Bleaching Powder Uses | Meaning, Properties, pH Value, Preparation,


Through this write-up, we aim to impart detailed information on bleaching powder. We have listed down bleaching powder uses for you. 

Explore the meaning, chemical name, and properties of bleaching powder. Also, know its pH value and how is it prepared.

Explore the various uses and applications of bleaching powder across households and industries.

Also, get some of your general queries answered regarding bleaching powder.

Related Topic:- What is pH value?

What is bleaching powder?

Bleaching powder is a chemical formula that is a mix of chemicals. The main constituents are sodium hypochlorite (3-6% solution) mixed with a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, and calcium hypochlorite.

Bleaching powder is popularly used to remove stains or colours from clothing or surfaces. It is an invaluable element for most households and certain industrial units.

Bleaching powder is a highly reactive and unstable chemical and needs to be handled with caution and care. In dry form, it is a white powder.

In the liquid state, it is a yellowish solution with a characteristic strong odour. The concentration of bleaching powder dictates the potency of its bleaching effect.

What is the chemical name of bleaching powder?

Calcium Hypochlorite is the chemical name for bleaching powder. Bleaching powder is also known as the chloride of lime.

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What are the chemical properties of bleaching powder?

We have listed down the chemical and physical properties of bleaching powder which are as follows:-

  • It is a powder with a yellowish-white colour
  • It has a strong smell of chlorine
  • Bleaching powder is soluble in water but does not form a clear solution as impurities are present in it
  • When exposed to air, it reacts with CO2 gas present in the air to produce chlorine gas and calcium carbonate.

CaOCl2        +           CO2                           CaOCl2       +       H2O

Bleaching powder       chlorine               bleaching powder          water 

When reacted with dilute hydrochloric acid or dilute sulphuric acid, the chlorine gas in it is liberated.

  • Reaction with dilute hydrochloric acid

CaOCl2       +          2HCl                     CaCl2     +       Cl2    +    H2O

Bleaching powder – hydrochloric acid –  calcium chloride – chlorine – water 

  • Reaction with dilute sulphuric acid

CaOCl2       +         H2SO4                  CaSO4     +       Cl2    +     H2O

Bleaching powder –  sulphuric acid –   calcium sulphate – chlorine –     water 

What is the pH value of bleaching powder?

For domestic purposes, there is usually 5% sodium hypochlorite in bleaching powder.

Domestic uses bleaching powder has a pH of 11. This is slightly irritating to the skin.

Concentrated bleaching powder has a pH of 13 which makes it highly alkaline. This is because it has 10-15% of sodium hypochlorite.

With this pH, bleaching powder is corrosive and can cause skin burns when contacted.

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What is bleaching powder uses?

Bleaching powder is extensively used to remove stains from fabrics or various surfaces. However, there are several other uses of bleaching powder.

We have listed down various ways in which bleaching powder can be used which are as follows:-

To clean the old items

Old items such as jewellery or showpieces made up of steel or metal can be effectively cleaned with bleaching powder.

Bleaching powder mixed with a little dishwasher in warm water is the best. Soak the waterproof items for a few hours, rinse them with clean water, and let them dry in the sunlight.

You will have cleaned items that look new or fresh.

Whiten clothes and remove stains

Stains from various surfaces or clothes can be easily and effectively removed with the help of bleaching powder.

Rub some bleaching powder over the stain with some water. Leave it for some time. Wash it thoroughly and see the stain gone from it.

As a bathroom cleaner

Thoroughly mixed equal parts of water and bleaching powder are excellent as a bathroom cleaner.

Spray the solution over the bathroom tiles or marble and rinse off after 15-20 minutes. This leaves the surface disinfected, shining and clean.

To make the glass dishware glow

Mixing bleaching powder to the soapy dishwater and cleaning the glass dishware will make it shining, clean and disinfect it.

This can be used for other utensils or dishware as well.

An household disinfectant spray

Bleaching powder is a disinfectant agent and is effective in disinfecting your house.

Mixing it with hot water and spraying it for cleaning various surfaces and places in your house will do the work.

Kill walkway weeds

Bleaching powder is the solution to your walkway weed issues. Pulling them out can be overwhelming and time taking.

Pour some undiluted bleaching powder over the walkway weeds and after 2-3 days remove them efficiently without any efforts.

Sanitize garden and kitchen tools

You can clean and sterilize your garden tools by washing it with bleaching powder mixed in water.

Dry the tools and equipment in sunlight. To prevent rusting, rub a few drops of oil over the tools once dried.

Plastic furniture

To make your plastic furniture look new and free of germs, mild bleaching powder mixed with some mild detergent water is the best solution.

