Optical Brighteners By Bhakti Satalkar

Bright whites always make us feel good, for which we need the right detergents. A number of detergents contain optical brighteners, which help in making clothes look bright white.

What are Optical Brighteners?

These brighteners are whitening agents, which are used while making plastics, fibers, coatings, dyes, inks, detergents, paper, etc. They help in making the appearance whiter and brighter. When detergent containing optical brighteners is used, it helps to reduce the natural yellowing of the fabric over a period of time. The brighter colored clothes have brighter appearance after they have been washed using detergents containing brighteners. Previously bluing agent for laundry were used to change the appearance of white color clothes. However, now more and more detergents make use of brighteners, so that clothes washed with such detergents look cleaner.

How do Optical Brighteners Work?

They are chemicals, that stay on clean laundry as a coating of microscopic fluorescent particles. When light passes or hits on these fluorescent particles, an optical illusion is created, which tricks the eyes and give it a super clean appearance. The difference between bluing agents used for laundry and optical brighteners is that, the ultraviolet light is absorbed by bluing agents and it is emitted back, which is often blue in color. The blue light overpowers the yellowing light and lends a brighter and whiter color to the fabric.

If you come across laundry detergent ingredients and you do not see optical brighteners mentioned in it, do not be worried. Detergents without brighteners, clean clothes as good as detergents with brighteners, but you will not have the optical effect. At the same time it is important to note, that if optical whiteners do not remain on the fabric, you will not get the same effect. Therefore, one of the laundry tips is to remember that clothes which are washed with detergents containing brighteners have a chemical residue on them. If you want to know, if the detergent you are using contains optical whiteners, see the clothes after they have dried. Clothes washed with detergents containing brighteners will feel stiff, while clothes washed with detergents that do not contain whiteners are soft, right off the line.

List of Laundry Detergents Without Optical Brighteners

If you work with the armed forces, then you may be on the look out for laundry detergent recipe, which does not contain optical whiteners. Although you may learn how to make laundry detergent, you may want to go in for detergents sans these brighteners. The battle uniform should be washed without brightener detergents, lest they become visible in low light environment. Some detergents, which may be used include:

  • Cheer
  • Cheer Free
  • Exchange Select Cold Water Wash
  • Bold Powder
  • all Free Clear
  • CountrySave Liquid detergent
  • Allens Laundry detergent
  • Bi-O-Kleen Laundry detergent
  • Charlie’s Soap
  • ECOS Free and Clear Laundry detergent
  • Mountain Green Liquid Laundry detergent
  • Nature Clean
  • Oxy-Prime Powder
  • Planet Ultra
  • Seventh Generation Laundry detergents
  • Sport-Wash
  • Sun & Earth Liquid
  • WashEZE
  • Woolite, original and dark

If the laundry detergent for baby clothes does contain optical brighteners, then you may want to talk to your child’s pediatrician about the same. At the same time, it is important to note that some people may be allergic to brighteners, therefore if you have a sensitive skin, then you may want to take an allergy test for the same.

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