Bleach Misery

Tuesday 23rd November 2021

My two-litre vat of thin bleach has lasted half a life-time. The label’s even fallen off, an unspeakable hazard, I suppose.

I tip a little into the cap of the bottle, then apply with a Q-tip to horrors on whites. Why, oh why does God allow inexplicable stains from nowhere that won’t come out?

Why? Why?

At least He created thin bleach and we must strive and strive to get stains out.

So I launch forth to get more thin bleach. Beginning at Waitrose, of course. Only thick, in every known flavour. I try bigger branches. I look online. Tesco appear to have it. Go to a Tesco. Same story. Only thick, limitless supply. I shout through the door of a Pound Shop. I lobby the stall in the market, also the DIY shop there. Then I think, maybe country branches. Huge out of town stores. Surely they won’t have abolished thin bleach. Sainsbury’s Hastings so hopeful. Huge premises. How could they fail? But they did. Then the Tesco in the Far West. Nothing. I rail in the aisles. A crowd gathers. ‘Get thick and dilute it,’ somebody says as if I were incredibly dim. No, no, no. Thick‘s got jelly in it. I must have thin. Only thin will do. To pour into the cap. How can I do that with thick and dilute? It would spill everywhere.

How could they have got rid of thin bleach?

The only possibility is buying an industrial-sized carboy from Amazon. But I don’t want five litres, I want two. Finally, finally a glimmer. Asda have a picture online of a 2-litre bottle of bleach. I hunt down branches and set forth. Arrival in Whitechapel is tremendous, although it’s one of those days in later life for feeling shattered. I home straight in on the bleach aisle and at once collapse into despair. Queue at Customer Services. Not a big enough branch. Try the Isle of Dogs. Another week passes before I can gather the strength for the bleak wilds of the lower Thames. The route threads through wastelands and along the banks of our grey slapping National River itself. Some of the streets indicated have been dug up to the extent they are no longer there. Sometimes it’s blocks of flats, even a park, then a Coronation street-type row, heavily veiled in the bay windows. At last, the usual super-store car park and dead trees. Within a 33-check out expanse and the bleach aisle. Sitting there, pushed slightly forward in expectation, one 2-litre bottle of thin bleach. 32p. Quite clearly it says, ‘thin bleach’ on the bottle. It might as well have been the Virgin herself manifesting. My gratitude was infinite. Also the price. I wasn’t sure how to pay so little. 32p.

Maybe they should up the price up and make it more worthwhile.

I don’t see this miracle happening again. Let’s hope my new bottle lasts me all my days.

Thin Bleach hope: The Old and the New which Will have to Last all My Days

Thin Bleach hope: The Old and the New which Will have to Last all My Days

Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2021 under Adrian Edge day by day.


  1. Glad to know your brave and relentless battle was finally rewarded. Thin bleach, or eau de javel, is widely available in France, you could load up next time. Also comes in slim sachets, but I fear your nerves could not support bursting the plastic open in your laundry area, potentially splashing your non-whites.

  2. Thrilled to hear thin bleach still going strong in France. The thought even of a sachet of bleach shatters my nerves unfort

  3. As you may recall, the 2005 teenage vandalising of our chateau fragment involved throwing bleach over the furnishings. For a while, I kept no eau de javel in the home, but I’ve moved on.

  4. Oh yes! that terrible episode but how superbly you rose above it. Can’t believe it’s 16 years ago. Seems like yesterday.

  5. Roger A. Mueller says:

    Adrian–at an Asda–anywhere–much less in East London?! You deserve to make the Queen’s Honours List. And you’ll receive the OBE in brightest white.

  6. I do hope so

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