A Natural Bleach Alternative

I recently got an email from La June which included the words, “I need HELP Jillee!”  Well shoot, I can’t possibly ignore that! ;-)   Actually what she needed help with is something I’m sure a lot of you probably deal with who live in a rural area. Not being able to use bleach in your laundry because you’re on a septic system.

Specifically, La June was talking about the Miracle Whitening Solution post, which does indeed include bleach. While VERY effective…I know not everyone uses it. SO, I went in search of an alternative for La June (and the rest of you!) that I thought was a good substitute.

I looked at LOTS and LOTS of “bleach alternatives” and to be honest wasn’t extremely impressed with any of them. First of all, MOST of the homemade bleach alternative solutions I came across combined Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar which shouldn’t be mixed together in the same container.

Mixing the two results in Peracetic Acid, which is a strong oxidizing agent used for high level disinfection. It’s popular in the food industry because it breaks down into water, oxygen and acetic acid (vinegar), making it very environmentally friendly. But studies have found it is very irritating to the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. So probably NOT a good idea to use it on your laundry. Then I came across this post from Grit.com and it made perfect sense!  So I decided to give it a try.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 12 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Mix. Add 2 cups per wash load or put in spray bottle and use as a household cleaner.


bleach alternative

I decided to test it on a pair of white pillow shams I have on my bed that were beginning to look a bit on the dingy/dirty side. I don’t wash them often because we don’t actually SLEEP on them…but you know how it is…they still get dirty from being handled and thrown on the floor and lounged on when someone is watching TV on the bed, etc. I figured they would be a good test.

Unfortunately, I totally spaced taking a BEFORE picture of them, so you’re just going to have to use your imagination. But they looked a lot like this mattress cover did that I featured in the Miracle Whitening Solution post I did. Maybe not QUITE as bad. But close.


I added 2 cups of the solution to the load of whites I washed the pillow shams with (along with my regular homemade detergent), let it agitate, and then let it soak for a little over an hour. Here are the pillowcases on my bed. :-) Not bad huh?

bleach alternative


I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of this combination. I’ve also used it a couple of times now just as a general all-purpose cleaner around the kitchen and have liked the results there as well. I’ve been using straight hydrogen peroxide for awhile now as a kitchen/bathroom/etc. cleaner, but the addition of the acidic lemon gives it a nice cleaning boost and, of course, a fresh citrus scent!


bleach alternative


If you are on a septic system or just want to avoid using chlorine bleach in your laundry…give this a try!  I think you’ll be happy with the results.

And one more thing…this post wouldn’t be complete without adding a plug for good old-fashioned, 100% natural, SUNSHINE. The ultraviolet radiation of sunlight is a natural disinfectant. You can effectively brighten and disinfect your stained laundry by spraying it with lemon juice and then hanging it in the sun.

I realize this isn’t going to be extremely PRACTICAL at times….but I had to give it a shout-out anyway. :-)


Happy whitening!!




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  1. Penny Hannah says

    That sounds like a useful combination and the results look great – just wish I could add the sunshine to my mix; we’re getting the add on effects of ‘Sandy’ here at the moment,

    • Landon says

      Yesterday I was using Jillee’s method to clean the outside of my windows (fabulous results, by the way) while we were getting the outer band winds off Sandy clear across the state of SC from the coast. I think I got as wet as the windows!! The wind would shift at times & blow all the wind back on me. When I finished that I figured I might as well do my screened porch furniture too. The wind shifted & threw the water through the screen & onto my husband at one point. LOL

    • says

      You need to say what percentage hydrogen peroxide is to be used. There is food grade 37 per cent which is dangerous to get on skin or 6 per cent used to bleach hair or 3 per cent for antibacterial spray this is all dissolved in distilled water. This is dangerous stuff bought or used unwisely. please answer

      • Joanne Read says

        I doubt you can buy food grade (37%) peroxide in most grocery stores. Most people would pick up the normal brown bottles in the local store when they buy food, etc.

        Good point though.

      • Sandra Di Meglio says

        You cannot buy food grade peroxide at the store. You can Oder it online some places and it has to be shipped by haz material . So there is no chance you will buy the food grade in the store.. I have gotten the food grade and mixed it with my own pure water…

        • says

          Actually one can buy 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide directly from certain health food stores. I got mine at Lassen’s.
          Properly diluted in distilled water, one can consume it and it adds 10 times the amount of oxygen to the body, thereby healing many diseases and stopping precancerous cells from turning cancerous.

