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Oxygen Bleach: What Is It & How to Use in In Your Washing Machine

Unsure about oxygen bleach? This article tells you all you need to know – including what oxygen bleach is, what it can be used for, & how to use it in the wash


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

Person using oxygen bleach - learn how to use it on Cleanipedia

Oxygen bleach is a cleaning agent that can be particularly effective in tackling stains and brightening clothes in the laundry. Eco-friendly and safe to use for a variety of tasks, oxygen bleach is a staple of many a household cleaning cupboard. But what exactly is it made of and how can it be used in your wash cycle?

Oxygen bleach can be used alongside your normal washing detergent – (we like Breeze with ActivBleach) – and is also useful for other household cleaning tasks, such as washing wooden decking. Always check the manufacturer’s directions before using on a new surface, and test the product on a small area first.

What is Oxygen Bleach?

  • Oxygen bleach is the common term for sodium percarbonate, a compound of natural soda crystals and hydrogen peroxide.

  • Oxygen bleach for washing machines is widely available in detergents and other cleaning products, and comes in a solid, powder-like form, usually diluted in water before use.

  • Once oxygen bleach comes in contact with water, a chemical reaction occurs and the substance releases oxygen.

  • Oxygen bleach is often used in stain removal, as the oxygen bubbles help to break down dirt, odours, and germs.

  • Oxygen bleach powder is considered environmentally friendly, as the only by-product is soda ash – a non-toxic substance, safe for the water supply.

How Do You Wash Clothes With Bleach?

Oxygen bleach is best for tackling organic stains on clothing, such as food and drink, grass, dirt, and bodily fluids. Though it can reduce the appearance of grease and synthetic stains, it may not always remove them completely.

How to Use Oxygen Bleach as a Pre-Wash Treatment:

  1. Mix one to two tablespoons in a gallon of water.

  2. Leave stained items to soak for up to an hour.

  3. Tough or old stains can be soaked overnight, or treated with an additional two tablespoons of oxygen bleach in the pre-wash solution.

Person putting oxygen bleach powder into a bucket
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How to Use Oxygen Bleach for Washing Clothes

Oxygen bleach powder can also be used as a brightening agent.

  • Add a tablespoon or scoop to your wash along with your normal detergent – we recommend Breeze ActivBleach for its stain removal power.

  • Be sure to refer to the product’s instructions.

  • Oxygen bleach should not be used on delicate fabrics like silk or wool.

What’s the Difference Between Chlorine Bleach and Oxygen Bleach?

  • Chlorine bleach is a liquid product mainly composed of sodium hypochlorite.

  • Chlorine bleach is an effective disinfectant that can also be used in the treatment of stubborn stains and various other jobs around the home.

  • Chlorine bleach is a much more corrosive substance than oxygen bleach and should be handled with care and kept away from children.

Important differences to remember:

  • Oxygen bleach is safer to use on coloured fabrics than chlorine bleach.

  • Oxygen bleach powder can be mixed with other detergents, but it is not safe to do this with chlorine bleach.

How Else Can I Use Oxygen Bleach?

Oxygen bleach is a versatile product and can also be used on a variety of materials from plastic to wood. It’s often employed in household tasks – for example, for sanitising tools, or cleaning bins and pet litter trays. Remember to always test applications of oxygen bleach on a small area first, and consult the manufacturer’s instructions for detailed information on where and how you can use their product.

Oxygen bleach really is a versatile product once you know how to use it. This simple guide is a great way to get more out of this household staple – why not give it a try?

  • Use oxygen bleach for washing clothes with stains – it breaks down dirt, odours and germs.

  • Oxygen bleach should not be used on delicate fabrics.

  • There are important differences between oxygen bleach and chlorine bleach that you should be aware of.

Frequently asked questions on using bleach in the laundry

Can you use bleach to clean a washing machine?

While you can use bleach to clean your washing machine you should always do so with care. If you want to clean your washing machine with bleach, we recommend using 60ml of bleach in the detergent drawer and run a hot wash followed by an extra rinse cycle. The extra rinse cycle will clean out any residual bleach in order to ensure it doesn’t adversely affect your next laundry wash.

Does oxygen bleach remove color from clothes?

Oxygen bleach should not remove color. It is also known as ‘all fabric bleach’, and it is a product designed to remove stains and brighten fabrics of all different types. From whites to colors, oxygen bleach should be an easy and safe choice for you.

Does oxygen bleach stain clothes?

Oxygen bleach is a safe product to use on most fabrics. It should not cause any damage – including stains – however you should never use it on very delicate fabrics such as silk and wool.

Where do you add bleach in washing machine?

If you’re wondering where to add bleach in a washing machine, we’ve got you covered. Chlorine bleach should never be poured directly onto your clothing, so instead place it into the detergent drawer in the main wash section or, if your machine has one, the bleach dispenser. If you do not have a drawer or dispenser wait until your machine has finished filling and add the bleach once it is full as this will dilute the bleach slightly and not place it straight onto your laundry.

Originally published