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Chlorine vs. Bleach: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Chlorine is a chemical element used as a disinfectant and for water purification. Bleach is a chemical compound used for whitening, disinfecting, and removing color from fabrics and surfaces.
Chlorine vs. Bleach

Key Differences

Chlorine is a chemical element, symbol Cl, found in the periodic table. It is a greenish-yellow gas at room temperature and is highly reactive. Bleach, on the other hand, is a chemical product that typically contains a solution of sodium hypochlorite or other compounds and is used for cleaning, disinfecting, and removing stains.
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Nov 22, 2023
Chlorine is used in various forms, such as gaseous chlorine, liquid chlorine solution, and in compounds like sodium hypochlorite. Bleach, especially household bleach, is a diluted form of sodium hypochlorite, which contains chlorine as an active ingredient for its cleaning and disinfecting properties.
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Nov 22, 2023
In water treatment, chlorine is used to kill bacteria and other microorganisms to make water safe for drinking. Bleach, while also used for disinfection, is more commonly used in households for laundry, cleaning surfaces, and removing stains.
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Nov 22, 2023
Chlorine in its pure form is hazardous and can be toxic, requiring careful handling. Bleach, although also requiring careful handling, is less hazardous in its diluted form but can still be harmful if misused or mixed with other chemicals.
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Nov 22, 2023
Both chlorine and bleach have disinfectant properties, but their applications vary. Chlorine is primarily used in industrial and water treatment processes, while bleach is a common household cleaning and laundry product.
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Nov 22, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Chemical element (Cl).
Chemical compound, often sodium hypochlorite.
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Nov 22, 2023

Primary Use

Disinfecting water, industrial applications.
Cleaning, whitening, and disinfecting surfaces and fabrics.
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Nov 22, 2023

Form

Gas or liquid in various compounds.
Usually a liquid solution.
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Nov 22, 2023

Toxicity

Highly toxic in its pure form.
Toxic, particularly in concentrated forms.
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Nov 22, 2023

Application

Water treatment, swimming pools.
Household cleaning, laundry.
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Nov 22, 2023
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Chlorine and Bleach Definitions

Chlorine

A poisonous gas, symbol Cl, used in industrial processes.
Chlorine is used in the manufacture of PVC.
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Nov 17, 2023

Bleach

Commonly used as a disinfectant in households.
Bleach is effective in killing germs on kitchen counters.
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Nov 17, 2023

Chlorine

A yellow-green gas used as a disinfectant.
Chlorine is added to swimming pools to keep the water clean.
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Nov 17, 2023

Bleach

A solution containing sodium hypochlorite or similar compounds.
The bathroom was cleaned using a bleach solution.
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Nov 17, 2023

Chlorine

A chemical element with strong oxidizing properties.
Chlorine reacts with water to form hydrochloric acid and oxygen.
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Nov 17, 2023
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Bleach

Used to remove color or to disinfect.
Bleach is often added to laundry to brighten whites.
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Nov 17, 2023

Chlorine

An element used in bleaching and disinfectants.
Chlorine bleach is effective in removing stains from clothing.
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Nov 17, 2023

Bleach

To remove the color from, as by means of chemical agents or sunlight
Over time, the exposure to sunlight bleached the rug in front of the window.
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Oct 19, 2023

Chlorine

Used in water treatment to eliminate harmful bacteria.
Drinking water is often treated with chlorine for purification.
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Nov 17, 2023

Bleach

To make white or colorless
Dawn bleached the mountains.
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Oct 19, 2023

Chlorine

A highly irritating, greenish-yellow halogen element, existing as a diatomic gas, Cl2, and capable of combining with nearly all other elements, produced principally by electrolysis of sodium chloride and used widely to disinfect water, as a bleaching agent, and in the manufacture of many important compounds including chlorates, sodium hypochlorite, and chloroform. Atomic number 17; atomic weight 35.453; freezing point -100.5°C; boiling point -34.04°C; specific gravity 1.56 (-33.6°C); valence 1, 3, 5, 7. See Periodic Table.
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Bleach

To whiten by causing the death or expulsion of algal symbionts from (coral).
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Oct 19, 2023

Chlorine

A toxic, green, gaseous chemical element (symbol Cl) with an atomic number of 17.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

To act as or use a bleach.
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Oct 19, 2023

Chlorine

(countable) A single atom of this element.
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Bleach

To become white as a result of the loss of algal symbionts, usually following an environmental stress such as increased water temperature. Used of coral.
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Oct 19, 2023

Chlorine

One of the elementary substances, commonly isolated as a greenish yellow gas, two and one half times as heavy as air, of an intensely disagreeable suffocating odor, and exceedingly poisonous. It is abundant in nature, the most important compound being common salt (Sodium chloride). It is powerful oxidizing, bleaching, and disinfecting agent. Symbol Cl. Atomic weight, 35.4.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

