Distinguishing Ammonia from Bleach

Ammonia vs Bleach

Both ammonia and bleach are commonly used as household cleaners, and understanding the differences between the two can help determine the most appropriate product for a particular cleaning task. While both are inexpensive and effective, it is important to know how to use each one properly.

Key Takeaways

  • Ammonia and bleach are low-cost, efficient alternatives to commercial cleaners.
  • Ammonia does not change the color of the object being cleaned, while bleach often lightens it.
  • Ammonia is typically used on hard surfaces, while bleach is used on fabrics.

What is Ammonia?

Ammonia (NH3) is composed of three hydrogen atoms and one nitrogen atom. It is artificially produced by combining these four atoms, but it can also be found naturally in the atmosphere as a result of the decomposition of organic matter. Ammonia is popular for cleaning glass, tiles, and other hard surfaces because it does not change the color of the object or surface being cleaned. However, it has a strong, pungent smell and is considered caustic and hazardous.

What is Bleach?

Bleach is another widely used cleaner, typically used on fabrics, dishes, and ceramics in a diluted solution. It is commonly used to lighten or remove color, whiten, or disinfect objects. Oxidizing bleach works by breaking the chemical bonds of chromophore, the molecule responsible for color. Bleach is produced by combining chlorine, water, and caustic soda. Non-chlorine bleaches are based on peroxides, such as sodium percarbonate, sodium perborate, or hydrogen peroxide.

What is the difference between Ammonia and Bleach?

Although both ammonia and bleach are inexpensive and effective household cleaners, they have distinct differences. Ammonia can clean without changing the color of the object, while bleach often lightens it. Ammonia is typically used on hard surfaces, while bleach is used on fabrics. Both cleaners should be diluted in water before use and should never be mixed together, as this can result in toxic fumes.


Ammonia vs Bleach

• Ammonia and bleach are cheap yet effective alternatives to commercial cleaners.
• Both ammonia and bleach can be used on difficult-to-clean areas and surfaces.
• Ammonia can clean without discoloring the object. On the contrary, bleach usually makes the object’s color lighter.
• Ammonia is made up of three atoms of hydrogen and one atom nitrogen while bleach is made up of chlorine, water and some type of soda.
• Ammonia is usually used on hard surfaces whereas bleach is used on fabrics.
Further Reading:

Difference Between Clorex and Bleach
Difference Between Ammonia and Ammonium Hydroxide
Difference Between Ammonia and Ammonium
Difference Between Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate

Image Attribution: Ammonia and Bleach by caesararum (CC BY 2.0)

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Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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