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Name: Jean G.
Status: educator
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Wednesday, June 26, 2002

I would like to know the difference in chlorine bleach and non-chlorine bleach?

In general, bleaches are oxidizing agents and in principle any oxidizing agent can function as a bleaching agent. The most common household bleaches are "chlorine" bleaches and "peroxide" bleaches.

The active species in "chlorine" bleaches is the molecule HOCl and OCl(-1), its anion. The general reaction for a hypothetical substance "R" is:

2H(+1) + HOCl + R -----> R(+2) + H2O + HCl

It is actually more complicated than this but this illustrates that "oxidation" is the loss of electrons, and "reduction" is the gain of electrons.

Non-chlorine bleaches are usually based on hydrogen peroxide:

2H(+1) + H2O2 + R -----> R(+2) + 2H2O

Vince Calder

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