The two broad types of bleaches incorporated into Mountain’s products are
- Oxygen based bleach
- Chlorine based bleach
Both types bleach, and kill germs and mould. Neither type actually cleans, and must be combined with cleaning agents such as found in PeroxyClean, Wonderwash and Chlorfoam, to clean as well as bleach and sanitise.
Oxygen based bleaches
Liquid oxygen bleaching products contain hydrogen peroxide, and solid (powder) oxygen bleaches, such as laundry stain remover powder, contain sodium percarbonate. The oxygen based bleaches act using “oxy-action”, that is they are reactive chemicals that readily breakdown to release oxygen, which in turn oxidises organic matter, causing bleaching.
For example blood proteins in bloodstains, dirt, tannins in wine, proteins in urine are oxidised or “bleached away” and the stain (and smell) disappears.
These bleaches are very safe and easy to use and are generally less harsh than chlorine based bleach.
Oxygen based bleaches are activated by:
- Temperature e.g. the addition of warm to hot water – the hotter the temperature, the faster the bleach will start to work.
- High pH (alkalinity), so, for example, in a clothes wash, combination with washing powder will activate the oxygen bleach.
- Contamination i.e if the oxygen bleach comes into contact with organic matter it is activated. You will often see PeroxyClean “fizz” as it works, especially on food particles and mould.
Chlorine based bleach
Sodium hypochlorite (sodium hypo), also known as chlorine, also commonly known as bleach are the same chemical. Sodium hypochlorite is a very effective bleaching agent but requires more careful handling than oxygen-based bleach.
It cannot be mixed with certain other chemicals e.g. acids, because poisonous chlorine gas will be produced. Chlorine based bleach is also corrosive to metals and must be throughly rinsed off metal to prevent discolouration. Also, the smell of chlorine can be irritating to some people.
Sodium hypochlorite is a strong and effective chemical AND it is also highly biodegradable, and quite fine to run off onto vegetation (at the right dose), facts that often surprise.