01 of 06
5 Green Bleach Alternatives for Laundry
If you don't like using chlorine bleach because of the odor, harsh chemicals or possible damage to the environment and are looking for a green substitute to keep clothes white, here are five natural products to get you started (one is completely cost free).
These five alternatives will not replace chlorine bleach as a disinfectant to kill bacteria but will help keep your white clothes looking good and are easier on the environment. For laundry that must be disinfected, there are other choices... like pine oil and phenolic disinfectants to replace chlorine bleach.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
Raid the Medicine Cabinet for Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleaching agent for more than summer blonds and has less impact on the environment than chlorine bleach. It can be used to remove stains or to whiten and brighten clothes. Use the same three percent solution of hydrogen peroxide that is commonly found in the drug store first aid aisle.
Hydrogen peroxide breaks down to water and oxygen and is a biodegradable oxygen-based bleach.
To whiten and brighten clothes, add one cup of hydrogen peroxide to your washer load of... clothes. The hydrogen peroxide should be placed in the automatic bleach dispenser of a washer or added as the washer is filling with water so it is dispersed. Do not pour hydrogen peroxide directly on dry clothes because it can cause spotting by removing color.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Add Baking Soda To Each Load
Adding just 1/2 cup baking soda to your usual laundry detergent - regular or eco-friendly - will boost the detergent's cleaning power and leave clothes whiter and brighter. Baking soda is safe to use in both standard and high efficiency washers. Simply add the baking soda directly to the washer drum before you add the dirty laundry. Do not add to an automatic dispenser because it may not dissolve completely.
Even if you still feel the need to use chlorine bleach, you can use less by adding... baking soda to the wash load. It also helps chlorine bleach clean more effectively.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Use Oxygen-Based Bleach
An oxygen based bleach is more gentle on the environment and your clothes than chlorine bleach but is an effective whitening agent and stain remover. Oxygen bleach can be used on all washable fabrics except silk, wool and anything with leather trim. While chlorine bleach will permanently remove color from most dyed fabrics, oxygen bleach can be safely used on colored clothes to brighten the fabric.
Oxygen bleach works a bit more slowly than chlorine bleach and you will get the best results if you... allow the clothing to soak at least two hours or overnight in the water/oxygen bleach solution before washing as usual. Follow the package directions for how much oxygen bleach to use per gallon of water.
Powdered oxygen bleach is activated by adding to water. Powdered formulas are more stable than pre-mixed liquid oxygen bleaches which loose effectiveness over time once the product is opened.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Soak in Distilled White Vinegar
To help whiten clothes and linens, presoak the white items in a solution of one part white distilled vinegar and six parts warm water. Mix the solution in a large plastic bucket or tub, a sink or the washer drum. Completely submerge the white clothes and swish through the vinegar solution to be sure that all surfaces are wet.
Let the clothes sit overnight and then wash your clothes as usual following the correct water temperature for the fabrics. Any vinegar odor will disappear and the... environment will appreciate your efforts.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Use Solar Power To Whiten Clothes
Using the ultraviolet rays of the sun to whiten your clothes is the ideal green laundry solution. Once you've installed a clothesline, it's free. You're saving money and natural resources by not using a clothes dryer and the carbon footprint is nearly zero.
The ultra-violet rays whiten, fade stains and disinfect whites while they dry. Remember, however, the same rays can fade colored fabrics.