How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (2023)

Washing clothes with bleach helps to whiten, brighten, and even disinfect fabrics. Through oxidation, bleach changes laundry stains and soil into soluble particles that detergents can remove in the washing process.

Three types of bleach are commonly used for laundry:

  • Chlorine bleach, or sodium hypochlorite (e.g., Clorox, Pure Bright)
  • Oxygen bleach, or sodium percarbonate (e.g., OxiClean, Nellie's Oxygen Brightener, Clorox 2)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution)

Follow these steps for how to correctly wash clothes with bleach.


Never mix any type of bleach with ammonia. The combination will cause dangerous fumes.

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(Video) Clorox Presents Dr. Laundry: Bleach for Beginners

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Washer or large sink
  • Measuring cup (optional)


  • Bleach (chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach, or hydrogen peroxide)
  • Water
  • Cotton swab (optional)


How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (1)

How to Wash Clothes With Bleach
DetergentRegular detergent
Water TemperatureVaries by fabric
Cycle TypeVaries by fabric
Drying Cycle TypeVaries by fabric
Special TreatmentsFollow specific instructions for each type of bleach
Iron SettingsVaries by fabric

How to Use Chlorine Bleach in Laundry

A powerful home bleach, chlorine bleach is a 5.25 percent solution of sodium hypochlorite, a chemical compound. The liquid version is the most common, but a dry formula is also available. Both must be diluted with water for safe use on fabrics.

  1. Test Fabric for Colorfastness

    Before you use chlorine bleach on a garment, test the fabric for colorfastness. Mix 1 teaspoon bleach with 2 teaspoons warm water. Find an inconspicuous spot on the garment, such as an inside seam. Dip a cotton swab in the bleach and water solution, and dot the fabric. Allow the spot to dry completely. If you see any change in color on the fabric or a transfer of color to the swab, don't use chlorine bleach on this fabric. (This often happens when chlorine bleach is tested on colored clothing.)

    (Video) how do use bleach for white clothes & remove all stain very easily DEMONSTRATION (Hindi )


    Don't use chlorine bleach on silk, acetate, wool, wool blends, spandex, rubber, polypropylene foam, or some flame-retardant fabrics. It weakens the fibers and causes them to break.

    How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (2)

  2. Add Chlorine Bleach at the Correct Time

    Chlorine bleach should never be poured directly onto clothes in a sink or washer because it can remove color completely and dissolve the fibers. Either add the bleach to an automatic dispenser or into the washer water before adding the laundry. Add laundry detergent as you would normally.

    How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (3)

  3. Use Fresh Chlorine Bleach for Best Results

    Liquid chlorine bleach has a limited shelf life. Over time, it loses its effectiveness due to exposure to light and air. If the bottle has been open for more than six months, the bleach should be replaced because it might not disinfect clothing or remove stains properly.

    How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (4)

How to Use Oxygen Bleach in Laundry

Oxygen bleach, often called all-fabric bleach or colorfast bleach, is safe for most fabrics and colors. It has a variety of uses. Oxygen bleach works more slowly than the harsher chlorine bleach, and it has no disinfecting qualities to kill bacteria. However, having patience when using oxygen bleach will yield great results.


Oxygen bleach should not be used on silk, wool, or leather because it will weaken and damage the materials.

  1. Use the Most Effective Formula

    Oxygen bleach is most effective when a powdered formula is used and mixed with water to activate. Liquid formulas of oxygen bleach lose their effectiveness soon after the product is opened and exposed to air, and the bleach solution turns to water. Even though some detergents include oxygen bleach, use a full oxygen-bleach formula to boost your regular detergent.

    How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (5)

  2. How to Add Oxygen Bleach to the Washer

    If using powdered oxygen bleach to wash laundry, add the powder to the empty washer tub first. Or you can add it to the wash water before adding clothes, depending on your washing machine type. Never put powdered oxygen bleach directly onto clothing, because it can cause uneven spotting. Liquid formulas can also be placed in the automatic bleach dispenser.

    How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (6)

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  3. Create an Oxygen Bleach Solution

    When mixing powdered oxygen bleach with water to create a stain-removal solution, use warm water to ensure that all the powder dissolves. Once dissolved, add cold water to cover the fabric if needed. Completely submerge the stained garment, and allow it to soak as long as possible—up to eight hours or overnight.

    How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (7)

How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide in Laundry

The same hydrogen peroxide that you use to clean minor wounds or achieve "sun-bleached" hair can be used in the laundry room. It's most commonly available at pharmacies in concentrations of 3 percent to 6 percent in a water-based solution.

  1. Add the Hydrogen Peroxide Correctly

    Even though hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach, it should never be poured directly onto clothes in a sink or washer because it can remove color. Either add the bleach to an automatic dispenser, or pour a cup into the washer water before adding the laundry. Add laundry detergent as you would normally.

