While chlorine bleach is highly effective at killing germs and whitening clothes, it can be harmful to people, pets and the environment. Inhaling chlorine fumes from household cleaners and bleach products can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and cause severe respiratory issues over time.

Non-chlorine bleach is a safe alternative to chlorine bleach, and uses the oxidizing power of its ingredients to disinfect and whiten. Non-chlorine bleach can be harmful if swallowed, but does not produce harmful fumes and it breaks down safely in the environment.

Non-chlorine bleach whitens and brightens clothing and removes stains

Non-chlorine bleach whitens laundry and removes stains without harming fabric. Unlike chlorine bleach which should only be used on whites, non-chlorine bleach can be used on both whites (to whiten) and colors (to brighten). Non-chlorine bleach may come in powder or liquid form and can be added to laundry alongside regular detergent, in place of chlorine bleach.

Liquid non-chlorine bleach is usually a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide and can boost laundry detergent on its own. Powdered non-chlorine bleach typically contains sodium carbonate (“soda ash”), sodium percarbonate (sodium carbonate mixed with hydrogen peroxide) and/or other oxidizing ingredients that make detergents more powerful.

Liquid non-chlorine bleach can be dabbed directly on stains, while powdered non-chlorine bleach needs to be mixed with water first. Either form needs to be rinsed as soon as the stain is blotted clean to avoid lightening the fabric; and either can be used to pretreat stains before washing.

Non-chlorine bleach disinfects

Hydrogen peroxide is used to disinfect household surfaces and is most effective at concentrations higher than the 3% to 5% commonly found in stores. While heavily diluted hydrogen peroxide is not quite as powerful as chlorine bleach at destroying pathogens, it can effectively kill some bacteria, viruses, mold and fungi in the kitchen and bathroom.  

Non-chlorine bleaches are typically found in the laundry section of supermarkets and drugstores. Hydrogen peroxide, in particular, is often found in the pharmaceutical aisle with the antiseptics.