Pointers For Safely Using Bleach To Whiten Your Whites

Using bleach to whiten your whites is a commonly used laundry hack — and for a good reason! It is inexpensive, simple to use, and leaves your whites radiant. However, certain precautions must be taken when using bleach to wash your laundry because it's a potent chemical that can negatively impact your health if mishandled. In fact, this agent is caustic; it can burn or irritate anything it comes in direct contact with, including your skin and eyes (via Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety). Exposure to bleach fumes can also affect your respiratory system.

Despite the dangers of bleach, there are many ways you can stay safe while using it to keep your whites bright. From ensuring you avoid direct contact to not mixing it with other chemicals, knowing a few safe use approaches can keep you and your family in good health. Keep reading for a few pointers to help you safely use bleach on laundry day.

Avoid direct contact

As mentioned, bleach is corrosive, irritating, or burning your skin or eyes when coming in contact with it. However, Central Alabama Wellness suggests that it can affect your body in many different ways as well. For example, if it gets in your eyes, it can make them red, teary, and blurry. So, when washing your whites with bleach, consider wearing a long-sleeve shirt and gloves.

Central Alabama Wellness also mentions that there are different protocols to follow when someone is exposed to this powerful agent. For instance, you may just need to lather your skin with a bar of mild soap and rinse with cool water to ease irritation. On the other hand, it's important to seek medical assistance if you get bleach into your eyes. Central Alabama Wellness recommends calling Poison Control immediately at 1-800-222-1222 if you or a loved one ingested bleach by accident. They will help you determine the next steps to get it out of the system.

Don't mix different chemicals with it

On its own, bleach is a powerful cleaning agent that can be used to safely and effectively keep whites bright. However, it can release deadly fumes into the air you breathe when mixed with other chemicals, including ammonia and acids (via Utah Department of Health). These dangerous fumes can lead to irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, shortness of breath, pneumonia, and more. While ammonia is a cleaning chemical sold on its own, it's also found in household glass and window cleaners like the popular Windex. Examples of acids include vinegar, toilet bowl cleaners, lime removal products, and drain cleaning products.

Fortunately, bleach is safe to use with laundry products that don't contain ammonia or are acidic. In many cases, the bleach you use will provide laundry instructions to ensure you pour the appropriate amount to maintain the whiteness of your garments. It's helpful to have a measuring cup for this purpose. Keep in mind that there are many alternatives if you want to brighten your whites without bleach. For instance, you can use vinegar for your laundry.