Here’s How Whiten Your Laundry Without Bleach

Brightening your laundry load may not be rocket science, but there is an art to using the right ingredients to lighten your clothes. General wear and tear can lead to darkened spots from bodily stains, fading from exposure to other colors and more. If you’re noticing a changing hue in your whites, it may be time to grab a few ingredients from your pantry to do the job.

Real Simple suggests using the always-handy baking soda and combining with boiling water. Start by adding one cup of the powder to the water and letting your clothes sit in it for at least an hour or up to 12. The baking soda helps remove the stains and grime that builds up over time. From here, toss them in the wash and watch as they come out brighter than before.

Otherwise, a hydrogen peroxide solution works the same way as chlorine bleach. Simply add one cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to the bleach section of your washing machine for it’s next whites cycle. The outlet notes that it’s important to make sure that the solution you have is still active and fizzing, otherwise it’s not effective in cleaning. You can also use lemons to add some brightening power to your wash as well. Citric acid offers a natural bleaching ability when used with cotton, polyester and linen garments, the outlet notes. Soak your clothes in a solution of half a cup of lemon juice and one gallon of hot water, then allow it to sit for an hour or up to 12 to reveal your bright whites.

You can use gentler types of bleach

If you’re looking for a specific product to brighten your clothes that you can keep next to your washing machine for each load of whites, an oxygen-based bleach can provide a safer option that’s just as effective as chlorine bleach. The Spruce explains that this type of bleach actually works well with colored garments and acts as a gentle stain remover, while chlorine bleach permanently takes the color out of the fabric. This type also works more slowly, so you’ll have to soak your clothes in a solution of oxygen-based bleach and water for at least two hours before you throw them in the wash. You can use the label on the bottle for more specific information or opt for a powder-based option.

For a money-saving brightening agent, look no further than the great outdoors! The Spruce suggests hanging your garments out to dry in the sun as the UV rays can disinfect, dry and whiten your whites. Simply hang on the rack and watch them shine. Just make sure to leave your colored clothes inside as the sun can fade their hues rather quickly. Lastly, a simple color remover can brighten up some dingy linens. Real Simple notes that sodium hydrosulfite can take any lingering colors out of various fabrics.

Brighten your clothes with fewer chemicals — it’s always in style.

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