The Secret Ingredient That Whitens Your Laundry (Without Bleach)

Hint: You've probably got it 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 (or even the best) option. In fact, bleach can be harmful to your health and the environment. 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. (Did you know that bleach also has an expiry date?)

But, it is possible to whiten without bleach and the miracle cleaning ingredient is… lemon juice!

How does lemon juice whiten laundry?

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. The application of lemon juice is best reserved for white laundry as it could cause coloured items to fade more quickly.

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, follow our healthy home checklist to eliminate potential hazards in every room.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman