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Bleach vs. Hydrogen Peroxide

Bleach vs. Hydrogen Peroxide: Which Whitens Better?

When whites aren't as white as they should be, most reach for bleach to brighten and refresh clothes. But bleach is harsh on fabrics — and can leave unwanted stains on others. Many claim hydrogen peroxide does just as good of a job and is a wonderfully eco-friendly option. We pitted the two against each other with two dingy-white cotton t-shirts as our test subjects.

The Competition

We placed one cup of bleach with six cups warm water in one bowl and one cup hydrogen peroxide and six cups warm water in another bowl. A white cotton tee was submerged in each bowl and left to soak for one hour.

Wash Time!

Neither shirt looked much different after soaking, so we gave each a few squeezes to make sure the water had completely saturated the tees. Then off to the washing machine for a regular wash with laundry detergent.

The Results

It was actually a close call, but bleach was the big winner on the brightening front when it came to these two dingy tees. The hydrogen peroxide did a great job of lightening the shirt, but a bit of yellowing still remained. The shirt soaked in bleach looked fresh and clean after washing, clinching its win.

Remember, bleach is harmful if ingested or if it comes in contact with your eyes. It's a good idea to wear gloves and eye protection when cleaning with bleach — even in diluted amounts.

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