Hydrogen peroxide has eased the lives of many people. However, countless people worry about the damage it may impose on their laundry and are filled with endless queries regarding using hydrogen peroxide on their various fabrics and clothes.
This is an all-knowing guide that will leave you rushing to load a round of laundry once you understand the functionality of hydrogen peroxide as a bleach for your clothes.
Hydrogen Peroxide as an Alternative to Bleach for Your Laundry
Many assume that hydrogen peroxide and bleach are the same; however, this is not the case.
What is true is that both are chemical solutions, although bleach is far stronger than hydrogen peroxide- which is why hydrogen peroxide is often used for clothing that can’t handle bleach. Chlorine bleach is also far more dangerous than hydrogen peroxide.
Because of the many dangers of chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide has become well known as a common bleaching agent. Its consumption in the United States alone stretches out to 2.2 million tons, and I assure you a good percentage of this consumption is for laundry purposes.
What Is the Main Function of Bleach, and Does Hydrogen Peroxide Fulfill This?
The primary purpose of bleach is to remove stains. But what exactly counts as stains?
Stains are discolorations that often change the color and appearance of a fabric. These discolorations are caused by strongly colored substances, including ketchup, blood, wine, and juices (along with many more!)
Bleaches aim to remove these stains by discoloring them on the fiber or in solution.
This is achieved by the chemical degradation of chromophoric units present in colored soils. When this takes place, conjugated double bonds dissipate along with the colors. Polar groups are introduced, and large molecules are broken down to help ease stains off of the fabrics.
Oxidation with hydrogen peroxide bleaches result in three reactions:
- Bleaching of stains present within the fibers.
- Bleaching in a solution of stains that have been released from the fibers.
- Introduction and disintegration of the bleaching agent.
Simply speaking; all of the above translates into ‘Yes, hydrogen peroxide fulfills the main purpose of bleach which is removing stains.’
Does 3% Food-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach Clothes?
A 3% hydrogen peroxide can clean your clothes quite well. However, it won’t necessarily whiten or brighten them. To bleach your clothes, you will probably need 10% hydrogen peroxide or even higher.
The key is to start at 10% and slowly increase the concentration to see how your clothes and fabrics will react. You will soon come upon the concentration level that suits the fabric of your clothes.
However, do note that you can only experiment below a concentration level of 50%. This is because 50% hydrogen peroxide is said to damage fabrics.
Moreover, if your fabrics are delicate and are often damaged by chlorine bleach, it is better to use hydrogen peroxide of 3-10%.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Coloured Clothes?
Hydrogen peroxide removing stains from clothes is well and good. However, a cause of concern is whether it will also remove and bleach out the color of your clothes.
Hydrogen peroxide is an oxygen bleach that is usually considered safe for colored clothes. Moreover, many of the prominent color-safe bleaches also mainly consist of hydrogen peroxide.
If you are using hydrogen peroxide and the color of your fabrics is washing off, it is probably due to one of the three reasons-
- You are using a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide.
- You have left the hydrogen peroxide on the fabric for a long time.
- The dye of the fabric was not properly set.
If you were indeed using a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide, it is time that you learn to dilute the high concentration hydrogen peroxide with water before you use it. However, you always have the option to switch to lower concentrated hydrogen peroxide.
If you have been leaving the hydrogen peroxide to sit on the fabric for a long time, it is time to put on a timer and shorten this duration.
And lastly, if the problem has been with the fabric’s dye itself, the color would have bleached out even if you had used an alternative bleach, and hydrogen peroxide, therefore, has to be deemed innocent in this cold act of color draining.
How To Test Hydrogen Peroxide on Your Clothes
You’ll find quite a few warnings to test out hydrogen peroxide on an easily concealed part of your cloth before you continue with these processes.
The correct way to do so is by drenching a cotton swab in a bit of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing it on the hem or inside the seam of the cloth. If the swab comes off with some dye, you should not proceed with the process.
Will Hydrogen Peroxide Bleach Jeans?
Hydrogen peroxide is a viable option for bleaching jeans. If you aim to fade out the jeans so that they do not seem as new as they are, this will get the job done!
Moreover, any yellow tinges that your jeans had acquired will also be eliminated. Not only that, but hydrogen peroxide will also brighten your jeans, which is perfect for a faded jeans look.
The only drawback is that oxygen-based bleaches like hydrogen peroxide aren’t as quick as chlorine bleach at getting the bleaching done. So be patient and allow the solution time to work its magic.
Will Hydrogen Peroxide Stain Clothes?
As safe as hydrogen peroxide is for clothes, there are just some fibers that hydrogen peroxide can’t befriend.
Synthetic fibers don’t react very well with hydrogen peroxide and often result in a yellow tinge or stain. However, for natural fibers, hydrogen peroxide is just as functional as ever.
If you are washing synthetic clothes, you may have to use 3% hydrogen peroxide or test out your usual concentration on the cloth.
Does Hydrogen Peroxide Stain Black Clothes?
You need not worry because hydrogen peroxide does not usually stain black clothes.
If you do notice some stains after using hydrogen peroxide, it is probably because the fabric reacted badly to the solution or because the fabric contained chemicals that reacted with hydrogen peroxide.
For this reason, it is usually important to test out hydrogen peroxide on an unnoticeable part of your dark-colored clothing to see how it will react.
Therefore, hydrogen peroxide will not normally stain your dark-colored clothing. However, it will successfully remove stains. To remove stains from dark-colored clothing, you may want to use a 3% or slightly higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide.
