Prevent Bleach from "Eating" Your Fabric

If you need to use bleach on your fabric, make certain to rinse with white vinegar in the water. This keeps the bleach from continuing to work after it has been 'rinsed' out with plain water. If you repeatedly use bleach without a vinegar rinse, your fabric will eventually get little pit holes in it.

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For those that want see it at work: Put the tip of your finger in bleach and rinse with water. You will notice your finger still feels slippery after rinsing well. Now put a little vinegar on your finger and rinse. You will see that immediately, the slippery feel is gone.

I learned this many years ago in Chemistry class. One is a base and the other is acid. They neutralize each other. Any vinegar works but white vinegar won't leave any color behind.
Editor's Note: Bleach and vinegar mixed will create deadly chlorine gas. Be sure that the vinegar is added to the wash after the bleach has been rinsed away with plain water first.

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April 9, 20130 found this helpful

Awesome tip! I plan on putting this to use asap. Wish I had known years ago. Thank you!

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April 11, 20130 found this helpful

Technically, the "bleach" part of bleach -- the part that whitens the stain, is not a base, but sodium hydroxide, which is a VERY powerful base is added to household bleach to stabilize it. This is the part of the solution that is neutralized by the vinegar, and the part that is dissolving the fabric over time.

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However, as was pointed out, you must be VERY careful NEVER to add vinegar to bleach directly, as they will combine to form chlorine gas. The actual base, Sodium hydroxide, when combined with an acid, produces salt, carbon dioxide, and water -- a very benign mixture -- the same thing you get when you mix baking soda and vinegar.

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April 14, 20130 found this helpful

Great tip! Does this mean that I should add vinegar to my rinse water as well when I add bleach to my dish water for doing dishes?

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April 15, 20130 found this helpful

I didn't realize that bleach and vinegar together would make a toxic gas, I knew that bleach and ammonia did. I always add vinegar to the rinse when I wash towels because it removes the bleach odor. Good thing I never added it to the wash! Thanks for the info.

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