COIT’s Guide on Bleach Stain Removal - History and Facts
Spilling bleach on your carpet doesn’t have to be a total disaster. If you’re wondering how to remove bleach stains, you’re not alone! Household bleach stains happen to the best of us.
The single most important thing to remember about bleach stains is the longer you leave it sitting, the higher the chance it will discolor your carpet. So act fast!
With COIT’s step-by-step guide, you’ll have a few solutions to use on your carpet when you’re wondering how to get bleach stains out.
Ever wondered what exactly is in bleach? Let’s check it out.
Chemical Composition of Bleach
Bleach is most commonly used to disinfect, remove stains and whiten clothes. When you look beyond its purpose and look at the chemical components of bleach, you’ll see that chlorine is actually the basis. Chlorine bleach usually contains calcium hypochlorite, whereas oxygen bleach contains hydrogen peroxide.
How Does Bleach Work?
When you’re using bleach to whiten your clothes or disinfect an area of your home, chances are you don’t often think about what is happening from a chemical perspective. So what’s actually going on when you use bleach?
When applied onto a surface, oxidizing bleach breaks the chemical bonds of the part of the molecule that has color – this is also known as the chromophore. As a result of this chemical reaction, the molecule does one of two things: it begins to reflect a color that’s outside the visible spectrum or it has no color.
If you’re working with reducing bleach, the kind of chemical reaction that happens is slightly different. Chemically speaking, reducing bleach changes the double bonds into single bonds. As a result, the surface is colorless since the molecules optical properties have also been changed.
The History of Bleach
Now that you know a bit more about the chemical composition of bleach, let’s take a quick look at the history of bleach.
Rewind back to 5000 BC in Egypt. Egyptians knew a thing or two about bleaching, as they would purposely discolor linens by leaving them out in the sunlight for extended periods of time. Furthermore, they would mix wood ashes with water to create a substance called lye. Soaking linens in this substance would also lighten colors.
Fast forward to the 12th century AD in Holland, where the Dutch became very well known for their bleaching techniques. They actually added sour milk to lye to soften its effects!
This worked so well that all brown linens that were manufactured in Scotland were sent to Holland for bleaching, where they would soak and sun-dry the linen multiple times to whiten it – this could take up to 8 weeks!
• In the 16th century, 8 weeks was cut down considerably, as John Robuck began using diluted sulphuric acid in place of sour milk.
• In 1785, French scientist Claude Berthollet discovered that chlorine actually destroyed vegetable colors; he then introduced chlorine into the bleaching process.
• In 1799, Charles Tennant of Scotland discovered that when chloride lime was added to bleach, it produced the substance now known as bleaching powder.
Bleach Stain Removal Tips
Now you know a bit more about what bleach is made of and how it developed over centuries throughout the world. It’s easy to forget how far bleach has come since Egyptian times!
If you’re wondering how to get bleach stains out at home using a few do-it-yourself methods, check out COIT’s guide to bleach stain removal.