A chemical agent used for bleaching.
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Oct 19, 2023

Chlorine

A common nonmetallic element belonging to the halogens; best known as a heavy yellow irritating toxic gas; used to purify water and as a bleaching agent and disinfectant; occurs naturally only as a salt (as in sea water)
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

The act of bleaching.
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Bleach

The degree of bleaching obtained.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

(archaic) Pale; bleak.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

(transitive) To treat with bleach, especially so as to whiten (fabric, paper, etc.) or lighten (hair).
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

(intransitive) To be whitened or lightened (by the sun, for example).
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Bleach

To lose color due to stress-induced expulsion of symbiotic unicellular algae.
Once coral bleaching begins, corals tend to continue to bleach even if the stressor is removed.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

To make meaningless; to divest of meaning; to make empty.
Semantically bleached words that have become illocutionary particles
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

(uncountable) A chemical, such as sodium hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide, or a preparation of such a chemical, used for disinfecting or whitening.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

(countable) A variety of bleach.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

An act of bleaching; exposure to the sun.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

A disease of the skin.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

To make white, or whiter; to remove the color, or stains, from; to blanch; to whiten.
The destruction of the coloring matters attached to the bodies to be bleached is effected either by the action of the air and light, of chlorine, or of sulphurous acid.
Immortal liberty, whose look sublimeHath bleached the tyrant's cheek in every varying clime.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

To grow white or lose color; to whiten.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

The whiteness that results from removing the color from something;
A complete bleach usually requires several applications
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

An agent that makes things white or colorless
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

The act of whitening something by bleaching it (exposing it to sunlight or using a chemical bleaching agent)
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

Remove color from;
The sun bleached the red shirt
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

Make whiter or lighter;
Bleach the laundry
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Oct 19, 2023

Bleach

A chemical for whitening clothes and surfaces.
She used bleach to remove the tough stains from her white shirt.
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Nov 17, 2023

Bleach

A strong cleaning agent that can be hazardous.
She used gloves while cleaning with bleach to protect her skin.
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Nov 17, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is bleach?

Bleach is a chemical compound, often sodium hypochlorite, used for cleaning and whitening.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

How is chlorine used in water treatment?

Chlorine disinfects water by killing bacteria and other pathogens.
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Nov 22, 2023

Can bleach be used for disinfecting surfaces?

Yes, bleach is effective in disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces.
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Nov 22, 2023

What is chlorine?

Chlorine is a chemical element, often used for disinfection and purification.
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Nov 22, 2023

How should I handle bleach safely?

Use bleach in a well-ventilated area and avoid mixing it with other chemicals.
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Nov 22, 2023

Can bleach harm fabrics?

Yes, bleach can damage colored fabrics and delicate materials.
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Nov 22, 2023

Is chlorine used in cleaning products?

Yes, chlorine is used in various disinfectant and cleaning products.
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Nov 22, 2023

What are the dangers of chlorine gas?

Chlorine gas can be toxic and harmful to the respiratory system.
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Nov 22, 2023

Is chlorine safe for swimming pools?

When used correctly, chlorine effectively keeps pool water clean and safe.
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Nov 22, 2023

What's the difference between chlorine and bleach?

Chlorine is a chemical element, while bleach is a product containing chlorine compounds.
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Nov 22, 2023

Can I use bleach for laundry?

Yes, bleach is often used to whiten and brighten clothes.
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Nov 22, 2023

Is chlorine found in bleach?

Yes, chlorine is an active ingredient in many types of bleach.
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Nov 22, 2023

How do chlorine and bleach affect the environment?

Both can be harmful to the environment if not used and disposed of properly.
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Nov 22, 2023

Can chlorine in water cause skin irritation?

Yes, high levels of chlorine in water can cause skin and eye irritation.
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Nov 22, 2023

What precautions are needed when using chlorine?

Proper ventilation and protective gear are important when using chlorine.
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Nov 22, 2023

What are alternatives to chlorine and bleach for disinfection?

Alternatives include hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and alcohol-based solutions.
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Nov 22, 2023

How does bleach remove stains?

Bleach breaks down and removes the color in stains.
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Nov 22, 2023

Can chlorine and bleach be mixed with other cleaners?

Generally, they should not be mixed with other cleaners, especially ammonia.
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Nov 22, 2023

How are chlorine and bleach used in sanitation?

They are used to kill germs and bacteria in water and on surfaces.
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Nov 22, 2023

Is bleach effective against all types of stains?

Bleach is effective against many stains but not all, especially oil-based stains.
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Nov 22, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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