Can You Soak Clothes in Bleach?
Bleach is a powerful disinfectant and whitening agent, used to sanitize and brighten white and colored fabrics alike. However, if bleach isn’t used properly, it can severely damage both delicate and more robust clothing, making it important to understand the various considerations and safety measures when deciding to soak clothes in bleach.
Choosing a Bleach
When selecting a household bleach, you should generally choose a product which lists sodium hypochlorite as its main active ingredient, often referred to as “ chlorine bleach.”
Wash Prior to Soaking
Before you decide to soak clothes in bleach, it is important to clean them with bleach-safe detergent in cold water. This helps remove any dirt or oils that would otherwise be activated by the bleach and make stains worse.
Avoid using hot water when soaking. Warm water is typically recommended, as it helps increase the potency of the bleach, but can damage finer fabrics. Fill a large bucket or tub with warm water and add the recommended amount of bleach based on the manufacturer’s instructions; about a ¼ cup for every gallon of water used.
The amount of time that you should soak your clothes in bleach depends on how stained or dirty they are. As a rule of thumb, it is usually safe to soak lightly soiled or stained clothes for 15-30 minutes, while heavily soiled items may need closer to an hour of soaking time.
When soaking clothes in bleach, it is important to take the following safety measures:
- Always wear rubber gloves. Bleach is an effective disinfectant, but it can cause severe skin irritation.
- Avoid combining bleach with other cleaning products. This can create toxic fumes.
- Be aware of what fabrics are compatible with bleach. Delicate fabrics like lace and silk should never be soaked in bleach, as it can irreparably damage them.
In conclusion, you can soak clothes in bleach as a means of both sanitizing and brightening them. However, it is important to be aware of which bleaches to use and which fabrics to avoid, and to be mindful of the safety and health risks of using bleach.