Cleaning Bleach vs. Laundry Bleach: What’s the Difference?

cleaning bleach vs laundry bleach

Bleach is a cleaning product that can be used throughout the home, from the bathroom to the kitchen to the laundry.

However, I’m sure you are familiar with the disaster that an accidental bleach spill can cause to your clothing. So how do you know which bleach is safe for clothes and which is used for cleaning? Cleaning bleach vs. laundry bleach: what is the difference?

The main difference between cleaning bleach and laundry bleach is the active ingredients that make it safe or unsafe to use on all clothing items.

There are two main types of bleach, chlorine, and oxygen bleach, that can both be used for laundry and cleaning but only in certain circumstances.

In this article, we are going to get into the difference between cleaning bleach and laundry bleach and how each should be used to be the most effective.

Gomestic Fact: Chlorine bleach can be used in crafts to create a tie-dye effect by strategically bleach-dying an item of colored clothing. If you try this, be sure to use gloves to protect your skin.

Types of Bleach

So when it comes to household bleach, there are two main kinds, but they are not divided into cleaning bleach and laundry bleach but rather chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach.

Each of these forms can be used for multiple different applications. Let’s look a bit more closely at these two products and what they are best used for.

Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach is a powerful formula that works very effectively as a household cleaner. However, it is not just cleaning bleach.

This liquid bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, which, as well as being effective in cleaning, also functions as a powerful stain remover.

When used as household bleach, you can dilute your chlorine bleach according to the packaging and use it to clean surfaces, floors, and anything that might have becomes heavily soiled, like a toilet or bathtub.

Chlorine bleach can be used in laundry, but only in certain circumstances. Firstly, check the label to see if your fabric is chlorine bleach safe. Secondly, only use chlorine bleach on whites and never on colors or patterns. This is because it will remove the color from clothing.

When used on whites, chlorine bleach will make them bright and remove any stubborn stains.

Oxygen Bleach

In contrast with chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach is suitable for cleaning all clothing items, but you can also use it for household cleaning.

Oxygen bleach is also known as color-safe or all-fabric bleach because it is safe to use on all colors, fabrics, and patterns.

The active ingredient is oxygen bleach is sodium percarbonate, which is a powerful stain remover.

The bleach will break down into sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide when added to water. The latter is a color-safe stain remover that lets you rejuvenate your clothing without any of the color being removed.

This form of bleach doubles as a deodorizer for your clothing, but it can also be used for any everyday household cleaning.

DON’T MISS: Dry Cleaning Vs. Laundry

Cleaning Bleach vs. Laundry Bleach: What is the Difference?

Cleaning bleach and laundry bleach are very similar products but the main difference is that cleaning bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, and laundry bleach contains sodium percarbonate.

So now that we have got into the details of each of these forms of bleach let’s look at them side by side so we can directly compare them.

This table should give you a quick and easy-to-understand glance into the uses of these different types of bleach.

 Chlorine BleachOxygen Bleach
Suitable for LaundryOnly whites and certain fabricsAll colors and fabrics
Suitable for CleaningYesYes
Active IngredientSodium hypochloriteSodium percarbonate

Essentially, you can clean with chlorine bleach as well as use it on certain white fabrics to remove stubborn stains.

Oxygen bleach, on the other hand, is used primarily as laundry bleach for any type of fabric or color.

Both products need to be diluted to use safely due to their strength.

My tip is to make sure you are reading the labels on your clothes before using any form of bleach so you can avoid ruining your clothes.

You also need to be aware of accidentally mixing bleach with other chemicals or cleaners, as you need to be cautious of using bleach after cleaning with vinegar, or mixing bleach with Oxiclean.

Gomestic Fact: Oxygen bleach is a gentler alternative to chlorine bleach that is also biodegradable.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between disinfectant and bleach?

Bleach, as we have seen, is a chemical compound that is used to clean, whiten and remove stains.

Disinfectants are different forms of chemical compounds that are also clean, but it is not used for stain removal. Instead, it is used to kill microorganisms that are present on a surface.

Can I use an all-purpose cleaner with bleach on my clothes?

I do not recommend using an all-purpose cleaner on your clothes, especially not when combined with bleach.

Mixing bleach and all-purpose cleaner, especially those featuring ammonia or vinegar, can come together to create a dangerous gas like chloroform or chlorine gas that can be fatal.

This is why choosing cleaning items that are specially designed for their specific purposes is so important.

What is the best way to add bleach to your laundry?

I don’t recommend adding any form of bleach directly to your clothes, as this can lead to permanent staining regardless of which bleach you are using.

If your washing machine doesn’t have a bleach hopper, I recommend adding it at the same time and in the same place as your detergent before the clothes have been added to prevent accidents.


So, at the end of the day, bleach comes in various forms that have their own particular uses.

In summation, chlorine bleach is best for cleaning and stain removal for white clothing while oxygen bleach is best for general laundry.

Now, the next time you need to stock up on bleach, you can take this information and pick the right bleach for you with ease.

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