The Glory of Bleach
Bleach never fails me.
Few know this about me because the overall state of affairs in my apartment is disarray, but I am an anally precisely clean person.
This is why I would like to write today on the wonders of bleach, the wonderdrug that allows me to most convincingly argue about the difference between dirt–and harmless ol’ mess.
Let us pause for a moment in revire.
Let me ask you something: when have you ever smelled bleach and thought, “Gosh, this place is so trifelingly dirty”?
It’s a mathematical theorum:
Bleach > trifelin mess.
To put it in geometric terms,
If bleach is smelled then the person who cleans this house is thorough and meticulous and would pass a white glove test.
Bleach, you see, is not just for laundry.
In fact, in laundry, I feel bleach is sometimes misused. We have all been taught to bleach our whites, but in my research (i.e. talking to my grandmother), I have uncovered a much more effective way of keeping my whites white.
Traditionally, I have known people to wash their whites with bleach and hot water, but even before I talked to Mama Olivia (yeah that’s what I call my grandma) I’d noticed that my whites seemed to yellow over time using this method. In cross-referencing my hypothesis with Mama Olivia, she confirmed my theory: hot water + bleach (with whites) = yellowing and sometimes shrinkage.
Mama Olivia proffered this solution: Wash whites in COLD water to keep them crisp, and if you really want to go hard add a few drops of blue dye (note: she did not actually say “go hard”). Now, I’m a major advocate of washing all laundry (except bed linens and towels) in cold water anyway, so I took that as confirmation of my intuitive laundry genius. I’m not gonna lie though–I haven’t tried the blue dye because…I don’t know…it’s just not in my brain as something to search out and purchase, but Mama Olivia knows everything, especially everything about housekeeping and she has kept her clothes looking really good for like 20 years (you know how grandparents can keep everything forever).
Whites, then, are a misuse of the glory of bleach in laundry.
One load I will use bleach while washing, however, is that of my bed linens and towels. Multiple uses = the need for disinfectant.
Imagine the crazy look I got from my mother the first time I came home with my laundry like “wait wait what are you doing I don’t use bleach for my whites! Bring it over here to this load full of colorful cloths that will show bleach stains!”
Through trial, error and countless white spots on old sheets and towels, however, I have perfected my method of using bleach while not bleaching my stuff.
This is what you do, and really, it is vital that you follow these instructions to the T.
FIRST, while the washer is empty, you add your detergent. CAREFULLY, you add no more than a capful of bleach to the washer, taking special care that it lands only at the bottom and none of it drops onto that big spin thingie in the middle. THEN, you fill your load with ONLY HOT WATER (still taking care to NOT put any items into the washer). Once the washer is full, then and only then are you cleared for loading.
I realize this post is getting quite long, so I will briefly touch on the other ways I use bleach. 1) For getting burnt-on crust off the bottom of pans–just pour a little bleach and soak it for like an hour and that crust will scrape right off (not that I’m so bad a cook that I have to have a method for salvaging pots…) 2) For washing dishes that have been sitting in the sink for, you know, a day or two (not that I’m so lazy of a housekeeper that I have dishes sitting in my sink for a day or two) 3) As a quick-fix to unclog drains 4) For regular household cleaning (vinegar is good for this as well but it’s really, REALLY important that you don’t mix bleach with any other cleaner if you do this because you will most likely get high and that’s illegal unless it’s prescription drugs in which case it’s neither illegal nor dangerous, apparently).
***EDIT: OMG OMG In my search for an image for this post, I came across one more use for bleach though I warn you it is not for the feint of heart or easily offended. Good to know there are options for combating aging though.
- How chlorine bleach works (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Laundry should smell nicer after it’s washed. (ask.metafilter.com)
- Survey: Do You Use Bleach in the Kitchen? (thekitchn.com)