fbpx Skip to Content

Best Color Safe Bleach

Best Color Safe Bleach

Wondering how to remove the stains on your colored fabrics? Try color safe bleach! 

Unlike chlorine bleach, the active ingredient in color-safe bleach is hydrogen peroxide. This makes color safe bleach an effective solution for removing stains while also protecting the colors in darker fabrics.

Plus, color safe bleach is actually a better choice than chlorine bleach for removing certain types of stains from whites! If you want to try color safe bleach for yourself, I have reviewed the best color safe bleach formulas below.

Best Color Safe Bleach

In the list below I selected color safe bleach products that are low in toxicity, high in efficacy, and gentle on the environment. 

The products featured on this list received an EWG low-toxicity rating of a B or higher. Plus, many of the products utilize recycled packaging or participate in recycling programs that minimize plastic waste.

OxiClean Free Stain Remover

Sale
OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Powder Free, Laundry Stain Remover, 3 Lbs
  • Includes: One 3 lb box of OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Free, Laundry Stain Remover for Clothes so you can harness the power of oxygen to get tough stains out
  • Free From: This clothing stain remover for laundry is free from irritating dyes and perfumes, making it perfect for those with sensitivities
  • Fight Tough Stains: OxiClean powder features an oxygen-based, water-activated formula that gets out tough dirt, persistent spots and set-in stains

OxiClean Free might just be the most effective stain remover of all of the products on this list. OxiClean Free is an oxygen based water activated formula that is powerful at removing stains and brightening light fabrics.

This specific OxiClean formula is also free of dyes and fragrances, making it healthier than other products within the OxiClean line, yet still very effective when it comes to cleaning and removing stains from fabrics.

This oxygen bleach formula utilizes the active ingredient sodium carbonate peroxide (sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide). It also utilizes a surfactant that breaks the surface tension of water and allows the formula to effectively remove oil molecules and wash them away from stained or smelly fabrics. 

In my opinion, OxiClean works best when it is used as a pre-soak formula. Dissolve a scoop in a basin of warm water before adding stained fabrics. Allow fabrics to sit in the solution for 1-6 hours (up to overnight) before washing regularly. 

Lastly I love how OxiClean is multipurpose. It can be used to remove stains from laundry as well as brighten grout, clean sinks, bathtubs, toilets, and more.

Pros:

  • No dyes or perfumes
  • Transparent ingredient list
  • Multipurpose – also great for removing carpet stains, brightening grout, cleaning sinks, tubs, and toilets
  • EPA Safer Choice Certified

Cons:

  • EWG B Rating (this isn’t a bad rating, it’s just lower than other products received on this list)

Specs:

  • Form: Powder
  • Machine: Any
  • Water Temperature: Warm
  • Uses: Laundry booster, stain pre-treatment

Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Bleach

When it comes to removing stains from colored fabrics, chlorine bleach is what you want to avoid. This formula by Seventh Generation is chlorine-free so it is safe to use on colors. Instead, this formula depends on hydrogen peroxide as a powerful fabric stain remover. 

I love how transparent Seventh Generation is with the ingredients used in its chlorine free bleach. This formula utilizes only two ingredients: hydrogen peroxide and water. Simple and straight-forward!

You can use this chlorine free bleach formula as a laundry booster (add 3 oz to the bleach dispenser in your washing machine). You can also use it as a stain pre-treatment by applying directly on stains and allowing it to dry completely before washing the garment normally. Overall it’s a great, effective chlorine-free option!

Pros:

  • Fragrance free
  • Safe, transparent ingredients
  • EPA Safer Choice Certified
  • EWG A rating

Cons:

  • Simple formula can theoretically be replicated by diluting hydrogen peroxide 

Specs:

  • Form: Liquid
  • Machine: Standard or HE
  • Water Temperature: Any
  • Uses: Laundry boost, stain pre-treatment

Grab Green Bleach Alternative Pods

Grab Green Bleach Alternative Pods, 60 Count, Chlorine Free, Fragrance Free, Plant and Mineral…
  • Contains: 1- 60 Pod Bag of Grab Green Natural Fragrance Free Bleach Alternative Pods. Our velcro closure bags are convenient and easy to use, no hassling with frustrating zip closures
  • Naturally Effective: Specifically formulated to tackle difficult stains, dingy colors and whites, and difficult odors. Free of chlorine and other harsh chemicals, these pods work on all water…
  • Fragrance Free: Our convenient, pre-measured pods are hypoallergenic, free and clear of all scents and dyes, perfect for individuals with fragrance sensitivities. Simply toss in with our detergent…

These bleach alternative pods utilize a mix of washing soda and hydrogen peroxide wrapped in a dissolvable pod to brighten grungy fabrics and eliminate odors. 

