can alcohol bleach clothes

can alcohol bleach clothes

Can Alcohol Bleach Clothes?

Alcohol is a strong compound with many uses, and it is even used at times to bleach clothes. While it can be used for this task, it is important to understand its limitations.

Ethanol vs. Isopropyl Alcohol

Ethanol and isopropyl alcohol are the two types of alcohol most commonly used as bleaches. Both will work to some degree, but ethanol is the stronger of the two and more often used.

Benefits of Using Alcohol

Alcohol is effective on protein-based stains like blood, grass, and sweat, as well as dyes like food coloring or paint. It is also more gentle on fabrics than traditional bleaches are.

Limitations of Using Alcohol

Alcohol is not suitable for bleaching all fabrics or for removing some types of stains.

  • Greasy Stains: Grease and oil-based substances, such as cosmetics, motor oil, and butter, will not be affected by alcohol.
  • Heat-Sensitive Fabrics: It is also not recommended for heat-sensitive fabrics, such as wool or silk, as alcohol will make them shrink or become discolored.
  • Color-Safe Fabrics:Color-safe fabrics are fabrics that will not fade when exposed to bleach – alcohol will have no effect on them.


Alcohol can be a useful alternative to traditional bleaching agents. It is best used on protein-based stains, dyes, and fabrics that are not heat-sensitive or color-safe. However, it should not be used on greasy stains or on any fabrics that are heat-sensitive or color-safe.

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