Since 5000 B.C., people have had knowledge of bleaching fabrics, which defines as the process of “whitening by exposure to sunlight or by a chemical process.” People have had knowledge that they may whiten [bleach] their materials by a process involving moisture and extreme periods of time to sun exposure. The bleaching method, in itself, is a rather old and well-known process to man. People in Asia, Egypt, and Europe all bleached. Egyptians were said to be experts on whitening their materials. They would use the sun to whiten all of their clothes. People had even discovered bleach before the third millennium; they had knowledge of a solution that containing a mixture of wood ash, which would turn into lye [Alkaline: acid: pH scale higher than seven]; they knew that this would remove color.
Many years later, the Dutch established a newer and better way of bleaching in the eleventh and twelfth century AD. During that time, the Dutch specialized in the science of whitening laundry and became well known for their advanced bleaching techniques throughout the European community. They mixed the lye with sour milk to soften the dangerous effects of just the plain lye. Because they monopolized the bleaching business, they did not let anyone know their methods. Because they kept their secrets safe, their methods remained a mystery for many years. The Dutch dominated and maintained their business in the bleaching trade. All manufactured linens in Scotland, which were brown, were shipped to Holland (where the Dutch bleached) to be bleached into white linen.
Their whole method was so lengthy that it could take up to eight months. To accomplish the desired whiteness using lye, the Dutch would have to drench and then sundry the linens that they were bleaching many times. This was very burdensome because it would consume up to eight weeks of time and edition to the land space needed for the linens to lie out in the sun. At the time, the bleaching process would take place in a city in the Netherlands, which contained large fields where linens could be laid down in the sun. The linens were soaked in lye for about a week as the first stage. Usually, boiling potassium lye would be poured over the already soaked linens during the second stage. After that, the linens were squeezed out from the liquid and washed. The linens were then later placed on wooden containers, which were filled with buttermilk. The linens would remain in the wooden containers and soaked for a little less than a week. Finally, the linens were laid over grass. The linens would lay out in the field all summer long in the sunlight, but being moist. This entire processed soaking the linens in the alkaline lye and bleaching them on the grass to lay in major sun exposure, which needed to be repeated five to six times to accomplish the level whiteness desired.
In 1746, John Roebuck began using watered down acid instead, which scientists fancied years before, of the buttermilk. The watered down acid was an extraordinary improvement, which resulted in the application of sulfuric acid in the bleaching process and cut the bleaching time down to only 24 hours, sometimes even less than 12 hours. This was way less than the buttermilk method. The buttermilk usually required seven weeks, and sometimes-even months, depending on the sunlight. The practice of bleaching was reduced from eight months to four, which made the trading of linen a profitable. Twenty-eight long years of using the new watered down acid, in 1774, Swedish Chemist Scheele discovered the element chlorine, which is a highly skin irritating, green-yellowish gas that belongs in the halogen section of elements. Scheele also discovered that chlorine, in itself, was able to demolish color from vegetables. This discovery inspired  scientist Claude Berthollet to modify its utility in the bleaching method, which failed in the beginning. Almost ten years later, in 1794, in a town called Gavel, which is in Paris, chlorine was tried again to bleach. The people produced a chemical by combining a potassium solution with water, and called is “eau de Gavel [water of Gavel]” However, in 1799, a greater discovery to the bleaching industry was provided when Charles Tennant, which is now known as bleaching powder, introduced a chloride of lime.
Today, nearly in every household, you can find laundry bleach. It is much more easier and requires less time than the previous methods. It removes stains and whitens all sorts of materials by a chemical reaction that breaks down the unwanted color into smaller particles, which can be easily washed out. There are two types of household bleaches, peroxide bleach and chlorine bleach. Peroxide bleach, which was first introduced in the 1950s, helps to remove stains, especially in highly elevated water temperatures, but will not bleach most colored materials and does not weaken materials, as chlorine bleach does. Also, peroxide bleach does not kill germs, therefore added to laundry detergents, which can do so and are color-safe. Peroxide also has a longer shelf life than chlorine bleach and therefore is commonly used in Europe, where the, washing machines could reach up to boiling point, but chlorine bleach is the most common household bleach. Chlorine bleach is more effective at removing stains and killing germs in fabrics. Chlorine bleach is very inexpensive to manufacture and can be used in either low or high water temperatures. However, it has very strong chemical properties, which can destroy certain fabrics. [Madehow.com/Volume-2/Bleach.html] The raw materials for the making of household bleach are: chlorine, sodium hydroxide and water. Putting direct current electricity through a sodium chloride salt solution in a process called electrolysis produces the chlorine and sodium hydroxide. Mixing chlorine and sodium hydroxide creates sodium hypochlorite, which is common chlorine bleach. Essentially, bleach is just salt mixed with water that has been changed a little by electrolysis. Bleach is the found in nearly every household. It has survived through time for whitening fabrics and is still used to whiten fabrics to this day. [Howstuffworks.com/question189.htm]
Bleach is very helpful to every house. Bleach could remove color and disinfect mostly any materials, most likely clothes. You could nearly find bleach in any store, from dollar stores, mini markets and grocery shops to Target or Walmart. It is quite fascinating to know that the concept of bleach has been used for thousands of years. It is also quite fascinating to know people that long ago have also desired their materials to have the same whiteness that people today want in their fabrics. Don't people just love fresh, clean clothes? Bleach could help giving you that “clean“ scent. Tell me why people haven't stopped using the bleaching method. I hope you have learned about the concept of bleach, I know I have. I hope every time you wash your clothes you think back to what I have researched and told you. I have learned so many things about bleach; I have spent numerous hours on the computer researching expanding the cells in my brain by gaining knowledge about the concept of bleach. I now know many fascinating things about the people long ago and what they knew. Bleach is very interesting and is very helpful.
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