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What is Bleach?
The Bleach Cycle
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The Bleach Makers
What is Bleach?

Clorox liquid bleach is sodium hypochlorite at a 5.25 percent strength in a water-based solution. Sodium hypochlorite is one of those rare products in which most of it comes from a single compound–in this case salt water–and then after use reverts back to that same compound (see Bleach Cycle). Sodium hypochlorite is manufactured by mixing chlorine with sodium hydroxide and water. Following testing to ensure proper strength and filtering to remove any impurities, the sodium hypochlorite bleach is bottled.

Except for quality control improvements, Clorox bleach remains unchanged since its introduction to American consumers in 1916.

The objective of washing clothes is to remove soil, stains, bacteria and odors from fabrics. When bleach comes into contact with large, chain-linked soil molecules, it breaks them down into smaller units. These units have a harder time sticking to clothes. The combination of bleach, detergent and the washing machine's mechanical action work together to remove soils.

In household cleaning, sodium hypochlorite bleach works the same way, as it kills mold and mildew, and removes stains from porcelain sinks, toilets, tubs and Formica without scratching surfaces.

By reacting with stains and soils in the wash, bleach breaks down to become primarily salt water. Any remaining bleach goes down the drain into either the local sewer system or septic tank and reacts with wastewater components–dirt and other inorganic materials–and is completely deactivated before it's released into any waterway.

Sodium hypochlorite bleach does not contain or generate chlorine gas when used by itself or when used as directed with other products. Formation of chlorine gas can occur only if sodium hypochlorite bleach is mixed with acids, such as acidic toilet bowl cleaners. A strong warning statement covering this type of misuse is clearly stated on Clorox bleach labels.


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