They are easy to use, simply toss 1-2 pods into the drum of your washing machine depending on the size of your wash load. Add your clothing and run the wash cycle as you normally would.

If you have older children who tend to make a mess of measuring regular detergent (who are also old enough to know NEVER to put a pod in their mouth), pods can be a tidy way to pass laundry responsibilities their way. With pods like these, there is no measuring required or risk of accidental spills! 

To use as a stain pre-treatment or deodorizer, dissolve 1 pod in a basin of water. Add your dirty or smelly clothes to the basin and let them soak for 1-6 hours. After soaking, wash clothes as you normally would and enjoy the clean results!

Pros:

  • Pre-measured pods are easy to use
  • Transparent ingredients
  • Fragrance free
  • Septic-safe
  • EWG A Rating

Cons:

  • Utilizes polyvinyl alcohol (a synthetic plastic polymer) as the pod wrapping material. This means trace amounts of plastic will dissolve into your wash cycle and could contribute to microplastic pollution in our water system.

Specs:

  • Form: Pods
  • Machine: HE
  • Water Temperature: Any
  • Uses: Laundry boost, pre-treatment soak

Molly Suds Oxygen Whitener

Molly’s Suds Natural Oxygen Whitener | Natural Bleach Alternative, Plant-Derived Ingredients |…
  • POWERFUL, CHLORINE-FREE WHITENER SAFE FOR EVERYONE: Formulated with strict ingredient integrity using only earth and plant-derived ingredients that safely return to the earth. Natural laundry booster…
  • WHITENS AND BRIGHTENS LIGHTS AND COLORS: Natural clothes whitener and bleach alternative laundry stain remover for clothing. Breaks down hard water, stains, and oils in fabrics. Whitening laundry…
  • STAIN TREATMENT: Emergency stain rescue and laundry spot treatment for light colored clothing and linens. Oil stain remover for clothes, wine remover, baby laundry stain remover, and makeup stain…

This oxygen bleach powder whitens and brightens dingy whites, lights, and colored fabrics. The active ingredient is sodium percarbonate which more or less breaks down into hydrogen peroxide when dissolved in water. Sodium percarbonate is the active ingredient in oxygen bleach formulas. 

The Molly Suds formula also includes sodium carbonate (washing soda) and citric acid (an acid naturally occurring in citrus) with brightening and antibacterial properties.

Combined, these ingredients make a simple but powerful formula for brightening dingy fabrics. It’s most effective when dissolved in warm or hot water. To use in a washing machine, add the powder to your washing machine basin before adding fabrics and washing regularly.

Pros:

  • Great for pre-treating dingy clothes with a long soak prior to washing
  • Transparent ingredient list
  • Scented with essential oils
  • Multipurpose! Can also be used to clean carpets, porcelain sinks, tubs, and toilets 

Cons:

  • Requires warm or hot water to properly dissolve

Specs:

  • Form: Powder
  • Machine: Standard, Commercial, or HE
  • Water Temperature: Warm or Hot
  • Uses: Laundry booster, stain remover

Ecover Zero Liquid Non-Chlorine Bleach

Ecover Zero Non Chlorine Laundry Bleach, 64 Ounce (Pack 6)
  • Contains (6) 64 ounce bottle of non chlorine bleach cleaner
  • Powers away stains & deodorizes.
  • Safe on colors and for use throughout your home.

Ecover’s chlorine-free bleach solution is similar to Seventh Generation’s formula in that it includes two ingredients: hydrogen peroxide and water. The difference is in the dilution and strength percentages. 

Regardless, this formula is effective when used on dingy whites, lights, colors. It can be used as a stain remover if applied to stains a few minutes before laundering. Additionally it is safe for cleaning and brightening sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, and tile.

