can you mix bleach and laundry detergent
Kristina Davis

Can you mix bleach and laundry detergent together? If you are like me, the question may have baffled you a lot.

I have been using Clorox as my choice of detergent. But detergent counteracts the bleaching effects, so I assumed it should be used before bleaching.

However, the Clorox instructions say to use the two together.

Similarly, I have also noticed that cleaning clothes and making them smell nice only requires a small amount of detergent.

Yet some stains, such as pen stains, are impervious to the cleaning power of your standard laundry detergent. Therefore, you will need bleach to deal with this mess.

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πŸ€” But what happens if you mix bleach and laundry detergent? And is it okay to mix the two?

Turns out, you can definitely combine bleach with your laundry detergent and water, but ultimately, it comes down to the mixing ratio you choose. 

Perils of Mixing Chemicals

mixing chemicals perils

Mixing two chemicals can often lead to undesirable consequences.

Because of the potential dangers of chemical reactions, you should not mix just any detergent with bleach without first finding out what ingredients each has.

Ideally, you should avoid using bleach with acids, ammonia, or other cleaning chemicals.

Bleach is highly toxic when combined with some specific household cleaning chemicals.

Before using any cleaning product, check the label to be sure you have everything you need.

Using Chlorine Bleach

chlorine bleach usage

Chlorine bleach’s main constituent is sodium hypochlorite. There are a variety of disinfectants that contain it, including bleach.

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In the presence of acids, such as those found in drain cleaners, sodium hypochlorite undergoes a chemical reaction.

There is bleach in many everyday home items, so check it and avoid mixing them with other chemicals. 

Mixing Ammonia and Bleach

mixing bleach and ammonia

When mixing bleach with any detergent or home cleaning product, ensure that it does not contain ammonia.

Mixing bleach with ammonia creates chloramines, which are highly poisonous fumes.

Chloramine gas exposure has been linked to the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Watery eyes
  • Pneumonia
  • Wheezing
Note: Ammonia has several uses beyond just as a cleaning product; it is also used in some glass and window cleaners and exterior and interior paints. 

Mixing Acids and Bleach

mixing bleach and acids

Mixing chlorine bleach with acid can produce chlorine gas, which is unsafe for humans.

Exposure to chlorine gas, even at low concentrations and for brief periods, can irritate the mucous membranes, leading to difficulty breathing, coughing, burning eyes, and a runny nose.

With prolonged exposure, you may develop symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, pneumonia, vomiting, and fluid in the lungs.

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Those who are exposed to lethal concentrations should seek medical attention immediately. 

Note: You can find acids in products such as window cleaners, dishwasher detergents, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and concrete cleaners. 

Can You Mix Bleach and Laundry Detergent or Not?

combining detergent and bleach

In most cases, you can mix the two, but ultimately, it comes down to the ingredients in your laundry detergent. 

For instance, if you use a specific product that contains strong acids, ammonia, or even chlorine bleach, it is better to avoid mixing it with bleach.

However, there are some exceptions, especially for common household laundry detergents.

You can combine “ordinary bleach” with your laundry detergent.  

What is ordinary bleach? It is simply a sodium hypochlorite solution diluted with water to make a 3%-10% solution.

Tip: Only add half a cup of bleach for a normal load and a cup for heavily soiled clothes. 

The Results of Mixing Bleach and Laundry Detergent

result detergent and bleach

People may believe that the two substances will react explosively upon being combined, as depicted in science fiction films.

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Or, at the very least, they will froth, bubble, or change color upon being combined. The reality is a lot less thrilling. 

The combination of detergent and bleach does not cause any visible physical changes.

βœ… The combined liquid will still look the same, albeit it may take on a stronger bleach aroma.

It happens because most detergents already have compounds that make them stable when mixed with bleach.

Therefore, all you will achieve is a more powerful solution to eliminate all traces of dirt.

Tip: Be prepared to make a new solution for every wash because bleach tends to degrade much faster when combined with other chemicals. 

Going With Oxygen-Based Bleach

using oxygen based bleach

If you want to mix bleach with laundry detergent, it is better to stick with oxygen-based bleach, as it is gentler compared to chlorine-based bleach.

It is also a good choice for those looking for an environmentally friendly way to wash clothes.

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Using oxygen-based bleach, you can safely make your clothes look brighter, remove stains, and maintain the colors.

Mostly, you have to soak your clothes in the mixture for a couple of hours or leave it overnight to get good results. 

How To Use Bleach With Your Laundry Detergent

bleach with detergent usage

It is possible to add bleach to a load of laundry in a few different ways.

We recommend adding bleach and the detergent while the water for the wash fills, but before you add any of the clothes. 

It is mainly because you have to lower bleach’s strength before adding your clothes.

Remember, using high-strength bleach on your clothes can ruin them for good.

πŸ™Œ Bleach can also be added through the washing machine’s bleach dispenser.

This method also involves a delay, like the one described above, but it is still one of the best ways to add bleach to your brand-new HE machines. 

Avoiding the Damage When Mixing Bleach and Laundry Detergent

damage avoiding

You can never be too sure that combining detergent and bleach is doing anything other than its job.

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As much as you may want them to be spotless, you do not want to suffer through the ordeal of spoiling your favorite clothes.

Due to the fact that not all colors and fabrics are bleachable, you must perform this test beforehand.

  1. First, get a cup and fill it with regular water till the 1/4 point.
  2. Then, whisk in two tablespoons of bleach.
  3. Apply a small amount of the solution to an area of the fabric, like the hem.
  4. Use a clean rag after a minute to blot the area.

Notice how the fabric reacts to the solution. You can safely use the mixture to wash that fabric if you notice no change.

Tip: Avoid exposing your silk, leather, mohair, spandex, or wool fabrics to chlorine bleach, or it will seriously damage them. 

Does It Make Sense To Mix Bleach and Laundry Detergent?

it does make sense

Most laundry detergents are now already quite powerful to help you clean your loads properly.

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Still, it makes sense to combine it with bleach to make it more potent and have your clothes cleaner.

Here are some other reasons why people decide to mix both: 

Better Results in Fewer Washes

better outcome in washing

They are both highly efficient, but using them together ensures you will only have to wash your clothes once.

This means, for instance, that instead of doing five loads, you can now do three.

It is a time- and energy-saver because the washing machine will not have to go through extra cleaning cycles. 

Better Disinfecting Power

disinfecting power better

Bacteria, germs, and viruses are everywhere, and some have developed resistance to everyday cleaning products.

Similarly, kitchen and toilet surfaces are prime breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses like Norovirus, Listeria, Salmonella, MRSA, and Escherichia coli.

It means that there are strong possibilities of getting your clothes infected with these germs and your regular detergent not being able to get rid of them.

Adding bleach to the mix can increase the disinfecting power of your detergent and leave you with cleaner clothes. 

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Effective Against Stubborn Stains

against stubborn stains

One of the many benefits of the synergy between detergent and bleach is having exceptionally clean clothes.

Some food, dirt, and pen stains are permanently ingrained in the fabric.

Since chlorine particles will grab the dirt particles from deep inside the fabric mesh, using a bit of bleach will help eliminate them in no time.

Tip: Consider using powder bleach formulations because they are more stable and do not damage your clothes. 

Takeaway

Can you mix bleach and laundry detergent? In most cases, you can.

But, it is essential to pay attention to the mixing ratio to ensure you do not end up damaging your clothes in the process.

It is better to patch-test your fabric before using the mixture and opt for the gentler version of bleach to get good results.

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