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Sodium Perborate is a well known bleaching agent in detergents. What makes Sodium Perborate an effective bleaching agent and how is this related to its oxidation chemistry?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Connecting with water, sodium perborate releases hydrogen peroxide. $$\ce{NaBO2*H2O2*3H2O->Na+ + BO2- + H2O2 + 3H2O}$$ $$\ce{H2O2->H+ + HOO-}$$ $$\ce{HOO- ->HO- + O}$$

Dissolution of sodium percarbonate in water at hand washing and the washing machine washing, leads to the formation of the perhydroxy anion. This anion is an effective bleach, but it is formed in sufficient quantities only at temperatures above 60 ° C. From the perhydroxy anion obtain atomic oxygen, which has a strong oxidizing capacity.

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I have still confusion because I cannot figure out the relation between oxidation chemistry and dirt. How dirt is detached from clothes. – ordinary chemistry student Nov 16 '12 at 14:14
Active oxygen accept electrons from the stain. The result: 1) oxygen cleavage of chemical bonds in the stain and breakdown it, after that fragments can be suspended in solution by surfactant action; 2) oxygen change in oxidation state of the stain, rendering it colorless. – Calypso Nov 16 '12 at 16:40

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