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Household Cleaner with Bleach

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Apr 26, 2012, 07:09 AM
Household Cleaner with Bleach
I know this may sound weird but I am new to cleaning with bleach. I was at work cleaning the work station with a cheap brand of cleaning solution. It is actually called Totally Awesome Cleaner with Bleach. Probably a dollar store find. No big deal. Question is, I was cleaning with it and one drop landed on my jeans. It has been about an hour and I haven't seen any change in color. How does bleach work? If it gets on dark clothes, how quickly does it change the color of the clothing?
Apr 26, 2012, 09:32 AM
With regular full strength bleach, it is darn immediate, I would say. Having done so more than once. Your drop was probably diluted cleaner, and dried out before it affected the color dye.

Any product that says "with bleach" does not state the concentration of the bleach or how much is actually in the product. Diluted enough in the product (tiny amount of actual chlorine bleach) then no color change would be apparent, although the packaging can still say it has bleach.

It does not take very much bleach 1 part to 10 parts water to disinfect a kitchen counter, for instance. At that ratio, the fabric would need to be saturated and soaking for a time to get any lightening of it.
Apr 26, 2012, 09:44 AM
Thank you so much! Your response was very helpful!
Apr 26, 2012, 01:13 PM
I agree with Conrad. The concentration of bleach in that cleaner probably wasn't any higher than the half cup of bleach you add to the 27 gallons of water in your washing machine when you add bleach to your weekly laundry.

How does bleach work?

I'll answer that question tonight if someone else doesn't before me.

Hint: Bleach works exactly the same way that hydrogen peroxide takes the colour out of hair and ozone takes the smell out of the air.

PS: Ozone is the biggest gun in the arsenal when it comes to removing smells from the air. When someone who lives alone dies in their sleep, and the body isn't discovered until the neighbors complain about the awful smell coming from the house, it's an ozone generator that's used to remove the smell from the house before it's put up for sale (if that's what the beneficiaries of the will want to do with it). Ditto for people dying in vehicles and their bodies rotting inside the vehicle.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,
Apr 26, 2012, 08:33 PM
How does bleach (NaOCl), ozone (O3) and hydrogen peroxide (HOOH) work?

All of these molecules are inherently unstable and will spontaneously break down to form a much more stable molecule and release a single oxygen atom in the process.

Ozone, for example, will spontaneously break down to form an oxygen (O2) molecule and release an oxygen atom. Hydrogen peroxide will break down to form a water molecule and release an oxygen atom. And, given time, a gallon of Chlorox bleach will transform into a gallon of Chlorox salt water, with a lot of oxygen atoms being produced as that transformation takes place. (That's why bleach, ozone and hydrogen peroxide are called "oxidizing bleaches".)

Now, how can I put this politely? A lone oxygen atom is the horn-y drunken sailor of the chemical world. It will react with anything it can as soon as it can, as long as that thing is unstable enough to react with it.

And, unstable molecules are generally large organic molecules that tend to break down on their own given enough time. However, large organic molecules are often what are responsible for the colour, taste and smell of substances too.

So, when you clean a stain with bleach, what's actually happening is that the oxygen atoms released by the spontaneous break down of the bleach react with large organic molecules at various places, thereby breaking them down into small pieces.

Those smaller pieces of the molecule are both more soluble in water (which is why bleach is often used in the washing machine) and don't absorb light or affect the smell sensors in our noses (or presumably the taste buds in our mouths) like the original large molecule did.

The result is that the pieces of the original molecules are typically still there, but because those pieces don't behave the way the original large molecule did, then we're just not aware that they're there. That is, the colour disappears from the fabric, or the colour disappears from our hair, or the smell disappears from the air so we presume that the molecules that created those colours or smells or tastes have disappeared. But, typically, they're still there, only in pieces that don't absorb certain wave lengths of light or affect the sensors in our noses or taste buds anymore. So, we're just not aware that they're there.

And, of course, those lone oxygen atoms don't know that you only want them to react with the dye molecules, so they'll react with everything that will react with them. So, if you bleach a cotton T-shirt, the dye will be broken down, but so will some of the cotton. That's why if you leave a cotton rag soaking in bleach, you'll make mush out of that cotton rag. Ditto for a cellulose sponge.

This is also why bleach is so effective at killing "germs" ...there's nothing that can survive having the molecules it's made of being broken into pieces.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,
Apr 26, 2012, 09:54 PM
If you are wanting to sanitize an area, (like a kitchen counter or sink) the bleach solution must also stay in contact with the surface for several minutes, usually until it dries. (This is for a weak bleach solution of a cap full per gallon of hot water, that won't damage surfaces) Stronger solutions will work a bit quicker.

I have not used bleach in laundry for over a decade. My whites were continuously turning gray, no matter if I used bleach or not. (obvious when buying new t-shirt or white socks for DH) The chlorine bleach was also very hard on cottons and elastics, causing too much damage to the clothes.

We have very hard water here, and once I started adding half a cup of 20 Mule Team Borax along with the detergent...all the whites stayed white! It works as a detergent booster and water softener, and the clothes don't wear out in the wash.
Jun 15, 2012, 09:44 PM
Be careful cleaning with bleach...I've ruined several tops after using a product containing bleach on my sink or shower, then leaning over to scrub it.

I now use the ruined tops when I cleanWink
Aug 30, 2012, 01:57 AM
Mix bleach with water and then dip a clean cleaning cloth in it, squeeze out the excess, and wipe down hard surfaces. You can use this bleach solution without rinsing all over the bathroom, kitchen and the rest of the house.
Note- Some surfaces, particularly absorbent ones like wood, may be harmed by bleach.

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Aug 30, 2012, 06:54 AM
I would add a bit of bleach to the water, sponge carefully, blot with paper towels, bleach again, and blot some more. It gives a new look and extreme shining to the window glass.

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Sep 13, 2012, 03:13 AM
Add a little amount of bleach in water and then apply it on the cloth or if you do not want to wash the whole cloth then apply it to just the area which has got the stain, rub the cloth there,gently but not too hard and then wash it with warm water. You can apply the procedure two or three times if you need.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Magdalene123,

Portable Ice Maker
Mar 29, 2013, 11:25 AM
While bleach makes your white whiter, it also weakens and damages the cloth, although not outright but with constant use. I only use bleach to get stains off the cloth and I just put a drop right on the stain.