          Food for thought and do your research for it is the cheapest cure you can find for many human ailments and problems.

          God Bless

    • Shelley Singh says

      I love the IDEA of washing my pillows – I am OCD when it comes to cleaning! I love all the wonderful alternative methods that are green and less toxic! Thanks for the great and helpful posts, its changed how I do everything, and my life!

      My question: Do you have an alternate method of washing pillows/yellowing pillows — I have a front loading washing machine, so there is no way that I would be able to let items soak and add ingredients after wash has started….can you help?

  2. Emma says

    Wow, just yesterday I was trying to come up with a substitute for bleach – which has been a staple for so long that I can’t imagine laundry without it. That’s why I have white towels, wash cloths, etc.. cause you never know what germs could be there and bleach is a pretty effective broad spectrum disinfectant and stain remover. But you cant use it on microfiber and I love the microfiber towels for cleaning. So —– does anyone know if this combination is safe for micro fiber?

  3. Laurel G says

    Two Questions! Does this mixture need refrigeration (because of the lemon juice)? and how long will it keep? I only have a small amount of whites that would need the solution (although I might use it from time to time on other laundry).

    • leah says

      Doubtful. Lemon Juice is HIGHLY acidic and therefore is unlikely to “go bad.” On a long enough time line, yes, lemon spoils. But for the purposes of this article, refridgeration is unnecessary.

      • Jo says

        My husband leaves a bottle of lemon juice on the counter until he is done using it, he uses it in water, in beer. It has stayed there while he deployed for a yr, and had been there awhile. He came home and used it over the next few months. It is so acidic, it smelled and tasted the same. Not saying this is the right way to do it but I do! This is a great recipe too, thanks for sharing.

    • ace says

      Great mixture thank you for the post :] I have been using HP as a bleach substitute for a couple years and have been very pleased! Hydrogen Peroxide definitely needs to be kept in a dark bottle with a snug lid. Allowing in oxygen and light render it useless within hours.

  4. Teri says

    I have been searching for a non toxic cleaner for my white porcelain kitchen sink. I am trying to convert to all non toxic cleaners in my house and so far have not found one to get my sink back to white like bleach or comet or toilet bowl cleaner. Have you tried this mixture for this job ?

  5. Cathy Walker says

    Hi Jillee
    First I love you site and have followed you for a long time. Also thansk for all the work you do and just pass it along, you rock!

    Q?-Peroxide loses its intensity in the light hence the brown bottle. How long does this last??

    Cathy W

  6. Deb Vaughn says

    Jillee, I too have heard that this needs to be stored in a darker container. I bought a solid plastic pitcher to store mine in. Also, being on a septic system I find this works great, especially if you can hang your clothes outside in the sun! I was surprised at the amount used tho. I guess if you have a top load washer you might need 2 cups, but I have an HE washer and only use about 1/2 cup per load with good results. Thanks for the tip!

  7. says

    This is great Jillee! I am not on septic yet but we plan to move to the country so will really need this then.

    Quick question: is the peroxide solution 3% which is available in most pharmacies or is it 35% food grade?

    • Diana says

      I’m guessing but from what I have seen over time on Jillee’s site, it is 5%. I have looked at and tried most of her cleaning agents. She tries to go for easy to find ingredients. Hope this helps

  8. Marliss says

    Will this solution cause negative effects on colors like bleach does? My son’s karate belt is black with a white stripe down the middle from end to end and the white is getting VERY dingy.

      • Rella says

        I always washed my color belts, though I have never washed my black belts because of the embroidery. In tae keon do, at least at my school, there is no hard rule against it. If you want to wash it, spot test it, but I doubt it will be a problem. Red is the only color belt that I have ever seen really bleed its color. You can also try adding 1 cup of white vinegar to your wash – it helps to set the dye in clothes, especially red and dark colors. I do this every time I buy a new red outfit. You should only need to do it the first time you are washing something.

        • says

          Oh that’s fabulous to hear about vinegar helping to set colors. I’d never read that before, but I hate how my pretty, dark-colored shirts fade so quickly. I’ll have to try that next time I buy a red or dark-colored shirt. Thanks for the tip!

        • Vicky says

          Being a fabriccare specialist, I must disspell the vinegar myth. It does not set any dye Fabrics will only absorb so much dye, the rest will leach out with the first wash, sometimes even in the second or third wash. Typically the boldest brightest colors bleed and it happens within the first few minutes after immersion. I suggest a cold water soak, no detergent at first as the chemicals in some have been known to move (bleed) different dyes. I have a bright tie-dye shirt I soaked for 30 min, drained water then added fresh cold water for another soak. Repeat this until the water comes out clear. Also, borax is an excellent cleaner for whites as well as peroxide. Borax when heat is added, breaks down certains tannins, which is what usually leaves the yellow stains in whites. On my white canvas shoes, I dab borax with hot water, let sit a few minutes then rinse again and repeat if necessary.

