Need that bright, clean white look for your lights and whites? Need to disinfect all shades of clothing? Did you know chlorine bleach isn’t the only way? Keep your family clean with safer homemade bleaches and disinfectants that contain less harmful and more effective ingredients.
Chlorine-Free Bleaching Spray
Instead of inhaling harmful fumes when spot-cleaning your clothing on-the-go or at home, try this. In a dark-colored spray bottle, mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. For an extra strength solution, instead mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 100% lemon juice from concentrate, and water.
To use this solution, simply place a white cloth on the back side of the stain. Then, spray the solution onto the affected area and pat the stain into the cloth. Turn the clothing inside out and repeat. This solution should only be used on white or light colored clothing, as it may cause whitening of fabrics. Test a small, non-visible area prior to use to test the effects.
Whitening Clothing in the Laundry without Chlorine Bleach
Hydrogen peroxide is one way to whiten and disinfectant your whites during the laundering process. For this method, mix hydrogen peroxide and water 50/50, to make about one cup of solution. Pour this into the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine. This way, it will come out during the correct cycle.
If you do not have a fabric softener dispenser in your machine, pour in the bleaching solution during the rinse cycle. You can also alternatively pour the hydrogen peroxide mixture in with the water while the machine is filling. If you hand wash your clothing, simply mix the hydrogen peroxide into the wash water with your detergent of choice, wash as usual, and rinse.
The other method for bleaching and disinfecting clothing during laundry involves food-grade white vinegar. Follow the same instructions as with the peroxide, only use white vinegar instead. For more strength, you can also add some lemon juice and baking soda. I recommend using equal parts of the liquid ingredients and a couple tablespoons of baking soda.
If you use the baking soda, put the baking soda directly in the washer with the clothing or in the powdered detergent dispenser. In addition to bleaching and disinfecting, vinegar can soften your clothing. Therefore, you should try to make sure it gets poured in during the rinse cycle, if at all possible.
Are These Alternative Bleaching Methods Safe for HE Washers?
While I have not personally attempted to use these natural bleaches in a high efficiency washing machine, I have done some research on it. So far, in all cases I have found, people have reported these to be safe for their machines and not cause damage. Of course, you should always use your own discretion and better judgment.
If you attempt to do this, it is recommended to put the vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser and the baking soda directly into the machine with the clothing. The main issue high efficiency machines have is actually with more soapy cleaners, such as normal non-HE detergents. Over-sudsing can break the machines. These alternative bleaching solutions cause very little, if any, sudsing. Therefore, that particular issue shouldn’t be a problem. But again, use your own discretion.
Do you have another bleach-free disinfectant method? Let us know in the comments section.