    How to Wash Clothes With Bleach (8)

Treating Stains With Bleach

If you prefer to spot-treat a stain with any of the three types of bleach rather than wash an entire load, dilute your choice of bleach in cool or lukewarm water to make a weak solution. Dip a clean white cloth into the diluted bleach solution and dab it on the stain until it is gone. Then launder the item as usual.


Excessive heat from an iron can cause a yellow hue on bleached parts of a garment. It's also possible to scorch a bleached part of a garment with a hot iron. (On the flip side, you can sometimes remove scorch marks using bleach.) For best results, iron a bleached item inside out using a press cloth, a cooler iron setting, or one that the garment's label suggests.

Storing Clothes Washed With Bleach

Bleached clothing has a way of yellowing when stored unless you take some precautions. When hanging or storing any clothing washed with bleach, make certain your hands are free from lotions, oils, soaps, or water. Store items in a cool, dry space. If you are storing bleached items in a container, make sure they are wrapped in acid-free archival tissue paper and placed in a box made from polypropylene (the box will say "PP" on it).

How Often to Wash Clothes With Bleach

You don't necessarily need to limit how often you use any of these bleaches. However, be mindful that you're correctly using each bleach on the right fabrics. You also don't want to overbleach clothing, especially with harsher chlorine bleach. Repeated use of chlorine bleach can weaken cellulosic or cotton/ramie/linen fibers and cause yellowing of white synthetic fabrics by stripping the outer fibers and revealing a yellow inner core.

Tips for Washing Clothes With Bleach

  • Never pour full-strength chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide into a washer filled with clothes, even if the load is filled with whites. Dilute in cold water before adding to clothes. Cold water helps dilute chlorine bleach, as opposed to warm which helps dilute oxygen bleach.
  • For each garment, read and follow care instructions and any warnings on the fabric care label regarding the use of bleach.
  • If you're spot-cleaning a layered garment with bleach, be mindful that you're only bleaching the layer you need brightened. You don't want bleach to seep into and accidentally damage a bottom layer of the clothing.
  • Do not overly dry an item washed in chlorine bleach or peroxide or the heat could yellow the garment.


  • Can I use bleach and laundry detergent together?

    Yes, but you will need to put bleach into your washer or laundry water before you add detergent. This is to help the bleach evenly dissolve in the wash.

    (Video) How to Prepare bleach for white clothes, bleach ka ghol banaye gharpar,laundry

  • Where do I put bleach in my washing machine?

    It depends on which type of bleach you are using. Add chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide to an automatic dispenser or into the washer water before adding the laundry. Add powdered oxygen bleach to the empty washer tub or to the wash water before adding clothes.

  • How much bleach do I add to laundry?

    Read the label on the oxygen bleach product to determine how much to add for an entire load of laundry. For liquid chlorine bleach, you can add 3/4 cup for an average-size load. For hydrogen peroxide, add 1 cup to the dispenser or dilute 1 cup in 2 cups water and add to the washer water or drum.

The Best Laundry Whiteners to Keep Your Clothes Bright

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Cleaning and Disinfecting With Bleach. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. Household Cleaning & Sanitizing. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Video) How To Wash White Clothes With Bleach by Hand


Is it safe to wash clothes with bleach? ›

If there is no color change, you can safely launder the item with bleach. Solution-dyed fibers, including acrylic, nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene and high-energy polyester, exhibit strong colorfastness when exposed to bleach. Almost all cotton whites and most synthetic whites are safe to wash in liquid bleach.

Can you put bleach in the washing machine? ›

How to Use Bleach in Laundry to Clean, Whiten, Remove Stains and Sanitize. You can add bleach to every load of bleach-safe laundry along with your regular detergent to clean, whiten, remove stains and sanitize your clothes.

Can you mix bleach and laundry detergent? ›

There are several ways to add bleach to your washload. Our standard directions are to add bleach WITH the detergent as the wash water is filling and BEFORE the clothes are added. The reason is you want to dilute the bleach concentration before you add the clothes.

Do you wash clothes with bleach in hot or cold water? ›

How you use bleach is the key to either making or breaking its cleaning power. By using hot water instead of cold/tepid water to create a solution, you can render the active ingredients in bleach ineffective. So for bleach that works, always make sure you dilute it in cold/tepid water.

Do I need to rinse my washer after using bleach? ›

Let it soak for an hour to remove all traces of mould, soap scum and dirt, before running a hot wash cycle to disinfect the hoses. Run a final rinse cycle to remove all traces of bleach from the drum (you don't want it to stain your clothing).

What wash cycle do you add bleach? ›

The liquid bleach is usually dispensed at the beginning of a rinse cycle rather than added with detergent, as with top loaders.

When should I add bleach to my wash? ›

For best results, add 5 minutes after the wash cycle has begun to agitate in order to avoid destroying enzymes and fluorescent whiteners in the detergent. For Oxygen Bleach, add directly to the wash water before the clothes are added. Do not pour powdered bleach directly on wet clothes.

Should I run a cycle with bleach through my washer? ›

Depending on how bad the buildup is, one cycle to clean your washer using bleach may be enough. In fact, you may need to run several for the problem to be brought completely under control. After that, run a cleanout cycle at least once a month, and at most once a week.

