Bleach – it brightens the white color and removes stains. It cleans, disinfects and makes your white teeth whiter than white. Then we can wash that dirty white polyester shirt, right? And there’s nothing wrong with dipping those yellow polyester curtains in a bucket of bleach, is there? Maybe I will. Bleach can be used on some fabrics, but is not necessarily the best treatment for polyester. But for every problem there is a solution. While traditional bleaches should not go near polyester, there are many safe alternatives you can use to bleach these stains and freshen up your polyester clothing. If you’ve ever been tempted to go to the beach to get rid of those pesky stains, here’s what you need to bleach polyester properly.
Why polyester should not be bleached
Polyester is a synthetic material with many good properties. It is soft, crease-resistant and colourfast. That’s why he’s so popular. Even people who swear by high-quality organic cotton and silk are probably hiding at least a few pieces of polyester in their wardrobe. But despite all its advantages, polyester has a fundamental disadvantage. It’s tricky. When exposed to an aggressive product like bleach, it can wilt under the effect of all these toxic chemicals. If bleach is added to the wash cycle, the polyester fibres of the garment may become brittle or shrink. They may even burn or suffer other irreparable damage.
Even if the garment survives without shrinking and burning, the bleach will likely do little to change the color. Although most people think of bleach (for obvious reasons), it has less of a bleaching effect on polyester than a yellowing effect. Instead of shiny and new, your bleached polyester will probably look shabby and yellow. If the care label on your clothes says Do not wash, you should not wash your clothes. They don’t add these labels for fun. But we now face a dilemma. If we can’t bleach our dirty polyester products, how do we get rid of ugly stains and imperfections? You’re throwing them away? Turn them into a vacuum cleaner? It can, but fortunately there is a way to safely bleach these stains without causing damage. How? With a little thing called bleach.
Benefits of oxygen bleaching
Normal bleach is absolutely not suitable for your polyester garments. Bleach, which you have in your home, is a safe and effective cleaning agent that makes polyester look like new again. But what exactly? As Cleanapedia explains, bleach is a common name for sodium percarbonate, a compound of natural sodium crystals and hydrogen peroxide. It is a common ingredient in detergents and other cleaning products. It comes in the form of a solid powder, which is usually diluted with water before use. As soon as the bleach comes into contact with the water, a chemical reaction occurs in which oxygen bubbles are released. These bubbles work quickly and effectively to clean, break down dirt, remove odors and kill bacteria. Since the only by-product released is sodium carbonate (a non-toxic substance that does absolutely no harm to humans or animals when released into the water), it is considered one of the most environmentally friendly cleaners available. Fortunately, it is also one of the most effective, if not one of the safest, for delicate fabrics. While bleach is generally not recommended for silk or wool, it can be safely used for cotton, acrylic, bamboo, lycra, spandex, leather and, yes, even polyester.
How to make oxygen bleach
Oxygen bleach is commercially available. But what’s the fun of buying something when you can do it yourself for a fraction of the cost? As Hunker explains, bleach can be produced by one of two simple methods
- Oxygen Cleaner Recipe – This recipe provides a stain remover that helps remove shredded dirt and sweat stains from clothes. It can be formulated in small amounts or you can double the ingredients if you want to use it to clean large areas. To make it, combine 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part baking soda and 2 parts hot water.
- Oxygen bleach and baking soda recipe – If your polyester is very dirty, the above recipe alone will not remove the dirt. For a more intensive cleaning, combine 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part baking soda and 1 part hot water. Store in an opaque container and shake well before use.
For bleaching polyester with commercial bleach
If you have invested in a bottle of commercial bleach, you can use it here to deodorize, clean and remove stains from polyester clothing.
- Step 1 – Prepare the bleach solution according to the label on the package. For light stains, generally use 1/2 cup of powder per gallon of water. For heavy soiling, increase this amount to 1 cup of powder per gallon of water.
- Step 2 – Soak the clothes in the solution for one hour. At the end of the time limit, remove the garment and check for stains. If any residue remains, place the fabric back in the solution and let it soak for a few more hours. If necessary, the fabric can be left overnight so that it does not get wet without adverse effects.
- Step 3 – Finally, run the garment through the hottest fabric in the washing machine. Add a cup of bleach to the water for extra brightening.
Alternatives to oxygen bleaching
If you don’t have a bottle of bleach on hand, below are all the safe alternatives that can be used for polyester.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda is cheap and available everywhere. And the best part: It cleans polyester safely and effectively. Simply add a cup of powder to each load of laundry to lighten whites and remove stains without damaging the fabric.
- Borax – Borax is a safe and non-toxic ingredient that can help lighten fabrics without the use of harsh chemicals. Add 1 cup of borax per load of laundry. If the stains are particularly stubborn, you can try soaking the garment in a solution of one gallon of water to one cup of borax for up to an hour before washing it in the usual way.
frequently asked questions
Can 100% polyester be bleached?
To repair soiled shirts, you can try several things. White 100% polyester shirts can be washed with Clorox(r) Regular bleach, and you can start with a pre-wash program. Add 3 tablespoons of plain Clorox Bleach2 to 1 gallon of cold water and stir.
Has the polyester been bleached?
When dyeing with bleach, it is important that the clothes are mainly made of cotton. Bleach reacts badly with polyester and silk blends, but it does make them lighter.
How can I bleach polyester?
Wash polyester in hot water with 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup dish soap. Vinegar safely whitens, softens and disinfects polyester clothing.
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