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What’s the Difference Between Chlorine and Oxygen Bleach?

Choosing the Right Type of Bleach

There are two types of bleach: chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach. Learn more about the differences, and how to choose the right bleach for any type of stain and clothing.

What Is Bleach and How Does It Work?

Bleach is a laundry additive that helps break down stains through a chemical reaction, and then with the help of regular laundry detergent, removes them from clothing.

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Chlorine Bleach Benefits and How to Use It

Chlorine bleach almost always comes in a liquid form and has been around since your grandmother’s grandmother. Inexpensive and readily available, you’d recognize it by its smell alone! Chlorine bleach contains the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite diluted with water, but don’t be fooled… chlorine bleach is very powerful. In fact, it cleans laundry and a wide variety of surfaces around the home.

Chlorine bleach’s strength is also its weakness. If not used correctly, chlorine bleach can lead to discoloration, fading, and even to holes. Colored or patterned clothing can be permanently damaged. Always check fabric care labels before using and be mindful not to overuse.

Finally, always add chlorine bleach to an automatic dispenser or into the washer water before adding your laundry. Then add detergent as normal. Never pour it directly onto clothes as it can remove color.

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Oxygen or Non-Chlorine Bleach Benefits and How to Use It

Oxygen bleach, aka color-safe bleach or non-chlorine bleach, comes in both powder and liquid forms. Like chlorine bleach, it removes stains but is gentle on fabrics, when used as directed.

With its active ingredient of hydrogen peroxide, oxygen bleach works by slowly breaking down stains and then dissolving away.

Oxygen bleach can be used safely on colored or patterned clothing, and all without a strong odor. Try OxiClean™ White Revive™ Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover as your go-to color-safe laundry oxygen bleach, available in powder, liquid or pak form.

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Other Traditional Bleach Substitutes for Cleaning Around Your Home

OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover is a stain remover that can be used to clean all around your home. It’s not only a great laundry booster, but it can be used on hard and soft surfaces such as couches, carpets, outdoor furniture and grout.

For an oxygen bleach with odor-removing properties, try OxiClean™ Odor Blasters™ Versatile Odor & Stain Remover. It does double duty against tough odors, such as sweaty gym towels, and stains in laundry and all around the house.

As always, follow directions on packaging and on your garment’s care label.

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