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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Bleach and Hot Water

By Dr. Laundry February 18, 2011

Q. Does Clorox® bleach evaporate in hot water? The fumes are tremendous (even with good ventilation) when I wash a large load of whites in hot water and 3/4 cup of regular Clorox bleach. I’m thinking of washing my whites in warm water instead.

A. Clorox® Regular-Bleach is mostly water: it is 6-7% active ingredients (i.e. sodium hypochlorite, sodium chloride, sodium carbonate, caustic, a special polymer to tie up metals) and the rest (about 93%) is water.
So whether you select a hot, warm, or cold cycle, the bleach active isn’t evaporating, but it is reacting with the soils, stains, and bacteria in your wash load. The “characteristic chlorine odor” of Clorox® Regular-Bleach is appealing to many people. That said, there are those who are more sensitive to the smell and find it irritating or offensive. We do have a line of scented bleaches with some really great fragrances: Lemon Fresh, Clean Linen, Lavender, and Fresh Meadow. Hopefully one of the fragranced bleaches will make your bleach loads more pleasant to wash. Also, making sure bleach dispenser lid and/or clothes washer lid are fully closed is helpful in reducing the smell.