  9. Pam says

    I’m glad you mentioned sunshine! Years ago I got this tip from Martha Stewart & works let a charm on stubborn stains. After washing, lay the item, whites or colored, on the grass or shrubbery in the sun to dry. There is a reaction between the sun & chlorophyll in the green plants that somehow works to get whites whiter and stains out of everything. Suzi

  10. Murphy says

    Hi, I have a front loader, and not a lot of cabinet space, so while the H2O3 is in a brown bottle, I think I would mix on an as-needed basis. My math says then: 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 Cup water, 1Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon H2O2. With that I could do, say, a bleaching load and a good spritz clean around the kitchen and bathroom on the same day. Anyone want to double check for me?

    My question is, although I almost always have a lemon going in the fridge for 1 t lemon juice, in a pinch, could I substitute white vinegar? Does that bleach, too, or is the reaction too strong?


  11. kim says

    I’m really confused as to why you would dilute this in water when you are just adding it to a washer that’s going to fill with water anyway. Why not add a half cup of HP and a squirt of lemon to your washer?

  12. Alice-Ann says

    Doesn’t the peroxide break down rather quickly after anything is added to it? I was told or read somewhere that one should make sure the lid of the bottle didn’t get any water in it before closing the bottle again. I love using peroxide but make anything I use fresh each time. Is that wasted effort?

  13. Kathryn says

    Hi, Can’t read this right this second and my phone won’t search quick for me…can I use this with soap nuts?? I think I like the soap nuts but it’s already obvious that with my chalybeate water a color brightener is going to be a must.

    • Kathryn says

      Wrote to the folks I bought my soap nuts from and got this answer (now to write again and ask if it will negatively effect the nuts themselves (e.g. reduce the number of times I can use them):

      Hi Kathryn,
      Yes, you can use a brightener, oxygenated bleach or lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide in the wash for whites without any any negative impact on the effectiveness of the soap nuts which of course contain no optic brighteners or bleach.
      Customer Support

  14. Chris says

    Jillee I know this has already been brought up, but I either read or heard some where that Hydrogen Perozide, once exposed to light starts working off. This is the reason it is bottled in brown bottles. This I do not think is a good solution to make up ahead of time.

    The lady that lives next door to me has her doctor’s degree in Chemistry and if I can ever catch her when she is out side I’ll have a chat with her about this. She has four little ones under the age of 7 and therefore is very busy so I try not to disturb her to much, but having talked with her in the past I know she would know the answer to this.

  15. says

    Jillee, this post made me smile because it made me remember my mother mixing a small portion of peroxide and lemon juice (with a dash of good ole household ammonia)… to bleach the dark hairs above her upper lip. It smelled gosh-awful, but it was effective. ;o)

  16. Landon says

    I’m going to be trying this when I run out of bleach. We live in the country & have never had a problem with out septic system & I’ve always used bleach. I had no idea there was a natural alternative, so I’m excited to find this.

    • says

      We’ve lived in the same place for 30 years, have a septic, and have always used bleach. As a matter of fact, we were told to periodically pour a gallon of bleach into our drains because bleach helps break down certain fats, solids and other things, particularly during the winter time when bacterial action may be slowed.

      We were told soap was actually more harmful than bleach at halting the growth of good bacteria, so who knows! :)

      However, I do want to try this as a bleach alternative.

      • Debbie says

        I was about to mention the same thing. There is NO problem with using bleach in a septic system! I’ve also been on one for 30+ years and have always used bleach. We have never even needed to have the system pumped out! In fact, this is the first time I have ever heard anyone say that you shouldn’tuse bleach.

        FYI, I have heard people occasionally say they couldn’t have a garbage disposal for the same reason. Fortunately, I can also confirm that is also not true!

      • Lisa says

        Me and my husband ran a construction company for 25yr lived in a house that had septic and had to go to a class once a year due to we installed new ones. They said that if you added to much bleach that it did kill out the bacteria that keep your septic working properly which would lead to having your septic pumped we lived there 28 yrs before moving and never once had our septic pumped. So the lease you used the better. And cigarret butts was the worst thing to flush down. Can’t wait to try this cleaning solution on my vintage finds.