I also appreciate fragrance-free formulas so you won’t be left with headache-inducing synthetic scents on your fabrics. To use, add to the bleach compartment on HE washing machines or in the drum of standard washing machines.

Pros:

  • Transparent, simple ingredients: hydrogen peroxide and water
  • Fragrance free
  • Multipurpose! Can also be used to clean sinks, showers, tubs, toilets and tile
  • EWG A Rating

Cons:

  • Simple formula can theoretically be replicated by diluting hydrogen peroxide 

Specs:

  • Form: Liquid
  • Machine: Any
  • Water Temperature: Any
  • Uses: Laundry booster, stain pre-treatment

Is color safe bleach the same as oxygen bleach?

Not necessarily! While the terms “color safe bleach” and “oxygen bleach” are often used interchangeably, they are not always the same thing.

Oxygen bleach is a color safe bleach, but not all color safe bleach formulations are oxygen bleach. Both are considered safe to use on whites, lights, and colors however the distinction comes in the active ingredients.

The active ingredient in oxygen bleach is sodium percarbonate. When combined with water, sodium percarbonate more or less becomes a mix of hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate.

Hydrogen peroxide (found in nearly all color safe bleach formulas) is a powerful, color-safe stain remover. Sodium carbonate (found in oxygen bleach) has additional benefits such as softening water, and cutting through grease.

Is color safe bleach as effective as regular bleach?

The answer to this question depends on the type of fabric as well as the type of stain. Regular (chlorine) bleach works extremely well at brightening and removing most stains from white fabrics.

Chlorine bleach will damage colorful fabrics, so the use cases are limited.

Chlorine bleach is also less effective than color safe bleach at removing “protein stains” from fabrics. Examples of protein stains include sweat stains, blood stains, puke stains, egg stains, etc. 

Both types of bleach should be used with caution and kept out of reach of pets and small children.

RELATED: Is it safe to mix bleach and baking soda?

How to use color safe bleach

Pre-treat dingy, stained, or smelly fabrics

Dissolve oxygen bleach in a basin filled with warm water. Add your stained laundry to the basin and soak for 1-6 hours. Wash as you regularly do in your washing machine.

For non-oxygen bleach, simply apply some of the liquid color safe bleach to the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Wash regularly.

Add to wash cycle

For powdered oxygen bleach, add the appropriate sized scoop to the washing machine basin. Add detergent to the appropriate compartment then wash your laundry as you regularly do.

For liquid color safe bleach, add the appropriate amount to the bleach compartment of your washer. Add detergent to the appropriate compartment then wash your laundry as you regularly do.

Line dry stained clothing

If you’re using oxygen bleach to lift stains from clothing, always be sure to line dry the garment because heat drying will set stains! 

It’s important to line dry the stained fabrics to make sure the stain has fully lifted. If the stain persists, then soak/pre-treat and wash again with your color safe bleach repeatedly until the stain is no longer detectable.

FAQs

What is color safe bleach?

Color safe bleach is a laundry solution that effectively brightens whites and lights, removes stains, all without damaging colorful fabrics. 

Most color safe bleaches utilize the stain removing power of hydrogen peroxide. Oxygen bleach also utilizes sodium carbonate to soften water and cut through grease and oil.

Is color safe bleach the same as oxygen bleach?

Not always! Oxygen bleach is a color safe bleach, but not all color safe bleaches are oxygen bleach.

The active ingredient in most color safe bleach formulas is hydrogen peroxide. Oxygen bleach also utilizes the power of sodium carbonate which helps soften water and lifts oil and grease from fabrics. 

Can you use color safe bleach on whites?

Yes! Color safe bleach can be even more effective than regular bleach at removing protein stains (sweat, puke, egg, blood…) from white fabrics.

Can you wash colored fabrics with bleach?

You can wash colored fabrics with color-safe bleach, but not chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach will alter or damage colorful fabrics while color safe bleach or oxygen bleach will remove stains while maintaining the colors in darker fabrics.

Does color safe bleach disinfect?

No, color safe bleach will not disinfect fabrics or surfaces the way that chlorine bleach can and will. Color safe bleach is best reserved for lifting stains and brightening whites and light colored fabrics.