A white shirt can look pretty dingy after several spins in the washing machine. And let’s not even get started on what your child’s white soccer jersey looks like after practice. Plus, you have everything else you have to worry about on laundry day. Fortunately, if you know the right products to use, you can tackle laundry nearly effortlessly. But, which do you use? A laundry bleach or a laundry whitener?
Why do people use bleach and whiteners?
People add chlorine bleach or a laundry whitener when doing a load of whites in the washing machine, usually along with detergent, to remove stubborn stains from clothing. Both oxygen bleach and whiteners help keep white clothes looking new and bright. They enhance the cleaning job a typical detergent does and fight against any dye bleeds, stains, or yellowing. Not to mention, oxygen bleach has disinfectant properties as well.
What is the difference between bleach and whitener?
You add either bleach or whitener to your washing machine in addition to detergent. Laundry bleach releases oxygen molecules, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as oxygen bleach. The oxygen molecules break up colors on the clothing because they target chromophores, which are what cause colored stains.
Whiteners, on the other hand, use chlorine bleach or organic ingredients to brighten clothing. They’re particularly beneficial if you have yellowing on your white clothing, which can happen when you store dirty clothing. Certain substances, such as sweat, are notorious for causing yellowing. Rather than breaking up the colored portion of stains on fabrics, they absorb ultraviolet light. Then, they reflect it as blue light, thereby hiding what’s making the clothes look dingy, faded, or stained.
The pros and cons of laundry bleach
Oxygen bleach is only safe on certain types of fabric so you can’t use it on any item you want. If you use too much of it without diluting it, it’ll cause the item to become stained. You also risk damaging the fabric of an article of clothing this way. Plus, bleach will strip or change the color of anything besides white on an item.
Chlorine bleach mixed with certain chemicals, especially those with ammonia, can release toxic gases into the air that are dangerous to inhale and can irritate your eyes. Inhaling bleach alone can cause breathing troubles. For some people, bleach will irritate their skin if they come in direct contact with it.
This substance is highly effective at getting rid of stains, though, even from dark wine or grass, and brightening clothing. Besides its ability to make older clothes look almost new again and save your favorite pair of white pants, bleach acts as a disinfectant, which is ideal for people who are immunocompromised.
The pros and cons of laundry whiteners
Laundry whiteners can successfully get out some stains, but they are most effective at ridding clothing of yellow staining. They’re also highly effective at getting out rust stains. They have limitations, however, as to what they can remove from clothing. While some whiteners contain bleach, you can also find versions that consist of organic ingredients that naturally whiten.
As a general rule, laundry whiteners will brighten your laundry, but they have limitations. They’re not able to whiten the laundry as much and get rid of as many types of stains. Unless they have oxygen bleach in them, they won’t disinfect.
The biggest benefit of using a laundry whitener as opposed to an oxygen bleach is that whiteners aren’t destructive to fabrics in a majority of cases. But, you’ll need to read labels carefully to compare their ingredients and figure out which one is most suited for your needs based on the types of items you’ll be using it for.
Which one is better for removing tough stains from fabric surfaces – bleach or whitener?
Chlorine bleach is overall better at removing stains from clothing. Not to mention, it can remove a broader range of stains and tends to be a more potent whitening agent. With that being said, whiteners work better on yellowing and work on certain materials that chlorine bleach may not be able to.
Stop the guesswork and use a laundry service!
When it comes to laundry bleach vs laundry whitener, rather than reading every label carefully and hoping you don’t use the wrong whitener and make a costly mistake, hire a wash and fold service to take care of it for you. You don’t even need to hire a company to handle all of your laundry; you can use one for just your whites. A member of their staff will carefully read your labels and use the whitening agent that’s safest.