It’s time to banish bleach from your laundry room. Not only can chlorine bleach irritate your skin, eyes and lungs, during production it releases carcinogenic dioxins. It is also poisonous to insects and fish.
Here are four ways to whiten your whites with less harmful products you likely already have around the house.
Grab some lemons when doing your next load of laundry. Lemon juice brightens and freshens fabrics naturally. Just add up to 1/2 cup of lemon juice per load with your laundry detergent.
Lemon can also be used to fight stains as a pre-soak. Just boil a large pot of water with a sliced lemon. Take it off the heat and then add clothing and let it soak up to an hour before washing.
Try using hydrogen peroxide as a substitute for bleach on white fabrics (it is not safe for colored fabric). Hydrogen peroxide, which can be found at drug and grocery stores, is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen and is available in several strengths. Pick up a bottle of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide and add up to 1/2 cup with your laundry detergent and run a normal cycle.
You likely use baking soda in other ways around the home, and it can help in the laundry room as well. Baking soda naturally freshens, softens and whitens laundry. Try adding up to 1/2 cup per load with your regular laundry detergent.
You can also use baking soda to spot-treat stains. Just mix some baking soda with a little water and rub it into the stain before washing.
For tough rust stains, pre-treat the stain with some salt mixed with lemon juice. Squeeze lemon juice directly on the stain and then sprinkle some salt on it and let it sit overnight. Then rinse with cool water and wash the item on your washing machine’s cold cycle.