Peroxide and Clothing Laundry Facts

Washing and drying laundry can be an expensive process, with the goal being to get the cleanest and brightest laundry for as little cost as possible.

One way to decrease the cost of washing laundry is to use hydrogen peroxide in the cleaning process.

Hydrogen peroxide is a good choice over chlorine bleach for several reasons. First, hydrogen peroxide is less expensive than chlorine bleach. Often it can purchased for as little as 50 cents per bottle, and a little goes a long way. A very small amount of peroxide is required per load. Second, the smell of hydrogen peroxide is not as strong as chlorine bleach. For people who don't like the smell of bleach, hydrogen peroxide will not leave laundry smelling less than desirable. Lastly, hydrogen peroxide is a natural compound and is not toxic in small amounts, whereas bleach is a man-made formula.

What is hydrogen peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizer comprised of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. It's a natural compound made from sunlight and water. Hydrogen peroxide must be kept in a dark container and not be exposed to light, in order to keep its strength and effectiveness. The hydrogen peroxide used in homes usually comes in a dark brown container with a white lid. The bottle is easily recognizable on store shelves. The hydrogen peroxide sold to households is a 3-percent formula. This formula is safe for household use and is acceptable for laundry.

Using hydrogen peroxide in laundry

Hydrogen peroxide is safe for white and light laundry. It should not be used on dark or brightly colored items, as it could fade colors.

To use hydrogen peroxide, put your white and light laundry in the washer as usual. Measure about one-half cup hydrogen peroxide and place it in the bleach cup of your washing machine. If your machine does not have a bleach cup, allow the water to fill the machine and then pour the hydrogen peroxide in the water in the machine. Try not to place the peroxide directly on the clothes. Place laundry soap in your machine and run as usual.

Hydrogen peroxide as a stain remover

Hydrogen peroxide can also be used as an effective stain remover. Use the 3-percent solution, and keep the compound in its original bottle so it does not lose its effectiveness. Place a sprayer nozzle on the top of the bottle. (You can use a recycled nozzle from an old cleaning bottle, although you may have to clip the length to fit the peroxide bottle.) Spray the hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain and rub the clothing gently. Let sit for approximately 30 minutes and wash as usual. For clothes that are particularly dirty, you can soak clothing in a bucket of one-half cup peroxide and water for 30 minutes before washing. (A strong oxidizer, hydrogen peroxide can remove tough stains such as blood. It also is effective in cleaning cloth diapers.)

The result? Hydrogen peroxide will oxidize and brighten clothes, as well as serve as a disinfectant for laundry. As an added bonus, hydrogen peroxide will help keep your washing machine clean.

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