How to Neutralize Bleach on Clothes

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Many people use bleach to whiten white clothes and make them brighter. Although the rinse cycle should neutralize bleach in clothes, it may be necessary to take an additional step to ensure there aren't any traces of bleach left in the clothing.

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Sometimes neutralizing bleach on garments is important for a craft or fabric project to create cool effects. Bleach can damage fabrics if too much is used and/or if traces stay in the fabric, though, because the bleach slowly eats away at the fabric.

Wondering what neutralizes bleach on clothing? A typical household product, hydrogen peroxide, can be used to neutralize bleach.

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How to Neutralize Bleach on Clothes

To ensure that bleach has been removed sufficiently from garments or for decorative-clothing or craft purposes, you can mix hydrogen peroxide and water together to create a solution to rinse and neutralize the bleach. Hydrogen peroxide will stop the effects of sodium hypochlorite, an active ingredient in chlorine bleach, and neutralize it.

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1. Protect Yourself

Before you begin, it's important to wear gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes.

2. Make a Solution

Fill a plastic bucket or container with a gallon of warm water. Then add 1 cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Or create a solution that is 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 10 parts water.

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Warning

Vinegar is often mentioned as an option to neutralize bleach, but this isn’t true. Never mix bleach with vinegar or another acidic liquid as this can be a dangerous combination. Vinegar brings out the hypochlorite in bleach, which can produce a toxic chlorine gas that can be deadly.

3. Soak Clothes

Let the clothing soak for around 10 minutes in the hydrogen peroxide solution.

4. Rewash the Garments

After soaking, place the garments in the washer and run as a normal load of laundry to rinse and wash out the neutralizing solution.

If you prefer to not make your own solution to neutralize bleach, there are commercial bleach-neutralizing products available for use on clothing, carpeting, or other items that bleach may potentially damage.

After the final wash, there is no need for concern that any bleach or peroxide still remains in the clothing as it will all be washed out.

Warning

Make sure to wash garments that have been treated with hydrogen peroxide on their own since it can have a fading or bleaching effect on fabrics that aren’t colorfast.

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