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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Removing Crystallized Bleach

By Dr. Laundry April 6, 2010

Q. Our washing machine has a special port for liquid bleach. Unknown to us, the plastic port cracked, allowing some bleach to enter the housing of the washing machine. Over time, this bleach has rusted portions of the machines housing, as well as crystallizing within the machines. We did not spot the problem until some of the bleach began leaking on the floor.

We are trying to clean the crystallized bleach off of the housing. It appears that copious amounts of water may be a solution to removing the bleach, but some of it is in hard to reach places. We are also in a confined space.

What would be the best method to remove the crystallized bleach and to stop the corrosion process?

A. This is a very unusual one. A couple of suggestions:


  • Make sure that you have the port that cracked replaced and the portions that you believed were corroded cleaned and inspected to prevent future damage.

  • When the liquid bleach active, sodium hypochlorite, reacts it forms mostly salt and water. I suspect that the crystals are salt and would be similar to those you would observe if some product spilled and dried on the outside of the bottle. You are probably on the right track as salt will dissolve with a large quantity of water. To speed the process, you might use warm water as it will dissolve more salt than cool water. Not sure how to get to those hard to reach places, but any way to use warmer water and maybe some pressure should help speed the process.