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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Adding Bleach to Rinse Water

By Dr. Laundry November 18, 2011

Q:  Can I add bleach to the rinse cycle?

A: The short answer:  it depends!  If your clothes washer is a traditional top loading deep-fill washer with one rinse cycle, then no, you do not want to add bleach to the rinse cycle because there will be residual bleach left over that could cause dye damage in the next load.  However, if you have a HE washer that has multiple rinse cycles, then you can add bleach to the first rinse cycle.  In that case, 1/3 – 1/2 cup is a good amount to add, and I do this occasionally for heavily soiled loads in my HE washer.  It’s a great way to get a little extra bleach (in addition to the 3/4 cup added to the wash cycle) into the machine for added cleaning. However, make sure there are at least 2 rinses in a HE washer following any bleach addition. 

Do any readers currently add a little extra bleach during the rinse cycle?