Can You Clean With Hair Bleach?

Hair bleach is often required to go blonde or to dye your hair with different colors. This is because it burns the natural hair color and prepares it to apply another paint. Many people often wonder if you can use the same bleach for cleaning.

You can’t clean with hair bleach because it has different chemical properties than cleaning bleach. Hair bleach can sanitize household items by killing bacteria, but it won’t remove any stains. For stain removal or brightening, you must use regular bleach. 

This post will discuss the difference between hair bleach and cleaning bleach, with instructions for using the latter in the best way. 

Can You Clean With Hair Bleach?

You shouldn’t clean with hair bleach as they don’t have strong enough chlorine content to perform cleaning activities. It can sanitize your household items and remove stinking odors, but it won’t whiten fabrics or remove any stains. 

You should use regular bleach with different chemical properties and robust chlorine content for cleaning. Even then, you should read the labels of a particular cleaning product carefully, as certain items work best in their designated cleaning tasks. 

Is Hair Bleach the Same as Cleaning Bleach?

Cleaning bleach is not the same as hair bleach. These two types differ significantly in terms of chemical properties and application methodologies. For example, most cleaning bleaches use Sodium hypochlorite as the main chemical ingredient, whereas most hair bleaches use Hydrogen peroxide.

Let’s find out the main differences between hair and cleaning bleach below. 

ComparisonsCleaning BleachHair Bleach
Main IngredientsSodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl)Hydrogen Peroxide (H₂O₂)
Physical FormsMostly liquid with some powdered variantsMostly granular or powdered
Solution Formula6-7% chlorine content mixed with waterTwo part developer and 1 part bleach mixed consistently with water
ApplicationDirectly on hard surfaces and other cleaning items.A paste-like content is applied with a hairbrush.
Worst-case ScenarioEnvironmental pollution, skin burns, loss of eye sightDamaged hair, scalp burns, heavy dandruff

Is Regular Bleach Chlorine Bleach?

Most regular bleaches for household cleaning are chlorine based. As chlorine is a powerful oxidizing agent with toxic gas, household bleaching products use sodium hypochlorite mixed with water. There are some alternatives to chlorine-based bleaches, too. 

Types of Chlorine-Based Bleaches

Chlorine-based bleach products can come with several formulas for different uses. For example, bleach products used for water chlorination differ from hospital cleaning products. Industrial cleaning bleach also requires a different chlorine formula. 

The most prominent chlorine-based bleach used for cleaning household items are: 

  • Liquid Sodium Hypochlorite: Most bleach products found in the supermarket contain Sodium hypochlorite (NaCIO). The solution is liquified by mixing water with three to six percent NaCIO concentration. It is perfect for whitening fabrics and removing stains from kitchen utensils and bathrooms. 
  • Calcium Hypochlorite Powder: Dry Calcium hypochlorite is commonly known as bleaching powder. It comes in hard disk or granular form. The powder uses a formula of mixing calcium hypochlorite, calcium hydroxide, and calcium chloride. They are typically used for cleaning drainage systems and swimming pools. 

Chlorine gas and Chlorine dioxide provide the main ingredient for industrial cleaning bleach. Wood, textile, flour, oils, and pharmaceutical industries use chlorine dioxide bleaches for cleaning. It is also increasingly used for pulping wood, as chlorine gas can pollute the environment. 

Alternatives to Chlorine-Based Bleaches

Sometimes, you may come across clothing labels that recommend not using chlorine-based bleaches. Fortunately, several other bleach types work as an alternative to chlorine bleach. It includes:

  • Peroxide-based bleaches are oxygen-based bleaches containing hydrogen peroxide as the main ingredient. Hair bleaches fall in this category. Also known as color-safe or oxygen bleach, you can use these products to deep clean colored textiles. White items with spandex can also be cleaned with these bleach products. 
  • Sulfur-based bleaches come with a sulfur dioxide-based formula, generally obtained from decomposing oxo sulfur anion. They typically contain Sodium Percarbonate or Sodium Perborate as the main ingredient. Sulfur-based bleaches are often referred to as washing soda for their laundry applications. Some sulfur-based bleaches are also used to treat water and disinfect agricultural fields.

What Is Stronger for Cleaning, Chlorine or Bleach?

Most people refer to pool-grade chlorine as simply “chlorine” and household cleaning products as “bleach.” However, both products contain chlorine or one of its derivatives as the main ingredient.

Pool-grade Chlorine is stronger than bleach as the former has a higher chlorine content. As a general rule, it contains a granular or powdered formula of calcium hypochlorite, which can produce as much as 100% pure chlorine when dissolved in water.

Some pool-grade liquid chlorine contains around 12.5% sodium hypochlorite—the ingredient used in most laundry bleaches. On the other hand, regular bleach typically has up to 9% chlorine content. As a result, it makes the pool-grade chlorine nearly 2x more potent than regular bleach.

Is Bleach More Effective in Hot or Cold Water?

Some experts recommend using cold water to dilute cleaning bleaches, as heat can make bleach ineffective by decomposing its active agents. However, some scientists, like Mary Begovic Johnson, consider it a myth

Most bleaches work effectively with both hot and cold water. However, using chlorine-based bleach with hot water can speed up the process by forcing the active cleaning ingredients to work faster. Therefore, it takes less time to remove stains or brighten fabrics. 

Conversely, bleach works as effectively with cold water, although it may take more time. This is because the cleaning properties take longer to dissolve and become active in normal or cold temperatures.


While they are both bleaches, cleaning bleach uses entirely different chemical properties than hair bleach. Therefore, using hair bleach to clean would miss the purpose altogether, except for disinfection.

Similarly, you should avoid using cleaning bleach on your hair as it may cause severe health hazards. I have discussed some safety tips for applying cleaning bleaches in my post titled Can I Take A Bath Or Shower After Cleaning It With Bleach?

Use bleaching powder or other oxygenated bleaches if you can’t use the commonly available liquid bleach products on your colored fabrics.

Previous Post

How Often Should You Wash Your Blankets?

Next Post

Can You Clean Silver and Gold With Toothpaste?