November 11, 2012

A Laundry Phenomenon

The other day Bossy went to the store to buy her usual laundry detergent. But there was something different about the way the plastic jug felt in Bossy’s fist:


But Bossy is accustomed to companies changing their packaging, which Bossy loves as much as discovering Ikea’s votive candles occasionally feature a mind-numbing divot.

Once settled home with Bossy’s newly purchased detergent, it didn’t seem to alarm Bossy when the laundry liquid flowed into the washing machine in a uniquely unencumbered way. Sort of like water compared to honey.

Bossy simply settled her dark load into the filling tub and went about her business, where her business equals napping.

Soon it was time to switch that load into the dryer, which Bossy accomplished without inspecting her clothes because Bossy had stuff to do, where stuff to do equals napping. Bossy then stuffed her washing machine with her second load and poured the detergent, which once again didn’t offer the usual syrupy resistance.

It was then Bossy grabbed a look at her laundry detergent label:


That’s right, it was chlorine-free bleach. The first thing Bossy did was panic since she had just poured this bleach directly over her dark clothes. The next thing Bossy did was think: isn’t the whole point of bleach the chlorine?

And so Bossy investigated (so you don’t have to.) Turns out stains are just a collection of chromophores, which are molecules that determine color. Each chromophore molecule absorbs certain wavelengths of light while reflecting others, and it’s this that determines that molecule’s specific ratio of red, yellow, and blue:


So stains are just chromophores. Chromophores and ketchup.

And chlorine-free bleach is an oxygen bleach, meaning it utilizes ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide to lift the stain molecules without affecting the color dyes of the garment.

But all Bossy knows is her favorite tank top remained intact!



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