  17. says

    Just a couple of things I wanted to mention. Peroxide comes in a dark brown bottle for a reason – because light makes it lose it’s potency, since exposing it to light activates it.. In addition, I have read from several reputable sources, that peroxide should never be mixed with other ingredients until your ready to use it, since as soon as the peroxide is exposed to light and/or introduced with another ingredient, even water, it immediately activates. Once the product has activated, it does it’s thing and then turns into a benign substance. For this reason, I would mix things on an as needed basis, just to be sure I was getting a good dose of product.

    Love reading your column. Lots of good stuff here.

  18. Trixie says

    I was flabergasted to learn that one shouldn’t use bleach with a septic system. My family has always lived in the country on septic systems (generations back) and we’ve always used bleach without a problem. Can someone fill me in on what the bleach does to the system? I love bleach – period. Thanks.

    • says

      Bleach kills bacteria. It’s been said that bleach will kill the good bacteria necessary for breakdown of waste and solids contained in a septic system. See my post to Landon, above.

      I’ve wondered if this is a more prevalent issue in certain parts of the country, as we’ve never had a problem here, but we have lots of humidity, hot summers, and ample opportunity for the bacteria to grow.

      • Trixie says

        Well alrighty then. We live in the hot, humid south too so I guess it could be a factor. My uncle used to work for a pumping company and he told us that pouring out a packet of active dry yeast in the toilet and flushing it into the septic about once per quarter will keep the system very healthy. Although, I hardly ever remember to do that either. Oops! :)

    • Misha says

      Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria also. So it may not be great for septic systems. Bleach may not be great either. I have heard it loses its disinfecting ability when in contact with organic material, so maybe in a septic system it becomes inactive very quickly. You could do some more research about disinfectors and septic systems.

      There are also septic system packets one can buy that add bacteria to the septic system. You could also research if those are necessary.

      I think it’s probably a good idea to keep disinfectors to a minimum (especially more caustic ones, although I don’t know what those are), and especially in a septic system.

  19. Tabitha says

    If it’s bad to combine vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, why is it all right to combine hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice when lemon juice behaves nearly exactly as vinegar does in household uses?

  20. Jill says

    I love all of these natural solutions you come up with. The older I get the more I want to know what is in my products and what I’m exposing my children to. Plus I really don’t like the residual smell of bleach left on my clothing.

    With that being said I want to clarify the misconception about bleach in the septic system. When I read this post I immediately went out and asked the resident expert, also known as the Hubby, who is a Class A Water Operator, and Class 4 Waste Water Operator, who happens to install and maintain septic systems for a living. As we are on a septic system and I use bleach regularly, I was wondering why has he never said anything about this. His response after laughing at me was “Typically a household uses bleach in 1-2 loads of laundry a week. The amount of bleach to water in a load of laundry, even if you use an HE machine like me, is so small, that by the time it reaches your septic is so diluted it is rendered practically useless. It will kill some bacteria, which you need for a septic system to operate properly, but not enough to make a difference. So unless you using a gallon a bleach a week, don’t worry about it.

    The most harmful thing you can use if on a septic system is all of the Anti-Bacterial Cleaners, Hand Soaps, Dish Soaps, Dishwasher Detergents and Laundry Soaps. ANTI-BACTERIAL is Bad, Bad, Bad for Septics.

    Don’t wait until you have a problem with your septic, have it checked, maintained regularly by a professional, and have it pumped out every few years. Ask a local professional (get references) about septic maintenance programs. Ignoring your septic can cost you Thousands of dollars, often more than it cost to install originally.

      • Melissa says

        I was told by a septic tank guy, years ago, that the best way to keep your septic system running smoothly is to feed it, once a month. Much like antibiotics can kill the good bacterial growth, in our bodies, cleaners kill the beneficial bacteria in our septic systems. They need a healthy amount of bacteria to break down the waste. We take probiotics, to combat antibiotics, and you can do a similar, living, treatment for your tank. Don’t waste your money on Riddex. Who knows what is in that stuff, anyway. Just activate a pack of yeast, in warm water, and a little bit of sugar, and flush it down your toilet.

  21. says

    For all those who are worried about it’s effectiveness after being exposed to light…just make it as needed. It’s pretty easy to make. :-) I used mine up within a couple of days so I wasn’t worried about storing it over a prolonged period of time.

