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What Happens If You Put Cleaning Bleach in Your Hair?

Have you ever wondered what happens if you put cleaning bleach in your hair? Seems like a bad idea, right? Well, you would be correct! We suggest NEVER doing this; we’ll show you why below.

What Happens If You Put Cleaning Bleach in Your Hair?

Cleaning bleach is a strong, toxic agent, and putting it in your hair could leave you with severe chemical burns and cause your hair to turn brittle, dry, and possibly even fall out.

Chemical bleach is not the best thing to use if you want to make your hair lighter in color. Although it may seem like an easy fix, it will leave your hair in much worse condition than you found it and could even cause harm to your skin. 

Cleaning Bleach Is Dangerous for Your Skin

Cleaning bleach contains a very high amount of chlorine, which can be toxic if absorbed into the skin. Prolonged contact with bleach can trigger chlorine toxicity.

Chlorine Toxicity

Chlorine toxicity is a severe condition, which is why cleaning bleach is not the best thing to use on your skin or hair. When high chlorine concentrations are exposed to bare skin, some chemicals soak into the skin and can enter the bloodstream. 

When chlorine enters the bloodstream, it causes a chemical imbalance within the body, creating more problems. The chlorine reacts with water and produces acid, which damages cells. 

Symptoms of chlorine poisoning within the body include:

  1. Burning sensations within the body
  2. Sore Throat
  3. Vomiting
  4. Stomach pain 
  5. Blood in the stool

 If you decide to use cleaning bleach on your hair and start seeing symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. 

Chlorine Is an Allergen

Chlorine is also a dangerous allergen, which means it causes irritation and allergic reactions in many people. Burns and skin lesions will appear if bleach is applied to the skin and left there for too long.

Although it does not cause symptoms on its own, it dries out the skin so much that it irritates existing dermatitis.

When cleaning bleach is applied to the hair and scalp, the high chlorine levels exposed to the skin trigger this reaction. The reaction causes your skin to become red, inflamed, and itchy.

As if the unpleasant symptoms of the allergy aren’t enough, a chlorine allergy is not something you want to ignore. In addition, people with asthma or who already have a highly sensitive airway to the lungs may experience shortness of breath or an asthma flare-up. 

The most common symptoms of a chlorine allergy include:

  • Skin redness and tenderness
  • Rash
  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Trouble Breathing

If you experience any of these symptoms after applying cleaning bleach to your hair, seek medical attention promptly. 

Chlorine Damages Hair

Not only does the high concentration of chlorine cause damage to your body’s cells and skin, but it is also extremely damaging to your hair. This is because chlorine dries out your hair follicles by sucking the natural oils out of them and leaving behind a dry, brittle piece of hair. 

Cleaning bleach changes the chemical structure within the hair follicle. It reacts with the chemical bonds that hold the hair strands together and causes permanent damage.

Hair is constructed of hydrogen and disulfide bonds which do not blend well with the chemicals present in chlorine. That is why you should avoid bleaching your hair with cleaning bleach and utilize another safe way to make your hair lighter in color. 

Safe Ways to Lighten Hair Color Without Using Bleach

For a piece on what happens if you put cleaning bleach in your hair, a few cut lemons on a table


Since cleaning bleach is not an ideal agent to use on your hair and scalp, you must find another, safer way to lighten your hair color. Avoiding bleach will help preserve your hair and keep your skin and body safe. 

Other ways to lighten your hair color without using bleach include apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and water and visiting a professional hair stylist for a natural approach. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural and safe way to make your hair lighter without using bleach. The vinegar helps to balance the PH level of your hair, which keeps it fuller and more robust.

It also cleanses the hair follicles of build-up and dark matter, which will naturally create a lighter and brighter color in your hair. 

How to use apple cider vinegar as a lightening agent for your hair:
  1. Mix ½ cup vinegar with ½ cup water and pour into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray small sections of your hair at a time to ensure you get the mixture on each strand of hair.
  3. Let the vinegar mixture soak into your hair for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. After the allotted time has passed, gently rinse your hair, and wash with shampoo and conditioner. 
  5. Let your hair air dry, or towel dry it for best results. 

Be sure to keep the vinegar spray away from your eyes, nose, and throat, as it can cause burning and irritation in and around these areas. 

Lemon Juice and Water

The same approach can be taken but using lemon juice instead of apple cider vinegar. Some people are sensitive to the smell of vinegar, in which case lemon juice would be a better option. 

The steps you would take to lighten your hair with apple cider vinegar and water can also be taken, but with lemon juice and water instead. 

For a lemon juice mixture, mix two parts water with 1 part lemon juice and apply to your hair. Leave the mixture overnight before rinsing and washing your hair for the best results. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Image of a piece on what happens if you bleach your hair with cleaning bleach

Katerina Morozova/Shutterstock

When it comes to bleaching your hair, it’s always best to ask questions before you set out to complete the task. Here are some of the most common questions regarding DIY hair bleaching. 

Can you bleach your hair with Clorox?

Clorox is a famous brand of cleaning bleach and is full of chlorine. Clorox will lighten the color of your hair, but it will also damage it for the same reasons discussed earlier.

Is it safe to let bleach on my hair overnight?

Although you may not experience any discomfort leaving the bleach on your hair overnight, it is not recommended. Bleach contains high levels of chlorine which can penetrate the skin if left in contact with it for too long.

Can I bleach my hair using honey?

Yes! Mixing honey with cinnamon, water, or even lemon juice will make your hair appear lighter. You can apply it directly to your scalp. You won’t have to worry about any unwanted side effects like you might experience with bleach.

Will my hair turn white if I bleach it?

Bleach will take the natural color out of your hair but shouldn’t completely turn it white. However, white hair could be a possibility depending on how light your natural color is.

Will my hair fall out if I bleach it?

Bleach is extremely damaging to hair and could cause your hair to die and ultimately fall out; however, it is unlikely that this will happen after just one use.

So, What Happens If You Put Cleaning Bleach in Your Hair?

Cleaning bleach will dry out your hair follicles and cause severe damage to your hair. NEVER use it in your hair. It can also irritate and cause allergic reactions to the skin. It is best to lighten your hair using a natural approach and always avoid using cleaning bleach.