Homemade Bleach Alternative

Before summer is over and clothes-line drying weather comes to an end, I have to share one of my favorite laundry recipes!

Bleach used to be a regular cast member in my laundry saga.  I added a good sized glug to every load of whites, to whiten and brighten and keep them from looking greyish.

I don’t use bleach to whiten anymore – it’s been removed from my laundry rountine, it simply isn’t worth it.

You may remember my post on the dangers of bleach, but lets recap just a few of the nasty’s of bleach so it’s fresh in our minds.

Why Bleach is Bad:

  • bleach, mixed with ammonia creates a poisonous gas that causes respiratory distress and can actually stop lung function.  Remember folks, pee (urine) contains ammonia, so using bleach products to clean your toilet is particularly dangerous.
  • household bleach is composed of chlorine and lye (the stabalizer).  Lye is highly corrosive to living tissue, and can cause burns to your skin, eyes,
  • when bleach is mixed with certain DISH SOAPS it may produce MUSTARD GAS, the same deadly gas used as a weapon in WWI – Scary!
  • bleach fumes are toxic for everyone, but for those who suffer with allergies and asthma, bleach can be be a trigger for serious complications
  • at room temperature bleach is a gas, and in it’s gaseous form bleach can form cancer causing dioxins which we inhale, These dioxins are also linked to and increased risk of infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, diabetes, and immune system problems.
  • Of the thousands of calls made for medical help each year, approximately 1/4 of them are related to bleach and household cleaning products with bleach in them.  Most of these incidents involve children and can be potentially fatal.

Unfortunately the traditional stuff we’ve used for years to whiten our clothes isn’t so safe – in fact, it can be deadly.

Now if you’ve been using bleach for a long time, and are afraid that there’s not a good whitening alternative for your whites, I have good news for you!  Making your homemade bleach is easy and inexpensive!

There are 3 things that have fantastic (and healthy) whitening power for your clothes:

  1. hydrogen peroxide
  2. lemon juice
  3. SUNSHINE!  Ask any cloth diapering mom.

homemade bleach

I’m sure there are other natural whitening ingredients out there, but these are ones I’ve used and had success with, so I’m stickin’ with them!

Used individually, all of the above ingredients help to brighten your whites, but combined they are truly a powerhouse bleach alternative, not only for whitening, but also for deodorizing your laundry.


Homemade Bleach Recipe
  • 2 cups 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • ¾ cup lemon juice - you can use the store bought, bottled stuff, but I find freshly squeezed lemon juice to be more effective
  • distilled water, enough to fill a gallon jug.
  • 10-12 drops of lemon essential oil (optional... but it makes your clothes smell yummy!)
  1. Pour the hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, and essential oil into an empty 1 gallon (4 lt) jug, then fill to the top with distilled water.
  2. Gently shake to combine
  3. Add 1 cup of homemade bleach to the washing cycle of your white loads of laundry
  4. If you can, hang your clothes to dry in the sun!
  5. I've been able to use this in my light colored loads and haven't had any problems, however, if you want to use it in your colored loads, PLEASE test it on an old shirt first... I don't want to be responsible for wrecked laundry!


I use my homemade bleach with the Norwex laundry detergent, and I’m super happy with the results.  Throw away your toxic dryer sheets, and use dryer balls instead, and you’ve transformed your laundry routine into something green!

I’d love to know how you whiten and brighten your whites?

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