Can You Put Bleach in the Washing Machine


Doing laundry is a routine task for many, and we often rely on laundry products to ensure our clothes come out clean and fresh. One common laundry additive is bleach, which is prized for its ability to remove tough stains and disinfect clothing. But can you put bleach in the washing machine? In this article, we’ll explore the safe and effective use of bleach in your washing machine, offering tips and guidelines to achieve the best results while preserving the longevity of your clothing and appliance.

Using Bleach Safely in the Washing Machine

Check the Label of Your Clothing:

Before adding bleach to your washing machine, check the care label on your clothing. Some fabrics are sensitive to bleach and can become damaged or discolored when exposed to it. If the label advises against the use of bleach, avoid using it with those items.

Select the Right Type of Bleach:

There are two main types of bleach: chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach. Chlorine bleach is stronger but can be harsh on certain fabrics. Oxygen bleach is gentler and suitable for most clothing. Make sure you choose the appropriate bleach for your needs.

Use Bleach Sparingly:

Bleach is a potent cleaner, and you don’t need to use much of it. Follow the instructions on the bleach container for the recommended amount to add per load. Overusing bleach can weaken fabrics and lead to premature wear and tear.

Dilute the Bleach:

It’s a good practice to dilute bleach before adding it to your washing machine. Mix the bleach with water before pouring it into the detergent dispenser. This helps distribute it more evenly and reduces the risk of concentrated bleach coming into direct contact with clothing.

Add Bleach in the Right Dispenser:

Most washing machines have a separate compartment for bleach. Consult your washing machine’s user manual to locate the bleach dispenser. Pour the diluted bleach into this compartment and avoid adding it directly to the drum.

Use Bleach Only for Whites:

Bleach is best suited for white clothing. It can help keep white items looking crisp and bright. Using bleach on colored clothing can cause fading or discoloration, so it’s generally not recommended for non-whites.

Don’t Mix Bleach with Other Cleaning Products:

Mixing bleach with other cleaning products, particularly ammonia or acids, can produce toxic fumes. To avoid any chemical reactions, use bleach on its own and never combine it with other detergents or cleaning agents.

Run an Extra Rinse Cycle:

After a bleach cycle, it’s a good idea to run an extra rinse cycle to ensure all traces of bleach are thoroughly removed. Any leftover bleach can damage your clothing and washing machine.

Maintenance Matters:

Using bleach can be tough on your washing machine over time. Make sure to clean your machine’s drum and dispensers regularly to prevent any residue buildup. Consult your washing machine’s user manual for specific maintenance instructions.

Bleach Alternatives:

If you want to avoid using bleach but still desire whiter whites, consider using natural alternatives like lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda. These options are gentler on your clothing and the environment.

Consider Stain Pretreatment:

For tough stains, pretreating the affected areas with a stain remover can be effective. This way, you can target stains directly without the need for bleach.


Delicate or sensitive items may not be suitable for machine washing with bleach. In such cases, hand-washing or seeking professional cleaning may be a safer option.


Bleach can be a useful addition to your laundry routine when used properly and with caution. It is effective at removing stains and disinfecting white clothing. However, it should be used sparingly and in accordance with your washing machine’s guidelines and the care labels on your clothing.

Always prioritize safety when handling bleach, and be mindful of the potential damage it can cause to your fabrics and your washing machine. By following these guidelines, you can harness the power of bleach to keep your whites bright and your clothes clean while preserving the longevity of your clothing and the performance of your appliance.