Finding Sanity, laundry part 5, bleaching
Anyway, we’re back talking about laundry, something I’ve come to kinda like, and today we’re bleaching.
Bleach is one of those things I have mixed feelings about. I don’t like to use it but the results are amazing – I love the look of freshly bleached white dish clothes all folded and stacked up.
As I said in a previously written post, all my kitchen dish towels are white. We have large ones for drying, and smaller washcloths for washing the dishes. Because they’re all white I can bleach them when they start looking cruddy. I don’t use bleach for much other laundering, and if I do need to bleach a shirt or something I’ll usually save it until I bleach my dish cloths, which is about once a month or so.
Bleaching works best when the items you’re whitening are already clean. However, because I bleach all our cloths at once I usually have a freshly used cloth in the mix.
When I’m ready to bleach I fill either a 2 1/2 gallon bucket or my sink with warm water then I add 1/3 cup bleach. I collect up all the white cloths I can find, pulling the clean folded ones right out of the drawer, and I carefully put them all in the bleach water. As you may already know, bleach will discolor your clothes in a heart beat so be very careful when working with this chemical.
I usually let this sit for an hour. I know that may sound like a crazy amount of time but it’s the way I do it. I get the cleanest looking cloths this way. However, I’ve found that anything over an hour is overkill and doesn’t make any more difference in the look of my cloths.
When an hour is up I wash my cloths on the hot setting with a small amount of detergent, and hang them on the line in the sun to dry. The sun often bleaches out any stains the chlorine bleach missed.
And that’s it.
Oh yeah, I still have to fold them and put them in the drawer.
This process not only de-stains my cloths but it also gets any of that lingering dish cloth stink completely out, fully disinfects, and leaves them as white as they’re gonna get.
On cloth bleach day I also take some time to evaluate our dish cloth needs. If any are just really nasty or have holes I’ll make a note of it and add new dish cloths to the grocery list. They aren’t expensive if you get them from the auto section at Walmart. They have big packs of utility cloths for a relatively low price. My husband gets the old cloths for his garage stuff, which it appears he never has enough of, and I get to put fresh ones in the drawer in the kitchen. Win-win!
Other things to think about when chlorine bleaching -
- Be careful with your hands. Bleach will dry them out very quickly.
- Always bleach in a well ventilated area. Chlorine bleach fumes can be dangerous if you’re not careful.
- Ammonia and Chlorine bleach DO NOT MIX. Be very careful about mixing chemicals. Chlorine bleach mixed with some chemicals can make you very sick very quickly.
- Make sure to read your labels. Chlorine bleach can ruin a nice shirt if you don’t pay attention.
- A bleach spot isn’t a stain. You’ll never get a bleach spot out. Ever. Be careful.
- Tell your kids what you’re doing and warn them to stay away from the bleach.
- Never leave your bleaching supplies within reach of little ones and always train your littles to not touch (we call this house-proofing your children).
- Try the sharpie method before tossing ruined clothes. While you can’t get a bleach spot out, you may be able to cover it with a matching sharpie. I’ve done this before and it has worked well in some instances, and not so well in others. It never hurts to try.
- Bleach does break down the fibers in fabrics. I bleach my terry cloth kitchen towels for an hour because I know they’re easily replaceable. I wouldn’t suggest this method for your favorite t-shirt.
There are other ways to bleach things, too, that don’t call for harsh chemicals. Although I find the results less satisfying, if you only have a little staining you can simply try replacing the bleach with baking soda. Then, when you go to wash, add 1/4 cup lemon juice to your washer. Both the baking soda and lemon juice act as bleaching agents. The baking soda also deodorizes. This option is great on towels that you want to keep fluffy, or clothes that could be easily ruined by chlorine bleach.
Do you have a special bleaching system? I’d love to hear how you keep your whites white.
Also, I’m thinking of going with all white sheets for our beds (not including the comforters) and I would love any opinions on this. I really think I’d like the uniformed nature of it, but is this too sterile?
Filed under: Uncategorized
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!