How to Bleach a Stain

Ever wonder how to bleach a stain? Never fear, there are a few common bleaching tips that can help you remove a stain without ruining your fabrics. The key to bleaching stains is to always test the fabric before using bleach.

How to bleach a stain

Why Bleach Helps in the Stain Removal Process

Many believe that bleach is the best stain fighting chemical to remove stains, but you need to beware. Many times bleach can cause the colors of fabrics and carpets to fade. Before using the bleach on any stain you will need to test the area. You can do this by bleaching a small inconspicuous area like an inseam. Allow the bleach to sit for about 1 minute, rinse with clean water, and blot with a clean white towel. If the color has faded then the fabric is not colorfast and oxygen bleach might be the better option for stain removal.

Chlorine bleach is made up of sodium hypochorite and water, which will react with the stain when put in the laundry. The bleach's chemical makeup produces oxygen that will lift the stain from the fabrics. If you have heavily soiled fabrics try and wash it by itself. If there is too much of a stain it could be released from one fabric and then transferred to a cleaner fabric in the laundering process. 

How to Use Chlorine Bleach to Remove a Stain

There are two types of chlorine bleach; powdered bleach and liquid bleach. When doing your laundry it is recommended that you use the liquid version of the bleach, but when cleaning surfaces it is recommended that you use the powdered bleach. The following are a few general tips for bleaching stains:

  1. When using chlorine bleach in your laundry make sure that you have completed a colorfast test. If the fabrics are not colorfast you can ruin your garments by using chlorine bleach.
  2. When wanting to brighten the colors of your fabrics it is recommended that you add 3/4 cup of bleach to your laundry along with your normal laundry soap. This type of bleaching is often used after you have already pre-treated the fabrics.
  3. Never put chlorine bleach directly on fabrics. It is too strong and you could ruin your clothing. Always make sure that you have diluted the bleach with water before using it on fabrics and carpeting.
  4. Never bleach wool or wool blended garments. The chemicals are too strong and will ruin this type of fabric.
  5. Chlorine bleach is great for removing mildew stains. Again make sure that you do not use the full strength of the bleach on any surface. You will need to dilute the bleach with water. Like fabrics ensure the chlorine bleach is safe to use on the surface using a small testing area.
  6. Always remember: NEVER mix bleach and ammonia together. The fumes the two cleaning chemicals make are poisonous and can cause death!

As you can see chlorine bleach is a great cleaning agent that can easily remove most stains. What you really need to pay attention to is if the fabrics or surfaces can handle the strong stain fighting chemical. Many fabrics and surface can be ruined by the chlorine bleach not use appropriately.

How to Use Oxygen Bleach to Remove Stains

Oxygen bleach is the form of bleach that is normally safe on all fabrics and colors, but there is a few major differences between chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach works a little slower than chlorine bleach and it contains the chemical Sodium perborate instead of sodium hypochorite. Like chlorine bleach it is best to test a small area of the fabric before you use the oxygen bleach to remove a stain. The following are a few tips to bleaching a stain with oxygen bleach:

  1. Like chlorine bleach you should never use oxygen bleach directly on a stain. Even though oxygen bleach is a mild form of chlorine bleach it is still too strong of a chemical to use directly on fabrics and surfaces. You should dilute the oxygen bleach with water before using it to clean.
  2. Oxygen bleach can be used on most fabrics and surfaces, but bleach should never be used on silk, acetate, wool, spandex, polypropylene foam, and some flame retardant fabrics and rubbers.
  3. Because the oxygen bleach works a little slower than the chlorine bleach try to fight the urge to add more to the laundry or stain fighting solution. Too much oxygen bleach could make the stain situation worse.
  4. Again NEVER mix bleach with ammonia. The fumes that it creates are poisonous and can cause death.
  5. When adding oxygen bleach to the laundry do not pour the bleach directly into the cloths. If your washer has a bleach dispenser you can put the oxygen bleach in the allotted container. If your washing machine does not have a bleach dispenser than you should fill the washing machine up with water first and add 3/4 cup of oxygen bleach. Stir the solution and then add your clothing. This will allow the bleach to be diluted enough to be evenly distributed throughout the laundry. This step could save your clothing.
  6. Never rub or scrub a stain with bleach or a bleach solution. This action could ruin the fibers of the fabric or carpeting.

Bleach is used to remove many different stains from many different fabrics and surfaces. When using bleach to clean and remove stains ensure that you follow all of the guidelines stated above.