Is it OK to mix Tide and bleach? ›

(And yes, it's safe to mix bleach and powdered Tide — that's what happens in your laundry sometimes!

How much bleach should I add to my laundry? ›

In general, you'll add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of regular liquid bleach to a load. If you have a bleach dispenser, you can add the bleach directly to it by filling up to the provided line. If you don't have a dispenser, add the bleach directly to the water 5 minutes after the wash cycle has started.

Can you use bleach on colored clothes? ›

You can safely bleach cotton, polyester, nylon, acrylic and rayon. Always avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather or spandex, even a small percentage. Once you confirm that the clothes you want to wash are made of a bleach-safe fiber, then you check if the color is colorfast to bleach.

Does cold water get rid of bleach? ›

Rinse the area with cold water to remove any excess bleach. Create a thick paste by mixing together some baking soda and water. Spread this over the stain evenly. Leave to dry and then brush off gently – you may want to use an old toothbrush.

Should you bleach clothes wet or dry? ›

When you bleach fabric that's wet/damp, you get more of watercolor look. It's not as concentrated, so you can see here that it made some really pretty textures in the fabric.

Does bleach work better on wet or dry clothes? ›

Wet your clothes. Many people find sun bleaching is more effective when the clothes are wet rather than dry (although even dry items will still be sun-bleached to some degree). The easiest way to prepare clothes is to wash them as you normally would, and instead of putting them in the dryer, put them out in the sun.

What happens if you put too much bleach in the washer? ›

It should always be diluted because it is so strong and concentrated. Used like this, it can actually cause yellowing by either breaking down the fibers or destroying the florescent whitening agents on the fabric of the garment.

Does hot water ruin bleach? ›

Procedures of Preparing/Using Diluted Bleach

Cold water should be used for dilution as hot water decomposes the active ingredient of bleach and renders it ineffective.

How damaging is a bleach wash? ›

A bleach bath contains bleaching powder and peroxide diluted with shampoo. It is a milder alternative to the bleaching process. Bleaching is an aggressive agent that can harm your hair strands, leaving them weak and brittle. But a bleach bath does not damage your hair as badly and is suitable for all hair types.

What 2 things should never be mixed with bleach? ›

Don't mix bleach with ammonia, acids, or other cleaners.

Mixing bleach with common cleaning products can cause serious injuries. Be sure to always read the product label before using a cleaning product.

What detergent can you mix with bleach? ›

The same no-mixing rules also apply to products containing "caustic" chemicals like lye or sodium hydroxide, which you'll find in drain cleaners, oven cleaners and degreasers. There is one exception. "Laundry detergent is formulated to be safely mixed with bleach," Sachleben says.

Why shouldnt you mix bleach and detergent? ›

Mixing chlorine bleach and cleaners like dish soap can be harmful to your health. Mixing bleach with other cleaners can release toxic gases. Bleach can irritate your skin and eyes. Washing dishes in warm, soapy water already removes germs.

What clothes should not be bleach? ›

"Any item that includes wool, silk, mohair, leather, or spandex is not safe for chlorine bleach, regardless of the color of the item," she says. Even items with a mix of materials (for example, 97% cotton and 3% spandex) are still a no-go, says Gagliardi.

Will bleach remove all color? ›

Some colors will be removed when you bleach them, leaving a natural white fabric that's perfect for dyeing a new color. Some colors will shift to an entirely different color, like black to orange or blue to pink. Some colors will only lighten slightly.

How long do you leave a bleach wash in? ›

There's a misconception that bleach will work better the longer you leave it on. The maximum amount of time you should leave bleach on your hair is 30 minutes. Any longer than that and you run the risk of serious damage, including brittle strands.

How much bleach is too much in laundry? ›

Do not use that much chlorine bleach in any load of white garments. The right amount is closer to ¼ cup. Bleach is an effective product, but potentially dangerous if used incorrectly.

How long does a bleach wash last? ›

Bleach Bath vs. Traditional Bleaching
Bleach BathRegular Bleaching
A lower volume of hydrogen peroxide or developer is usually usedProcess time can be from 20 to 30 minutes, and not over 45 minutes
Process time is between 10 to 30 minutes only, depending on your hair condition and prior color
3 more rows
Jul 14, 2022

How much bleach do I put in white laundry? ›

Use the right amount of bleach

That's ¾ cup for a regular load, and 1¼ cup for an extra-large or heavily soiled load. Does your washer limit bleach to 1/3 cup? Wash in smaller loads and fill the dispenser to the “max fill” line.

Will bleach ruin colored clothes? ›

Avoid using chlorine bleach for colored clothing, since it lifts color from fabric and causes fading and white stains on your clothes.

Can smelling bleach harm you? ›

Breathing high amounts of chlorine gas can lead to a build-up of fluid in the lungs and severe shortness of breath that could lead to death if untreated. Immediately or within a few hours after breathing chlorine gas, the lungs can become irritated, causing coughing and/or shortness of breath.


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