Best Color Safe Bleaches of 2020

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Bright, clean clothes without chlorine bleach? Yes please.

If your colored clothes are stained, dingy, faded and dirty — then you’ve got to try color safe bleach.

You can’t use regular chlorine bleach on colors, or else it will fade or discolor the garment.

But with the best color safe bleach options, you’ll find amazing products that can bring your clothes back to life.


What Is Color Safe Bleach?

Color-safe bleach works like chlorine bleach, in the sense that it can remove tough stains such as red wine or fruit juice. But it’s without the sodium hypochlorite which can discolor clothes.

Instead, color-safe bleach uses different ingredients. This ranges from oxygen bleach to hydrogen peroxide (1). Color safe bleach can do what chlorine bleach can — remove stains, brighten clothes, and clean laundry — but without fading the garments to white.

Use color-safe bleach on your colored clothes when they’re sporting a tough stain, looking a little dingy or just needing to be brightened.

Here are some pros and cons of color-safe bleach.

PROS:
  • Works on colors and whites.
  • Less aggressive than chlorine bleach.
  • Won’t stain or fade your clothes.
  • Brightens clothes and removes stains.
  • Safe to use on most fabrics.
  • Removes stains rather than just disguising them.
CONS:
  • It usually comes in a powder form which can be hard to dissolve at low temperatures.
  • Many products still contain harsh chemicals.
  • You still need to test for color-fastness.
  • It has sterilizing properties, but is not listed as a disinfectant.

Color Safe Bleach vs Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach is color safe bleach, but color safe bleach isn’t always oxygen bleach.

Oxygen bleach is a special type of color safe bleach that is based on sodium percarbonate (2). When sodium percarbonate mixes with water, it breaks down into two parts: sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide.

The hydrogen peroxide, found in most color-safe bleaches, breaks down and removes stains. It attacks the colorful chemical bonds of a stain before removing it (3).

The sodium carbonate, which isn’t found in all color-safe bleaches, has extra benefits:

  • It softens water.
  • It is a neutralizing agent for the absorption of anionic surfactants.
  • Cuts through grease (4).
  • It lifts soil from clothes and allows detergent to better penetrate fabrics (5).

Both color-safe bleach and oxygen bleach are great, but oxygen bleach has a few more benefits.

Can You Wash Colored Clothes With Bleach?

If you use chlorine bleach on colored clothes, it will leave bleach stains. These can show up as white, off-white or a faded version of the garment’s original color. Chlorine bleach is recommended only for white clothes — not cream, ivory or grey. Just white.

However, you can, of course, use color-safe bleach on colored and white clothes!

Is Color Safe Bleach as Effective as Regular Bleach?

It really depends on the brand, but overall, they’re as effective as each other. However, chlorine bleach has more disinfecting properties. But color safe bleach doesn’t contain as harsh a list of chemicals, so it’s a small price to pay.

On that note, OxiClean, for example, claims their color safe bleach is 40 percent more effective than regular bleach (6). So it all depends on the brand you choose!

Keep in Mind

Although color safe bleach is less aggressive, it’s still harmful if swallowed or if it comes in contact with your eyes. So use carefully and keep away from children and pets.

The Best Color Safe Bleaches of 2020

To create this list, we’ve spent hours researching products, real customer reviews and expert advice, as well as applying our own insight. With that in mind, here are the best seven color-safe bleaches you can use to clean your clothes and say goodbye to stains!

1. Savvy Green Oxygen Brightening Powder

Best Color Safe Bleach for Brightening Colors

Savvy Green Oxygen Brightening Powder, 2.5 Lbs
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Want super bright and vibrant clothes? Check out the Savvy Green Oxygen Brightening Powder. This is an oxygen-based bleach that whitens whites and brightens colors so that you have fresher, cleaner and better-looking clothes! No more dingy t-shirts.

Plus, this product removes stains, deodorizes and helps boost your detergent’s cleaning power.

You can also use this around the house. Therefore, it can totally replace your chlorine bleach! Unlike many other color safe bleaches, the Savvy Green powder works for getting rid of mold and mildew. You can use it in the bathrooms, kitchens and in other places.

Lastly, this is an eco-friendly cleaner that is free from phosphates, chlorine and fragrances.

PROS:
  • Eco friendly.
  • Brightens colors and whitens whites.
  • Deodorizes and removes stains.
  • Can be used as an all-purpose cleaner around the house.
CONS:
  • You need to use a lot of the product on heavily soiled items.

Additional Specs

FormPowder
PurposeTo brighten clothes, remove stains and deodorize
IngredientsOxygen bleach, eco-friendly ingredients
Water TemperatureAll temperatures
ScentUnscented

2. Clorox 2 Free and Clear Laundry Stain Remover

Best Color Safe Bleach for Odor Removal

Clorox 2 Free and Clear Laundry Stain Remover and Color Booster, Laundry Packs, 20 Count
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Don’t let smelly clothes get you down. The Clorox 2 Free and Clear Laundry Stain Remover is great for removing bad odors, while still being safe on colors.

