What is Oxygen Bleach?: Laundry Tips

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For today’s installment of Laundry University, I get to talk about one of my favorite laundry products: oxygen bleach powder. Seriously. This product is definitely an MVP for laundry, and it also has so many other great household uses. But I’m getting ahead of myself!

I wrote the article Oxygen Bleach: The Effective and Safe Alternative way back in 2011. Since then, it has stayed a staple of my laundry routine, so I want to share this great product plus my laundry tips with you in an updated article. Keep reading to learn about chlorine bleach vs. oxygen bleach, what is oxygen bleach, and more laundry tips!

Oxygen Bleach: Not Your Mother’s Bleach!

Traditional bleach is what we refer to as chlorine bleach. It uses sodium hypochlorite—a highly toxic substance—as an oxidizer to break chemical bonds and release stain-causing substances. 

Many of us grew up in homes where chlorine bleach was the standard, not only for whitening laundry but for cleaning just about everything. Unfortunately, chlorine bleach is less than ideal for a few reasons. First of all, it’s highly toxic! Second of all, it can actually damage clothing. 

I remember when I was a kid, once in a while, I’d go to put on a dark-colored shirt, and there would be a weird ugly orange splotch on it. At the time, these splotches were a total mystery. But now I know it was from chlorine bleach. This is because the shirt’s color had been literally bleached out, either from an errant spill in the laundry room or just from overuse.

As it turns out, chlorine bleach—though effective in many applications—is tricky to use properly. It has to be diluted just so it has to be added at just the right moment during the wash cycle. Plus, depending on the makeup of the fabric of your garment, it can (ironically) yellow some white fabrics. 

It’s just a bummer to use—it can burn your skin, its fumes can burn your nose and throat just by breathing them, and it can release toxic fumes if mixed with other cleaning agents, such as ammonia. The way I see it, chlorine bleach is just too difficult to use, and it’s high time for an alternative. Enter, oxygen bleach.

The New Bleach in Town

Unlike traditional bleach, oxygen bleach uses much gentler sodium percarbonate to get the job done. When mixed with water, the simple contents break down to hydrogen peroxide—essentially water and oxygen plus sodium carbonate or soda ash.

This amazing product contains no phosphorous or nitrogen, making it a perfect eco-friendly choice. It is odorless and colorless and comes in both a liquid and powder form. 

Oxygen bleach is safe to use on most fabrics except for a few very delicate ones like silk and wool. And it’s much gentler on your skin, although some people still prefer wearing rubber gloves when using. 

While there are a ton of oxygen bleach products out there, a Clean My Space favorite is Biokleen Oxygen Bleach. Biokleen Oxygen Bleach contains fabric and water conditioners and special detergent boosters to fight stubborn stains. Plus, it’s eco-friendly, Amazon Climate Pledge friendly, cruelty-free, and made in the U.S. What more could you ask for?!

Another CMS oxygen bleach favorite is Oxi-Clean. Oxi-Clean is amazing in and out of the laundry room. We even have a whole article on 15 Clever Uses For OxiClean Outside the Laundry Room! So be sure to check that out to maximize your cleaning product!

melissa maker oxiclean

Oxygen Bleach & Laundry Tips

Oxygen bleach works wonders on laundry; it whitens whites and brightens colors. It’s great at removing those tougher stains (think: wine, grease, blood) without harming the material or surface—but be sure to test it on a hidden area first! 

While oxygen bleach is safe on most fabrics, it’s always a good idea to spot test a small hidden area. I recommend this with almost any new laundry product. It takes a little more time, but it will stop you from ruining that new dress you just bought!

I also love oxygen bleach as a pre-treater for stains—just whip up a batch (according to the instructions) and soak the garment before washing. You can even find oxygen-bleach stain sticks, which are a must in any laundry room (and your bag or purse too). Remember, sodium percarbonate will not break down grime, so you’ll need to use it in conjunction with your regular laundry detergent.

Other Uses for Oxygen Bleach

Once you’re hooked, you’ll find that oxygen bleach is good for so many other household cleaning tasks other than laundry. I use oxygen bleach to clean my cleaning cloths and tools, such as brushes, sponges, and mop heads. 

Other great uses for this product include cleaning decks and siding, diaper pails, and cloth diapers, and it works great as a stain remover for carpets and upholstery (read The Ultimate Stain Removal Guide). I also soak toothbrushes, toilet brushes, and plungers in a hot oxygen bleach solution to sanitize them (separately, of course!). 

Once you start using oxygen bleach around the house, you’ll find that the uses for it are nearly limitless. I don’t even keep chlorine bleach in the house anymore, and I doubt you will either.

Laundry Tips With Oxygen Bleach

If you haven’t started using oxygen bleach in your laundry routine yet, this is your sign! At Clean My Space, we love having cleaning products that work hard, so we don’t have to. If you have more tips and tricks with oxygen bleach, let us know in the comments. 

And if you’re looking for more laundry hacks, read 5 Annoying Laundry Problems Solved! And Smelly Washing? Here’s How to Easily Fix Stinky Laundry!. I hope I just made your laundry day a whole lot easier. 

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases on amazon.com.
Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

18 COMMENTS

  1. If you mix a oxygen bleach solution in hot water and wait for it to cool and put in a spray bottle will it still disinfect?

    • Oxiclean is a brand of oxygen bleach found extensively throughout Canada and the US. Unfortunately, oxygen bleach isn’t really something you can DIY.

  2. We used to have Oxygen bleach here in England and it did not take the colour out if you used it on clothes. I am a compulsive bleach freak, so really loved it, as I was always spilling bleach down myself and ruining clothes. However, my happiness was short lived, as about six months down the line, they stopped selling it for some reason.

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