Oxygen Bleach/Sodium Percarbonate Reaction to Enzymes

NoobtoLaundryFebruary 27, 2013

Okay, I've searched and searched online, trying to figure out this, but I've heard before that bleach kills the enzymes in detergent, pretty much making your Enzyme based Detergent eg. (Tide,Wisk, Mexican Ariel) useless.

However, I was wondering, if Oxiclean, or Regular Sodium Percarbonate does the exact same thing, as regular chlorine bleach?

I'd really appreciate anyone's opinion or answers to this.

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To my knowledge, only chlorine bleach kills enzymes. I use pure oxygen bleach (Ecover), and feel that it does not hurt the detergent's effectiveness at all. Many laundry detergents contain some sort of oxygen bleach in them already, like Tide. Tide with Bleach uses an oxygen bleach, that is activated at lower-than-hot temperatures. Straight up oxygen bleach, such as the Ecover brand, will require hotter water to be effective. The hotter the water, the more effect you achieve from oxygen bleaches. I often boost TWB with Ecover bleach for loads of stained dishtowels, etc., and I have great results every time.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Enzymes are not stable in laundry liquid products that contain bleach (oxgyen or chlorine), powdered laundry products are fine as chemical & detergent makers have found ways to keep one from affecting the other the shelf. Long as the product is kept in a cool and dry storage location things should be fine.

Liquid laundry products by and large do contain enzymes but not bleach for this reason. The only exception are the various "pod" type products where ways have been found to seal off the bleach from enzymes to keep each from affecting the other.

As for oxygen bleach and water temperature in general yes the hotter the water equals better results. However that mainly pertains to sodium perborate and liquid hydrogen peroxide. Sodium percarbonate OTOH is known as the "cold water" oxygen bleach because it can and will start working in cooler water. Personally have used either sodium percarbonate containing detergents or added it as a powder (Ecover) to laundry washed at temps of either 85F or 100F and the results are same; stains are soils are removed with textiles whitened and brightened.

Ecover makes two versions of oxygen bleach by the way. One comes in plastic jugs and is liquid oxygen bleach (hydrogen peroxide) the other is a power (sodium percarbonate). Compared to "OxiClean" type products the latter is a better buy because it contains pure oxygen bleach. The others are usually 10% or more of washing soda.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:38PM
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See the link for Ecover Laundry Bleach Powder's current formulation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laundry Bleach Powder

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Bleach won't make your enzymes useless, but the enzymes won't last as long in the oxidizing environment created by a bleach. An enzyme will become denatured in the presence of bleach in about 15 - 20 minutes. Oxygen bleaches are not as aggressive as chlorine bleaches so enzymes will last longer, but will still eventually be denatured.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:36PM
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@suburbanmd - I'm so disappointed that Ecover is watering down their non-chlorine bleach with washing soda. Do you know if the dosing is the same, or if more is required now because it is watered down? I'm very careful with the small supply I have of the old stuff.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 7:39AM
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I am disappointed, too, that Ecover is using fillers in their products now. I have not bought any for a while, and the only reason I even bought the Ecover is because it was pure. I guess I will be visiting the chemistry store online for it now.

I should have clarified earlier, I only use powdered laundry products. So, my results are only based on that.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Per my husband who is a chemist and does custom formulas for commercial laundries, enzymes are most active in warm water, very slow acting in cold, while peroxide based bleaches are most active over 100. So, it all depends on how your machine fills. If it filled at over a 100 your enzymes are dying from the get go due to temp.

I'm much more curious about enzymes and chlorinated water. Anyone know how many parts per million to kill enzymes?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 3:19PM
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This is from my old Asko washer manual:
ENZYME STEP - To successfully remove all dirt and stains from fabric, the enzymes in your detergent need to work at atemperature between 105ð F and 140ð F for a longer timeperiod. This longer wash cycle gives the enzymes in thedetergent ample time to remove stains, eliminating theneed for stain sprays and spot removers.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 4:53PM
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suburbanmd: "See the link for Ecover Laundry Bleach Powder's current formulation."

Our (fairly recently purchased) box of Ecover bleach alleges that the formulation is 100% sodium carbonate peroxide (aka sodium percarbonate). There is no sodium carbonate in it at all. I am pretty sure that the box describes accurately what is in the box.

It would not be the first time that a company's product and the same company's website are out of synch. Over at bobistheoilguy.com, there is a recurring complaint that the product data sheet (dated May 2012) for Pennzoil Ultra motor oil that is on the Shell US website does not agree with the specifications of the current Pennzoil Ultra product.

The question is, is our box of Ecover bleach left-over old stock, or is the Ecover website outdated? I think that the safe course is to read the box at the time of purchase, and do not assume that the box for the same product will read the same the next time you are in the store.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:36PM
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I feel bad about messing up the conversation about Ecover, but I wanted to say Thank You guys. It's so nice to find answers to my questions :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:35AM
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