These pods enhance your colors so they’re brighter than before. It fights odors. And it removes four times more stains than detergent does on its own, including grass, coffee, dirt and juice.

Just imagine your nice, neat, clean and fresh wardrobe after using this!

This fast-acting formula is easy to use. Just toss it in the drum before your clothes, add your regular detergent and start the cycle. Plus, it works at removing stains the very first time.

Finally, this product is free of dyes and fragrances. It’s been dermatologically tested and is hypoallergenic, so if you have sensitive skin — this is the product for you!

PROS:
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Pre-measured pods.
  • Removes odors.
  • Cleans tough stains the very first time.
CONS:
  • The pods don’t dissolve properly in cold washes.

Additional Specs

FormPods
PurposeTo remove odors and stains
IngredientsActive ingredients are sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate
Water TemperatureWarm and hot are best
ScentUnscented

3. OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener

Best Stain Fighting Color Safe Bleach

OxiClean White Revive Laundry Whitener + Stain Remover, 3 Pound
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Get rid of tough, nasty stains with OxiClean White Revive. Although it’s designed for whites, it’s totally safe to use on colors. It won’t fade your yellows or greens or blues. In fact, if you have of mixed color clothing — like striped shirts and polka dot skirts — we totally recommend this product!

Use this with your regular detergent. The products will work together to get rid of tough stains. For the toughest of stains, OxiClean recommends soaking the clothes in a basin of water with a scoop of this product. Leave for six hours before washing normally.

You can add this product to every single wash to keep your clothes looking bright and as clean as ever before.

It also brightens and whitens clothes. In fact, OxiClean claims this has 40 percent more whitening power than chlorine bleach!

PROS:
  • Amazing stain removal power.
  • Safe on colors and great for whites, too.
  • Can be used in every single wash.
  • 40 percent more whitening power than chlorine bleach.
CONS:

Additional Specs

FormPowder
PurposeTo brighten clothes and remove stains
IngredientsOxygen bleach
Water TemperatureWarmest water possible
ScentNo added fragrance, but still has a strong smell

4. Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Best Color Safe Bleach for Baby Clothes

Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear Unscented, 40 Oz, Pack of 2 (106 Loads)
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While the Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent isn’t advertised as a color safe bleach, it has all the properties of one. It brightens clothes, whitens whites, removes stains, while being color safe. Plus, it’s great for baby clothes since it’s hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll love this.

This is a detergent, so it doesn’t need to be used alongside anything else. But you could pair it with another one of these color safe bleaches if you like.

On its own, this detergent uses a triple-enzyme fighting formula to remove tough stains, including spaghetti sauce and coffee!

Your clothes will come out the other end looking clean, bright, fresh and of course, stain free. As for whites, it really does wonders. Many customers were surprised by how easily and effectively this detergent cleaned and brightened their whites.

No need for multiple laundry products in the cupboard, when this one does it all.

PROS:
  • Hypoallergenic, so great for sensitive skin.
  • Removes tough stains.
  • Brightens and cleans clothes.
  • Unscented and cruelty free.
CONS:
  • Doesn’t clean as well as mainstream brands.
  • It doesn’t remove odors.

Additional Specs

FormLiquid detergent
PurposeRemoves tough stains
IngredientsPlant-based, hypoallergenic ingredients
Water TemperatureAll temperatures
ScentUnscented

5. Grab Green Natural Bleach Alternative Pods

Best Non-Toxic Color Safe Bleach

Grab Green Natural Bleach Alternative Pods, Unscented/Free & Clear, 60 Loads, Non-Chlorine Bleach, Fragrance Free
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The Grab Green Natural Bleach Alternative Pods are non-toxic, naturally-derived and hypoallergenic. Add them to your cycle, along with your normal detergent, to brighten whites, remove stains and neutralize odors.

They’re safe on colors, but also great on whites. For your colored clothes, the pods can brighten them a little, but it’s more targeted for removing tough stains without fading the colors at all.

The pods are fragrance-free, so they’re perfect if you have sensitive skin or just don’t like scented products.

Pre-measured, these pods are super easy to use. Just toss them into the drum before your clothes, add in your detergent and start the cycle. They work at all temperatures, too!

Finally, you can use these laundry pods to pretreat clothes. Place the pod in a sink full of water and mix until it’s fully dissolved. Then soak your clothes for 1-6 hours before washing as normal.

PROS:
  • Non-toxic, naturally-derived ingredients.
  • Removes stains, brightens clothes and neutralizes odors.
  • Pre-measured and easy to use.
  • Great as a pre-treatment.
CONS:
  • For tough stains, you might need to use a few pods.
  • Some customers found the pods didn’t fully dissolve in cold water.

Additional Specs

FormPods
PurposeTo brighten clothes, remove stains and neutralize odors
IngredientsNon-toxic, naturally derived
Water TemperatureAll, but best in warm or hot
ScentUnscented

6. Clorox 2™ for Colors Stain Remover

Best Budget Color Safe Bleach

Clorox 2 for Colors Stain Remover and Color Brightener Packs, 20 Count (Package May Vary)
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The Clorox for Colors Stain Remover Packs are handy little pods that will remove stains and brighten colors. Plus, they are affordable. With this product, you receive 120 pods for a super fair price.

