This Product Will Whiten Your Laundry Without Bleach—and It’s Probably In Your Fridge!

Even though you might have a jug of bleach in your laundry room, it might not be the best option for whitening your clothes.

Everybody loves their laundry to be sparkling white and using bleach is a common way to achieve this. But, there’s another, and better, way to whiten your clothes.

Why is bleach a bad option?

It can be dangerous. Curious kids will sometimes spill or even drink bleach. If bleach is mixed with other substances (such as vinegar), it produces toxic fumes. Here are 19 other household cleaners that shouldn’t be mixed.

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.

But, it is possible to whiten without bleach and the miracle cleaning ingredient is… lemon juice! Lemon juice is a natural, environmentally friendly whitener that can also be used to clean up around the house.

How does lemon-juice whitening work?

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. This whitening effect also works on other things, like your hair and teeth, but it should be used with great care to avoid damage.

Lemon-juice whitening is best reserved for white laundry as colored items could fade more quickly if exposed to lemon juice.

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.

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.

Here are some more natural cleaning switches you can use around the house.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Elizabeth Manneh
Elizabeth is an experienced freelance writer, specializing in health & wellness, education & learning, family life & parenting, and women's equality & diversity. She's been published on,, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Red Tricycle, and The Good Men Project. She was also a regular contributor to Love Live Health and Daily Home Remedy. Elizabeth is a retired primary school principal and education consultant, with a continuing passion for education and learning. She's familiar with writing newsletters, reports to stakeholders, financial reports, business plans and evaluation reports.