep reading.

You can use either chlorine, oxygen bleach or hydrogen peroxide for home laundry depending on your specific goal. Let’s look at all the options and their function in a laundry room.

Type Of Bleach Uses
Chlorine bleach, e.g., pure bright and CloroxWhitening and stain removal Should be mixed with water for best results Acts as a disinfectant
Oxygen bleach, e.g., Clorox 2. Nellies oxygen bleach and Oxiclean Safe for coloured fabrics Can be used on most materials Not as harsh as chlorine bleach Most effective when used with warm or hot water
Hydrogen peroxideCan be used in place of chlorine bleach Used as a disinfectant  

How To Use Chlorine Bleach

 Chlorine bleach can be harsh on fabrics and even your hands; you need to know the steps to follow before using it on your garment. If you are not familiar with the do’s and don’ts of chlorine bleach, we’ve got your back.

1. Do not add chlorine bleach directly to garments since it can dissolve fibres and discolour your clothes. Always ensure you add bleach to the water before adding clothes.

2. Ensure you test your fabric for colourfastness before using chlorine bleach on it. To do this, mix a drop of chlorine with two drops of water. Take a cotton swab and apply the mixture on the part of the garment that is not noticeable such as an inside seam. Wait for the spot to dry and note any change in colour on the cloth. If your garment is discoloured or there’s a colour on the cotton swab, do not use chlorine bleach on that garment.

3. For best results, avoid using chlorine bleach that has been exposed to light or air. Liquid chlorine bleach that has been opened for more than six months loses its effectiveness to disinfect or remove stains.

How To Use Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach is available in both powder and liquid form. When using powdered oxygen bleach, you can add it directly to the tub before putting in the clothes. For liquid bleach, you can add it to the automatic dispenser. If you are handwashing using oxygen bleach, mix bleach with warm water till the bleach dissolves, then add in the clothes and more water.

It is crucial to note that oxygen bleach should not be used on natural fabrics such as leather, silk, or wool. Here are some points to consider when using oxygen bleach on laundry:

1. Once dissolved in water, ensure you use the bleach immediately since storing it reduces its efficiency

2. Oxygen bleach takes longer than chlorine bleach to remove stains. When using it for stain removal, allow your stained garment to soak for at least eight hours or overnight.

How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide

 Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach and disinfectant when made into a 3% concentration solution. We mostly use it to attain sun-bleached hair or treat wounds, but it’s a perfect bleach that whitens whites and brightens colours. It also works perfectly on most stubborn stain such as protein or plant-based stains and dye transfer stains. To remove spots and stains using hydrogen peroxide, dap a small amount on the stain and leave it for sometime before washing the garment as usual.  When using hydrogen peroxide as bleach, add it to the water then add in your clothes. Never pour hydrogen peroxide directly on clothes since it removes colours. You can also use hydrogen peroxide to clean your washer and remove odour or mildew stains.

General Instructions To Follow When Using Any Bleach

1. Before using bleach on a garment, ensure you read care instruction on the label and follow specific instructions

2. Read and follow instructions on the bleach container for best results

3. Test garments for colourfastness before using bleach on them

4. When using chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, dilute in water before adding to garments. Never pour bleach directly on clothes as it may weaken fibres

5. Chlorine causes fabrics such as rubber, silk, wool, and spandex to weaken and break

6. Avoid using oxygen bleach on wool, leather, and silk

7. Never mix any bleach with ammonia or substances containing ammonia because the reaction produces toxic fumes

8. Do not mix two types of bleach

What Is Household Bleach Used For?

Do you have household bleach that you aren’t sure of how you can use it? Worry not. Household bleach can be used for most home cleaning to keep your home sanitized and fresh. Here are some great ideas on how to use household bleach:

1. Sanitizing floors and toilet bowls

2. Removing tea and coffee stains from mugs and add sparkle to cutlery and glassware

3. Adding to vase flowers and plants for them to stay fresher for longer

4. Wiping off mould and mildew from bathroom tiles

5. Clean and sterilize kitchen clothes and garbage bins

6. Sterilize drinking water

7. Clean plastic furniture and toys

8. Give windows a sparkle

Can I Use Bleach To Clean My Washing Machine?

Yes, you can. If your washing machine is leaving mildew stains or smell on your clothes, you need to clean it. Bleach is ideal for cleaning your washing machine since it will take away any odor and disinfect it. The type of bleach you use will be determined by what you aim to achieve. If you want to disinfect your washing machine while removing mold and limescale, use hydrogen peroxide. Add 1 litre of hydrogen peroxide to the bleach dispenser and use water at 90 degrees Celsius then run a long washing cycle twice. If you aim to remove odour from your washing machine, chlorine bleach is your best bet. Add a litre of chlorine to warm or cold water and run a full cycle. Do not add chlorine to hot water since it loses its effectiveness. When using chlorine to clean your washing machine, ensure you don’t add any other detergent.


Bleach has numerous uses in our homes, and if you are a clean freak, it’s normal to have both laundry bleach and household bleach in your house. The only difference between the two is that laundry bleach has chlorine while the other is non- chlorine. Chlorine and non-chlorine bleach can be used interchangeably when doing laundry but not when disinfecting and killing germs.

When using bleach, always ensure you read manufacturers’ safety instructions to be on the safe side. Store bleach out of reach of children to keep them from touching or ingesting it. We hope that this post was helpful to you and henceforth, you will use bleach correctly and effectively,

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