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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

What Does “Non-Chlorine Bleach Only” Mean?

By Dr. Laundry February 10, 2012

Q:  My white t-shirt tag recommends the use of non-chlorine bleach only. I have Clorox® Regular-Bleach, do I need Clorox2® instead?

A:  That’s good you are looking at the care label in your shirt! It should also contain information on what the shirt is made of, but sometimes that information is split onto two tags. One can be attached to a side seam and the other at the back of the neck, so you may need to look thoroughly.  I say this because you will want to check the fiber content to see if the shirt contains a small amount of spandex.  If it does, then you should not use Clorox® Regular-Bleach and should instead use Clorox2®.  That’s because spandex (along with wool, silk, mohair, and leather) should not be washed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach; its bleach active is sodium hypochlorite, and will break down the fiber/fabric.  Cotton, polyester, and cotton/poly blends, on the other hand, can be safely washed with Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Often a garment or textile manufacturer produces a single style in a variety of colors and puts the same tag on all of them regardless of their wash-ability.  The most amusing example to me is a white towel!