Disinfect garbage pel cans

The garbage pel cans have a pungent and unpleasant odour. Remove any debris in the cans or containers.

In warm water, add some dish-washing liquid and bleaching powder. Use this mixture to clean the garbage can.

Rinse the container and let it dry in the sun.

Preserve fresh cut flowers

By adding some bleach in the vase water can help you in preserving the fresh cut flowers.

Also, you can inhibit bacterial growth by adding a few drops of bleach and some sugar in the water. This prevents the water from getting cloudy.

Disinfect medical tools

Soaking the medical tools and equipment in some warm water mixed with bleaching powder can efficiently disinfect them and clean them thoroughly.

Also, it makes them last longer and maintains the shine and glow.

Sanitize floors, doors and windows

Bleaching powder mixed in water can be used to clean and sanitize the doors, windows and floors in households, offices, hospitals, malls and other places.

This removes the germs and bacteria from surfaces and makes it clean and shining.

Oxidizing agent

Bleaching powder is used in various industries and manufacturing units as an oxidizing agent.

This is because it is CaOCl2 and it reacts with dilute acids to release chlorine gas.

Chlorine is a strong oxidizing agent and contributes to the real action of bleaching powder.

In chloroform manufacturing

As bleaching powder is an oxidizing agent, it is used to prepare chloroform in laboratories by reacting with ethanol or acetone.

Bleaching powder, in this reaction, acts as a hydrolyzing agent and oxidizing chlorinating.

Therefore, it serves as an essential element in the preparation of chloroform.

How is the bleaching powder prepared?

Manufacture of bleaching powder takes place in two different types of manufacturing plants which are as follows:-

  • Backmann Plant
  • Hasenclever Plant

The chemical reaction is denoted as follows:-

Ca (OH) 2     +     Cl2                              CaOCl2     +     H2O

We have discussed the manufacturing method of bleaching powder through both the methods as follows:

Backmann Plant

The plant has a vertical cast-iron tower with a hoper at the tops and two inlets which are placed near the base.

One inlet is for chlorine and another one for hot air. Also, there is an exit for the waste gases near the top.

There are eight shelves fitted in the tower at different heights. Each shelf is equipped with rotating rakes.

Through the hopper, slaked lime is put in contact with chlorine which slowly moves upwards.

The bleaching powder is then collected at the base in a barrel.

The temperature throughout the process is maintained below 40 degrees Celsius. Also, the chlorine used should be diluted.

Hasenclever Plant

In this plant, there are a certain number of hollow horizontal cylinders iron fitted with shafts.

They have a large number of blades that are fixed along the entire length which can be rated inside the cylinders.

There are a hopper and a waste outlet at the top. There is an inlet in the lowermost cylinder and an outlet to collect the bleaching powder.

Through the hopper, slaked lime is entered into the plant and moved forward by the rotating shafts.

Chlorine gas is passed through the inlet in the lowermost cylinder. It reacts with slaked lime to form bleaching powder.

Ultimately, through the outlet at the bottom of the lowermost cylinder, bleaching powder is collected in a vessel or barrel.

Are bleach and bleaching powder the same?

No, bleach and bleaching powder are not the same. Although they both are the most common chlorine-based bleaches they differ in the following way:-

Also known as Sodium Hypochlorite.Also known as Chloride of Lime or Chlorinated Lime.
It is a 3 to 6% solution in water used in households to whiten laundry, remove stains from fabrics and other hard surfaces, disinfecting drinking and swimming pool water etc.It is a mixture of Calcium Hypochlorite, Calcium Hydroxide and Calcium Chloride. It has a similar application as to bleach but is considered more stable and has more chlorine content.

Can we use bleaching powder in drinking water?

Yes, bleaching powder is used as a disinfectant in the water. It is used for purification of water.

It helps in making the drinking water free from harmful micro-organisms.

However, only a limited amount with a certain concentration level is used for this purpose.

Use of highly concentrated bleaching powder can lead to harmful consequences for health.

Also, only a certain and recommended amount should be used for water purification purposes.

Is bleaching powder harmful to skin?

Yes, bleaching powder can be harmful to the skin. It is a highly reactive and unstable chemical with a pH value of 11 in a diluted state.

This can be irritating to the skin if directly contacted with without proper precautions.

In its concentrated form, bleaching powder has a ph value of 13. At this pH value, it is considered to be corrosive. When contacted with the skin, it can cause burns.

The severity of harm to the skin depends on the concentration of bleaching powder.

Therefore, it should always be handled with care with proper precautions and safety measures.

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