Does Bleach Cleaning Weaken Wood?

      Not appreciably, compared to sunlight and weather effects. December 1, 2005

Question
I've read peroxide bleaching of hardwood floorboards is inadvisable, as it weakens the wood fibers. Is a Clorox bleaching of pine floorboards equally inadvisable? In order to prevent mold/mildew/fungus growth during humid summer air drying, I've Clorox bleached some white pine with 1/6 bleach diluted in water. I would think this solution would be so weak as to have little effect on the strength of the wood - we were really hoping to use these boards as floorboards.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor C:
You are right. What you have done will have little effect on the strength of the floorboards. A slightly more dilute solution than you used is commonly sold as deckwash and used to clean wooden decking before recoating. Older decks may have had such treatments 10 or more times. The wood fibers are beginning to go soft on them, but 99% of their deterioration is a result of weathering and sunlight. Very little can properly be attributed to the use of bleach for periodic cleaning.



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