Can You Bleach Hair With Clorox?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Sometimes we need a change. A unique shade of lipstick, a new outfit, a stunning cut, a major change in hair color. Maybe it’s due to boredom and restlessness. Perhaps we saw something inspiring in a fashion magazine. It could be the start of a fresh new season. Or maybe it’s a knee-jerk reaction to an emotionally explosive end of a draining train wreck of a relationship. 

Whatever the reason, it’s best to take a deep breath before doing something drastic. Or unchangeable. Or unsafe. Bleaching your own hair with a household product, for instance.

If you’ve found yourself musing, “Can you bleach hair with Clorox?”, it’s time to put the bottle down and read on. 


Can you bleach hair with Clorox?  



Uh uh.

Just don’t do it. Don’t believe us? Here’s why.

What’s in Clorox?

The Clorox Company is a U.S. corporation that manufactures a number of common name brand products, such as Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, Greenworks, Brita, SOS, Pine-sol, Glad, and of course, Clorox bleach.

Clorox bleach is a household product that is used to whiten laundry, remove stains, disinfect surfaces and kill mold, bacteria, and other germs.

Clorox is a mixture of several strong chemicals. Its main active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite, also known as hypochlorous acid. At 7.4%, its formula is more concentrated than most bleach products.

Harmful Effects of Bleach

There are detailed fact sheets about the dangers of sodium hypochlorite on the human body. It is considered a hazardous substance.

Possible dangers include irritation, discoloration, and serious chemical burns on the skin, severe damage to eyes, irritation or injury to lungs upon inhalation, as well as dizziness, headaches, and nausea with over-exposure.

What happens if you get cleaning bleach in your hair?

What about hair, you ask? If you’re miraculously careful and somehow manage to avoid harming yourself while beaching your hair with Clorox, what will happen? 

For starters, it will lighten your hair. Drastically. It could turn white or even react with existing products in your hair to turn it into bizarre shades of orange or yellow.

That’s the best-case scenario.

It very well may negatively alter the texture and strength of the hair shaft. Your hair might end up breaking or…are you listening?…fall out.

Not the look most of us are going for.

Are hair bleach and bleach the same thing?

Manic Panic Bleach kit

OK. Now that I’ve answered the question “Can you bleach hair with Clorox?” and you’re (hopefully) tossing that option into the ‘NO’ pile, let’s look at alternatives.

Are hair bleach and bleach the same thing?

The word bleach was poorly chosen. There are different types of bleaching agents and they are not all made from or made for the same thing. 

Household bleach, as previously mentioned, is not meant for hair. Its main ingredient is sodium hypochlorite, which is corrosive and dangerous. These products should only be used for things like bathroom mold, bacteria-laden surfaces, and stained towels.

Clothing, skin, eyes, and lungs should be protected when cleaning with this type of bleach.

Hair bleach is a different story. Yes, safety measures should still be used while handling hair bleach. However, unlike household bleach, it is manufactured specifically for use on hair.

Most hair bleach contains hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, which remove the pigment from hair.

In low concentrations and in the right conditions, this chemical can be applied safely. But even done right, overuse can lead to dry, brittle, and even damaged hair.

What can you bleach your hair with?   

No products found.

If you’re looking to lighten your hair safely and effectively, there are some options. 

Permanent products can bleach hair using ammonia (an alkaline agent) and an oxidizing agent such as hydrogen peroxide. Once you’ve applied it though, there’s no going back. 

Demi-permanent hair bleach typically uses a less potent alkaline agent like sodium carbonate or ethanolomine together with hydrogen peroxide to achieve long-term results. 

There is no semi-permanent or temporary product that can lighten the shade of your hair. 

Going to a professional hairstylist is the best way to get a top-notch look, but home coloring kits are widely available in drug stores and supermarkets. But there are plenty of home bleaching options like the No products found. shown above.

How to bleach hair without bleach

If the idea of using bleach on your hair leaves you feeling queasy (sorry!), why not consider a natural alternative? After all, you don’t have to go the chemical route.

There are many substances that have a less drastic and less harmful (and less pricey) bleaching effect than traditional beauty products. Perhaps you could try one of these before heading to your stylist or pharmacy.

Below you’ll see a few household items that will be gentler on precious locks and are easy to find around the home. After applying them to the hair, expose your hair to sunlight, then wash out. The longer they stay in the hair, the lighter your hair will become.

  • Lemon juice
  • Vinegar
  • Honey
  • Chamomile tea
  • Cinnamon 
  • Salt water
  • Vitamin C

For instructions on how to achieve stunning natural results, visit this page for more details.

How to bleach hair extensions with household bleach

If you have human hair extensions, using Clorox to bleach them might not be a bad idea. After all, they won’t be on your head during the bleaching process, so your skin and eyes will be safe.

If it’s diluted with water, the bleach will be less harmful.

Here’s how to do it. 

  1. Remove the extensions from your hair. 
  2. Wash the extensions well.
  3. Put on rubber gloves and ventilate the room well.
  4. Fill a sink or basin with water – enough to cover the extensions.
  5. Add one or two cups of Clorox bleach (don’t add any other chemicals).
  6. Put the extensions in the solution and use a comb to detangle and smooth them for about 5 minutes. 
  7. Rinse with fresh water. Shampoo, condition, rinse and dry.

Remember, household bleach should be handled carefully at all times. You should use it for cleaning and disinfecting your home, but when it comes to your hair, stick with the real deal. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).