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

Put away the bleach and instead reach for something that could be in your fridge to learn how to whiten clothes without bleach.

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. Bleach can be harmful to your health and the environment.

Why is bleach a bad option?

It can be dangerous. Curious kids will sometimes spill or even drink bleach—check out these tips for making your home safer for young children. 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. And, bleach lingers in the environment once it’s washed away.

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But, it is possible to whiten without bleach and the miracle cleaning ingredient is … lemon juice! Lemon juice is a natural, environmentally friendly whitener. Lemon juice can be used to clean a whole heap of household items without the use of harsh chemicals. It can even be used to remove stains from leather furniture.

How does lemon-juice whitening work?

Lemon juice contains high levels of citric acid. The citric acid reacts 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 colored items could fade more quickly if exposed to lemon juice.

How to whiten clothes when hand-washing

This video tutorial by eHowHome shows you exactly how to hand-wash your laundry with lemon juice. 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.

If you’re left with mineral deposits around your faucet, here’s how to use lemon juice to remove them.

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.

To further promote a healthy home environment, check out these 11 air-purifying houseplants.

Elizabeth Manneh
Elizabeth is an experienced freelance writer, specializing mainly in digital health & transformation, health & wellness, and education & learning. She's been published on ReadersDigest.com, Paysa.com, The Family Handyman, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and The Good Men Project. She was also a regular contributor to Love Live Health and Daily Home Remedy. Elizabeth is a retired primary school principal and education consultant, with a continuing passion for education and learning.