  22. Stevie-lynn Lagle says

    Im new to your site and ive been combing through it for hours now you have so many insperational nuggets on here its really the life I want to live and teach my children 4, 2, 1 & 1 in the oven still lol to be more natural, & environmental ly concise! self sufficiency is a real issue nowadays thank you and hopefully, many more good things to come!! Im excited! ;)

  23. says

    Thank you again Jillee!! It seems you are always right on time ;0 )
    I made a batch and have my mattress protector going in the washer right now. I put my batch in a re-purposed thick all white milk jug that light does not penetrate through. I was thinking in a pinch you could always spray paint a see thru jug with black or brown :)

  24. Suz says

    I have been following your blog for about a month now. I am so excited about trying all of these homemade cleaners, etc. I have been buying a little at a time of the hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, Castile soap, etc. I think I finally have everything I need. Tonight I stopped by our “dollar” store and picked up a little spiral bound index card notebook so I can write all of the “recipes” down and have them at my fingertips! I noticed on some of the “recipes” that an old baby wipes container is needed. Boy, am I in luck! About a year or so ago, my daughter had an ample amount of these that she had saved and wondered if I had any use for them. I was sure I could find something to use them for (currently I use one of them for my make-up). Now I can use them for my homemade Clorox wipes and whatever else I need them for. Thank you so much for sharing!

  25. Southern Grace says

    Has anyone here ever used Mrs. Stewarts Blueing for their whites??? I love this stuff!! And it is supposed to be “natural” also!! I mix like a fourth a teaspoon into a glass mason jar of water, shake thouroughly, then mix into the washer water BEFORE adding the clothes. It makes everything sooooo bright!! Just wondering if anyone here had ever used this??? Jillee???????

  26. Comet says

    To soak in your washing machine—top loader is only way I know so some one please add any info for HE washers!!!

    Add all ingredients. Let agitate (turn on to wash) for a few minutes. TURN OFF. Let sit in the water with the cleaners for however long you are told to. RESTART WASHER and let run thru the cycles.

    I have read here about “Double Rinse” machines and am envious! Also–a friend used to have a machine that you could (with the use of a double sided laundry sink) dump the FINAL RINSE water into and it had a hose to suck up that and REUSE IT for the wash water for the next batch; the machine would auto add any water to the correct level! I thought this was GENIUS but since I have never been able to buy a new-from-the-store washer I have never found one like this. What a savings in water useage! And a big savings on our septic systems!

    I too live in Septic Tank Land and do nothing speshul to preserve the system but I don’t use bleach as I HATE the smell. And we lived in our house for 16 years before we needed to have it pumped!

    I find it interesting that there are two very different opinions on bleach in the septic here–the “Must have bleach to break up fats” and the “Using only household amounts will do no harm and not any good either”!!!!!!

    • Teresita says

      I’m almost pretty sure that I wouldn’t want to re-use water to wash my clothes. Maybe I’m ignorant but that sounds kinds gross. I’m down for saving water but that is going too far.

      I tried this, loved it, making it again for sure!

  27. Karen423 says

    I thought of a great use for this! After a trip where we taken the cooler, I like to clean and sanitize the cooler (especially a hunting trip where we had game in the cooler) before storing it. I don’t keep bleach in the house because I don’t like it. Usually I wash the cooler out and let set in the sun. This alternative would work great to clean it and leave a lemon scent. Could even mix this in the cooler in the yard, leave it set in the sun for awhile and dump out, because it won’t hurt the lawn at all.

  28. Joe in MD says

    I wondered when I saw this if there was going to be a warning about mixing bleach and ammonia — nope! While there are strong warning on the bottles, everyone should know that the combination of chlorine bleach and ammonia will produce a very deadly gas — basically the same as was used in World War I to kill lots of soldiers. Any time a recipe includes bleach, it should also include a separate warning to never mix bleach and ammonia! Here is a reference: http://chemistry.about.com/od/toxicchemicals/a/Mixing-Bleach-And-Ammonia.htm

    • Carolyne says

      For that same reason, don’t use bleach to sanitize your cat’s litter box NOR the area around it. I did that and came close to needing a hospital stay for it. The ER doc explained it was the combination of the bleach I’d used for cleaning and the natural ammonia in the cat’s urine that created the problem. Also, I was scrubbing the area on my hands and knees, the bucket of bleach water next to me, and in a small bathroom. Lesson learned that day!

  29. Leah Hokmah says

    People know that hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water, which is pretty benign. But do you know that over time bleach breaks down into water and salt (NaCl)? If you have bleach that has been sitting in a container for a couple years, it won’t work, because it’s turned into salt water. Old bleach doesn’t seem to be much of an environmental hazard to me, given that we’ve got some oceans full of salt water.

