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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Clorox® UltimateCare® Bleach Use in HE Machines

By Dr. Laundry November 9, 2010

Q. I recently purchased a front-loading, high efficiency washing machine, and I’m wondering if I can use Clorox® UltimateCare® Bleach in this machine.

(Two options I’ve tried without good results – adding UltimateCare® to the laundry dispenser as you would Clorox 2, and diluting UltimateCare® in water – 1 part water, 1 part UltimateCare® – and pouring it into bleach dispenser.)

If it’s not recommended to use UltimateCare® in an HE machine, any suggestions on getting whites their whitest in an HE machine while being gentle to fabrics?

A. You can definitely use Clorox® UltimateCare® Bleach in your HE washer, and should use the bleach dispenser, not the detergent dispenser. You don’t need to dilute it first before adding it to the bleach dispenser; add a capful (¾ cup or whatever the maximum capacity of the dispenser is) to the dispenser and select an extra rinse cycle. Also, because Clorox® UltimateCare® Bleach has a slightly lower bleach active level than Clorox Regular-Bleach, you can safely pretreat white bleachable items directly, like the heels of socks or a wine stain on a white tablecloth, and then wash immediately.

Something else to consider is reducing the size and soil level of the loads you are washing, and here’s why. For all the many benefits of using an HE washer (water and energy savings, gentle fabric care, ease of washing bulky items) there are some drawbacks, most notably that all the dirt coming off the load is suspended in a much smaller amount of water, so the bleach active breaks down more quickly. Also, you are dependent on the capacity of the bleach dispenser as far as how much bleach you can add. Where you used to be able to add more bleach for a super large or heavily soiled load, now you can’t, so you need to adjust load size. I love my HE washer; I’ve had it for 13 years and I do wash smaller loads when the items are super dirty, like after a camping trip. I hope this is helpful, and if you have any other questions, please contact me.