How to Get Hydrogen Peroxide Out of Clothes
Assuming you’ve already ended up with a yellow-tinted fabric, this hack will help you get the hydrogen peroxide solution out of the cloth.
It will be in your favor if you immediately operate on the yellow shot wound that your shirt is carrying.
Firstly, you must dilute the yellow coloring by soaking it in water. Then pour some vinegar into a bowl, and grab a white cloth to dip into it. Next, dab this vinegar-saturated cloth onto the yellow coloration. Let the vinegar soak in for 5 minutes before rinsing your fabric.
Repeat these steps until your yellow stain is gone. Moreover, if you do not have vinegar handy, you can use dish soap or color removal as an alternative.
Why Hydrogen Peroxide is Perfect for Laundry
Now that all your possible queries have been answered, let’s dive into all that hydrogen peroxide can do for your laundry.
1. The Fabrics Go Brighter
Your bright-colored clothes may dim out over time from body soil or deodorant residue. These factors submerge into the fibers of your clothes, and the result is dulled-out fabric.
The good news is that it is possible to revive the fiery colors; all they need is a good wash with hydrogen peroxide.
Keep in mind that you must never add highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide to your colored clothes before you test out the reaction on the part of the cloth.
There are two preferable ways to approach. Firstly, you can pour 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide into your bleach dispenser if the function is present in your washing machine.
If it isn’t, you will have to dilute 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 2 cups of water before adding it to an empty washer drum. Then throw in the clothes, and continue your laundry washing process as you normally would.
2. All New Whites
It doesn’t take much for a new white cloth to lose its just-bought-it charm. The white fibers are very attractive to body soil, deodorant residues, leftover detergent residues, and runaway dyes from other fabrics.
This makes it harder to wash white clothes as compared to colored clothes. However, hydrogen peroxide performs its role well and delivers back all new whites.
The process is very similar to colored clothes; the only difference is you will not have to dilute the hydrogen peroxide.
Therefore, go on and throw in 3% hydrogen peroxide into the washer drum, add the water, and then the clothes before continuing your washing routine. You can also add the solution to your bleach dispenser if you have one present in your washer.
3. Stain Remover Solution
Stains come and go in life, and yes, they go with the help of hydrogen peroxide.
The endless types of stains include plant and protein-based stains, fruits and vegetables, blood, juices, mildew, dye transfer stains (and the list could go on for miles).
With so much damage being caused to clothes regularly, I’m sure you need a good bye-bye stains recipe. Again, remember to test out the solution on an unnoticeable part of your cloth first.
The process is quite simple, pour a decent amount of hydrogen peroxide onto the affected area. Then, wait 10 minutes before continuing to wash it as you normally would.
4. Removes Sweat Stains
There’s not much we can do to stop sweating, and especially if you live in a particularly tropical environment, sweat stains are unavoidable.
Pit stains are often the most aggressive, and they like to mark their territory. To claim your shirts back, all you need is a little DIY project.
Make a paste using equal quantities of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and water. Smother the stain with at least a ¼ inch layer and leave it to bathe for 30 to 60 minutes. The longer you leave it on, the better the results are.
After that, remove the layer and residue with a brush, and throw your shirt in the washer. It’ll emerge stain-free and fresh.
5. Odor Remover
Imagine the nightmare of wearing a clean shirt drenched in an odorous stink. Of course, hydrogen peroxide wouldn’t do that to you or your clothes.
If you have an item or two in particular that carries a nasty stench, you should mix ½ a cup of hydrogen peroxide with an adequate amount of water to fully soak the items. Allow them to remain submerged for 15-30 minutes and then off to the usual wash.
If there’s a whole load of items that need an odor-removal procedure, drop in all the clothes into the washer drum. Then, add a cup of hydrogen peroxide and leave it for an hour. Follow up with some detergent and a hot water wash.
6. Oil Stain Remover
Oil stains are known to be stubborn and tend to remain even after several washes. However, this process will get rid of your stain in one go.
The first step to tackling an oil stain is by placing a piece of cardboard under the affected area. This will stop the oil from soaking into the fabric beneath. Then proceed to dab the oil stain with a paper towel or cloth- this will extract any excess oil and make the process easier.
Now the process will require adding some products. However, do make sure to avoid mixing them altogether at once. It is important to add them one at a time to avoid any unnecessary and dangerous reactions.
Dilute the oil-stained area with hydrogen peroxide. Continue by adding a few drops of dish soap, and lastly add baking soda as the last layer.
Now pick up your toothbrush (or any scrub brush) and get scrubbing. Ensure that it creates a paste-like solution before leaving it to sit for half an hour. Afterward, throw the cloth into the washer and continue washing with cold water. Hot water could reverse any progress made, and so it is important to avoid it.
7. Cleans the Washer
A cherry on top is that your washer will be cleansed along with your clothes if you use hydrogen peroxide.
Washers often hone mold and mildew within them from the leftover detergent and fabric softener residue found within the cervices of the washers. These areas are usually the washer drums and rubber door seals. Because of this, the washer starts to give off a musty odor.
To get rid of this smell along with the mold and mildew, add 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide and run an empty cycle with hot water. Do this monthly disinfection ritual, and you’ll successfully avoid any traces of stink.
Hydro-Wash That Laundry
Using hydrogen peroxide is quite simple; the one thing to keep in mind is to avoid mixing hydrogen peroxide with any other cleaning supplies or chemicals.
These seven uses of hydrogen peroxide in your laundry are sure to send you into overdrive for laundry day.
Your timer just went off- time to load another hydro-cycle of laundry!