    Both hydrogen peroxide and bleach work the same way – they are highly reactive oxidizers that break down into inert products. They are corrosive when you first buy them and gradually break down into harmless products. Why do people assume one is good and the other is evil? I don’t get it.

    • flo says

      right. BUT, have you ever looked at the “ingredients” on your bleach bottle? theres that fine print that says “other ingredients xx%” and WHO knows what those other ingredients are?!? I’d rather not have mystery chemicals on my laundry or in my home.

  30. says

    I’m so glad LifeHacker led me to this article! I’ve been pondering how to replace the bleach in our house for a while, especially since we’ve gone with all-natural replacements for nearly every other chemical, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and general product known to man in our house. Thank you for the information, and for all the info shared in these comments. Can’t wait to try this instead of Clorox!

  31. DeniseinTx says

    So I read about the peroxide/lemon juice laundry bleach alternative about a week ago. I cut the recipe in half for one load of whites. I have a front load washer so I only used 1 cup during the wash cycle. I really didn’t notice much of a difference with my normal whites but noticed a HUGE difference on one of my husband’s work shirts. He is a plumber and had a job working under a house crawling around in the dirt. I really just expected to toss it after the load was done because it was too dirty. IT CAME CLEAN, for the most part, which was far beyond my expectations.

    What you just read was not my success story. I still had 5 cups of per/lem mixture. I have a very textured tile in my fairly large kitchen/ breakfast area. It is the hardest to clean!!! I have used store-bought multipurpose bleach spray cleaner on it before but the smell it just too much and usually to mop again just to get the soapy tackiness that is fairly common after using a soap. I put the per/lem mixture in a recycled spray bottle and spray a 3×3 ft. area. With a scrub brush head on an old broom handle and exercise ankle weights strapped around the handle to cut done on how much elbow grease I had to use, I scrubbed the area and then cleaned it up with a wet mop. I WAS AMAZED AT THE RESULTS!! I can only tell you to try it yourself . My next experiment will include my Olefin carpet (recycle plastic and won’t bleach). I’ve had my carpet professionally cleaned but have a few stubborn spots. Thanks!!!!

    • Daisy says

      Oooh, DeniseinTX, I gotta try this on my tile floors. I HATE the smell of bleach, and avoid it whenever possible, but my tile needs something pretty powerful. Thanks for sharing your results!

  32. lgcamp says

    FIY: Hydrogen peroxide comes in a BROWN bottle for a reason. It looses oxygen in light. So it’s probably a good idea to mix up your solution and keep it in a DARK bottle in order to keep its potency.

  33. HardestyMom01 says

    I love this natural bleach alternative. Usually, instead of making a large batch, because I only do all of our laundry once a week; Wash Day Wednesday. I just add half a cup of lemon juice and a half a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the water before adding the clothing. Once the water reaches the desired level which normally is for a small load for my family of five I add the white clothing and let it sit for one hour. Then I add a cup of baking soda a Downy ball filled with vinegar and start up the machine to wash. I have done this for several months now and each time our whites come out bright. (I do not add laundry detergent even though it is homemade. Forgot once and notice a better difference.)

  34. Karl Malone says

    It’s a good idea but its not “natural”. It is “homemade”. Vinegar and peroxide are all synthetic. All things being equal I’d still prefer buying hypochlorite since its way cheaper and lasts longer.

  35. Brenda says

    I have a front load HE machine, how do I add over a cup of anything plus any laundry soap? Do I just pour it in the drum before adding clothes? I do have a pre-soak cycle for stains but it’s getting all the liquid in there is the puzzle.
    Thanks for any help

    • Tonya S. says

      I have an HE washer as well and I use this recipe. I dont use even half of what is recommended, i only fill the little bleach area. and it works wonderfully of course i also use the laundry soap recipe and put that directly into the drum and I finish it off in the dryer with the dryer sheet recipe. ALL 3 WORK AWESOMELLY!!!!


  1. [...] the question is – homemade bleach is great for whitening laundry, as Jillee at One Good Thing and Robin at Thank Your Body have shown, but what about cleaning? Can a homemade version be as [...]

  2. [...] Two things to note: I found was that my whites weren’t coming out as bright as I wanted. After doing some additional homework lately, I’ve decided I’m going to start adding a lemon/peroxide mixture to loads of whites. I’ll keep you posted as to the effectiveness. Thanks Jillee for the great recipe! I decided to use it after reading her article on natural bleach alternatives. [...]

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