This product removes tough stains, brightens colors, whitens whites and eliminates odors. If you find wine, grass, coffee or ink stains on your clothes — don’t panic! Just wash it with your normal detergent and one of these pods. It’s bound to get the stain out on the very first wash.

In these pre-measured pods, this product is easy to use. If you have extra dirty clothes, no need to measure out more liquid detergent. Simply toss in an extra pod!

This chlorine-free bleach alternative is a great addition to your laundry routine. While it’s safe on colors, and will brighten your favorite clothes, it’s also amazing at whitening whites.

PROS:
  • Easy to use, pre-measured pods.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Gets out tough stains the first time.
  • Brightens colors and whites.
CONS:
  • Pods don’t completely dissolve on shorter wash cycles.
  • It does contain synthetic fragrance, so it might irritate your skin.

Additional Specs

FormPods
PurposeTo remove stains, brighten clothes and eliminate odors
IngredientsActive ingredients: Sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate
Water TemperatureBest in warm or hot cycles
ScentScented, but scent not disclosed

7. OxiClean Color Boost Color Brightener Liquid

Best Scented Color Safe Bleach

OxiClean Color Boost Color Brightener plus Stain Remover Liquid Fresh Scent 45oz
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Most color safe bleaches are unscented, but many families like scented laundry. While you can always add some essential oils to your laundry, or use a scented detergent, the OxiClean Color Boost Liquid has a nice fresh scent.

The scent is only described as a burst of freshness, but customers describe it as clean and pleasant. The perfect laundry smell, if you ask us!

This liquid color-safe bleach can be added to every wash alongside your regular detergent. It has a built-in optical brightener that boosts vibrant colors and whitens whites. So, your clothes will be looking as good as ever!

You can also pretreat clothes before washing for even better results.

PROS:
  • Nice fresh scent.
  • Built-in optical brighteners to brighten and whiten clothes.
  • It can be used in every wash.
  • It can be used as a pre-treatment.
CONS:
  • Not as effective on food and drink stains.
  • Scent might overpower your regular detergent.

Additional Specs

FormLiquid
PurposeBrighten and white clothes and fight stains
IngredientsIncludes hydrogen peroxide
Water TemperatureAll temperatures
ScentFresh scent

Color Safe Bleach Comparison Chart

ProductBestFormActive IngredientsWater TemperatureScent
Savvy Green Oxygen Brightening PowderBrightening ColorsPowderOxygen bleachAnyUnscented
Clorox 2 Free & Clear Laundry Stain RemoverOdor RemovalPodsSodium percarbonate & sodium carbonateWarm/HotUnscented
OxiClean White Revive Laundry WhitenerStain FightingPowderOxygen bleachWarmUnscented
Seventh Generation Concentrated DetergentBaby ClothesLiquidPlant-basedAnyUnscented
Grab Green Natural Bleach Alternative PodsNon-ToxicPodsNaturally ingredientsAnyUnscented
Clorox 2™ Colors Stain RemoverBudget BleachPodsSodium carbonate & sodium percarbonateWarm/HotScented
OxiClean Color Boost Color BrightenerScented BleachLiquidHydrogen peroxideAnyScented
Jump to the Full Color Safe Bleach Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Color Safe Bleach on Whites?

Definitely! Color safe bleach is effective on all colors, including whites. So you don’t need to buy chlorine bleach and color safe bleach. Just get color safe bleach.

Is Color Safe Bleach Safe for Darks?

Yes — it won’t fade your darks. In fact, it will make them more vivid! The only issue you might face is if there is a residue left behind, it’ll be more noticeable on darks. Clothes might require an extra rinse.

Does Color Safe Bleach Kill Mold and Mildew?

Most of the products we’re sharing don’t advertise as being able to kill mold and mildew. Color safe bleach is best for lifting stains and brightening clothes, while chlorine bleach is better for disinfecting clothes (7).

Does Color Safe Bleach Kill Norovirus?

Hydrogen peroxide, an ingredient in color safe bleach, can kill Norovirus (8). However, we recommend using pure hydrogen peroxide to clean your clothes or surfaces rather than color safe bleach, since it contains other ingredients. Most color safe bleach manufacturers don’t list their product as a disinfectant.

Does Color Safe Bleach Remove Odors?

Many color safe bleach products advertise themselves as being deodorizers. However, some brands don’t disclose this. Many color safe bleaches are meant to be used alongside detergent, so no matter what, you’ll get clean, fresh and deodorized clothes.


Play It Safe

With color-safe bleach, you won’t discolor your clothes or use toxic chlorine bleach. But you’ll still get bright, stain-free and good-smelling clothes!

Overall, our top recommendation is the Savvy Green Oxygen Brightening Powder which is amazing at brightening colors. It also works around the house for other cleaning tasks.

For fighting tough stains, definitely check out the OxiClean White Revive.

Lastly, for a non-toxic option, you’ll love the Grab Green Natural Pods.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!
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