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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Bleach and Colored Clothing

By Dr. Laundry July 27, 2011

Q:  How much Clorox® Regular-Bleach should I use when it comes to colored clothes? And should I add my dark clothes before or after adding Clorox® Regular-Bleach to the water?

A:  To bleach colored items, it’s important to check their colorfastness to bleach first, and you can do this easily with this simple bleachability test: dilute 1 teaspoon Clorox® Regular-Bleach in ¼ cup water.  Apply a drop of this solution to a hidden part of the colored item (hems, cuffs, and inside seams work well).  Wait 1 minute, then blot dry.  No color change means the item can be safely bleached.  The correct amount to use for an average load is ¾ cup.

As far as when to add bleach, the main thing you want to avoid is having undiluted bleach accidentally contact your clothes.  This is important for white or bleach fast colored items.  So yes, adding bleach to the washer while it is filling, and before any of the load is added, is a great way to easily and safely add bleach.  It’s also good to swirl the agitator to mix the bleach in a little first before the load is added, and adding the load when the washer is about half-filled.  Also, using a measuring cup not only ensures that you are using the correct amount, but also helps prevent any spillage.

Do any readers use Clorox® Regular-Bleach on their colored clothing?