This Product Will Whiten Your Laundry Without Bleach—and It’s Probably in Your Fridge!

Everybody loves their laundry to be sparkling white, and using bleach is a common way to achieve this. But bleach isn't the only option—in fact, it can be harmful to your health and the environment.

Whiten without bleachPhoto: Shutterstock

Why is bleach a bad option?

Everybody loves their laundry to be sparkling white and using bleach is a common way to achieve this. But, bleach is not the only or the best option. In fact, bleach can be harmful to your health and the environment.

It can be dangerous. Curious kids will sometimes spill or even drink bleach. If bleach is mixed with other substances (such as vinegar), it produces toxic fumes. Passive exposure to bleach is also a problem. A 2015 study by European researchers found that having bleach in the home resulted in a higher rate of childhood illnesses like tonsillitis, flu and breathing conditions.

But, it is possible to whiten without bleach and the miracle cleaning ingredient is… lemon juice! Lemon juice is a natural, environmentally friendly whitener. (These are the everyday items that take the longest to decompose.)

How does lemon-juice whitening work?

Lemon juice contains high levels of citric acid. The enzymes in the acid react with stains on your laundry to loosen and remove them naturally, leaving fabrics beautifully white. (This whitening effect also works on other things, like your skin, hair and teeth, but it should be used with great care to avoid damage.)

Lemon-juice whitening is best reserved for white laundry as coloured items could fade more quickly if exposed to lemon juice. (Here’s how to fold clothes exactly like Marie Kondo.)

How to whiten clothes when hand-washing

Combine two cups of lemon juice with one cup of salt. Soak the clothes in the solution, rinse them out well, and leave them to dry in the sun. The sunlight also acts as a natural whitener.

How to whiten clothes in a washing machine

Using lemon juice to whiten without bleach is even simpler in a washing machine. Just add a cup of lemon juice along with your detergent and wash as usual. Again, drying the clothes in the sunshine will enhance the whitening effect.

So by using lemon juice instead of bleach in your laundry, you can relax in the knowledge that your clothes will be beautifully white without damaging your health or the environment.

Next, check out these tips that make doing the laundry less of a hassle.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman