· Homekeeping Tips · Laundry Tips · The Is The One Laundry Product You Should Never Buy (And Why)

The Is The One Laundry Product You Should Never Buy (And Why)

bleach pen

While those bleach gel pens they sell in the laundry aisle at the store do have a certain appeal in term of convenience, I’ve never been able to justify buying one. I just couldn’t justify the cost, especially for something I would only use occasionally!

So you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered that not only is it possible to make your own bleach gel pen at home, but that it costs literally pennies to make! That’s all the justification I needed, and it was so much easier than I could have imagined too!

Today I’ll be showing you how it’s done so that you can make your own bleach gel pen at home. I’ll also share a few practical and fun ways to put your homemade bleach pen to good use! :-)

How To Make A DIY Bleach Gel Pen

bleach pen

You’ll need:

bleach pen


Add the water and about 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to the saucepan. (Feel free to use slightly more if you want a thicker gel, or slightly less if you want it to be on the thin/watery side.) Whisk the mixture until the cornstarch has dissolved completely.

bleach pen

Place the saucepan over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil. Make sure to keep whisking as it heats, or the mixture will quickly turn into a gloopy mess!

bleach pen

Remove the pan from heat and pour the thickened gel mixture into a heat-safe glass measuring cup to cool completely. Once cooled, add the bleach, stir well, then pour the finished bleach gel into a squeeze bottle.

3 Ways To Use Your Bleach Gel Pen

bleach pen

1. Remove Stains From White Clothes

This bleach gel pen will help you make short work of all manner of unsightly food splatters and drink spills on white clothing.

bleach pen

Just cover the stained area with bleach gel, let it sit for a couple of hours, then wash as usual to remove the stains.

bleach pen

2. Restore Stained Grout

While bleach isn’t my first choice as a grout cleaner, it can really come in handy for tackling stubborn grout stains and areas of discoloration. Learn more about how to clean grout here.

bleach pen

3. Create Custom Designs

And finally, you can use your bleach gel pen to create custom designs on colored fabrics. The applications for this are virtually limitless, as you can customize everything from clothing to throw pillow covers and beyond!

Just draw your chosen design onto the fabric you want to customize, then let the bleach gel sit and dry for a few hours. After waiting, machine wash the item in cold water, and you’re done!

Have you ever used a bleach gel pen at home?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


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  • 6 Insanely Cheap Bathroom Cleaning Hacks Every Busy Homeowner Ought to Know – Civilco Construction & Interior says:

    […] sealant to prevent humidity and moisture from seeping into the porous grout. You can also DIY a bleach pen with […]

  • I’ve purchased a Bleach pen before. I liked it. It’s been years ago. I agree the Tide pens are great for on the go. My mom has used all sorts of treatments on the bathroom caulk. Well see if she wants to try this.

  • Yes I have purchased the pen and remember so well how it came in handy. My daughter’s in-laws to be were having lunch with us in our city. Her fiance’s mother accidentally spilled red pasta sauce on her white slacks, and she was very dismayed. I whipped out the Tide pen, which she’d never seen before, and in minutes it was completely gone! I got her one as a little parting gift. I still keep it in my purse, because those are the times I could really want one. I do see how your home made pen would be very handy around the house, too. Thanks for the recipe!

  • This is a great DIY for something that does end up being super expensive. One note, I’ve read that keeping bleach in a bottle that it didn’t come in can be dangerous because it ends up breaking down the plastic eventually causing expansion and possible leaks, etc. Just something to think about. Personally, now that I know how to make this stuff so cheaply I probably won’t keep any extra, just will make a new batch when I need it. :)

  • My dear Jillee: I’m new here, and I really love your ideas (I haven’t read much yet)
    Here in Australia don’t sell the bleach pen, now thank to you, I will be able to do my own bleach pen to used for the bathroom and cloths for now, on the way I will find more used ideas
    I will subscribe here now too, I son’t want to lost you lol

  • It works!!! I have two little boys and husband who create tons of laundry and this is one of the best ideas ever!!! I just made a batch and filled three bottles from craft glue. And tested it on a tshirt with a tomato stain and just one minute or so later it was GONE!!! I am not worried about the bleach loosing potency. I keep two bottles in a box and the one I use is not going to last two long with all the craft projects and messy food. Thank you so much!

  • Love this idea! I use your homemade shout and was wondering if there was a way to make it in ‘gel’ form? I might play around with this a little. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    I just popped the top off my purchased bleach stick and refilled it! I made a denim bean bag cover for a little boy’s birthday party and had everyone sign it with the bleach pen! (emptied 3 pens). This will save $$$$$
    Thanks so much,

  • Sorry I’m late in reading this, but I got spots of oily salad dressing on a knit top last week. I found Carbona stain remover for oil and grease. It took several applications, but it looks like new. Also I’ve heard that original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid works on grease. I was afraid to use it on my top because it was a dark color and I didn’t want faded spots down the front.

  • I didn’t notice if anyone else did the math on this but I couldn’t resist. Based on a 2oz bleach pen selling for $6.56 on amazon and the cost of the ingredients in my own home I figured that buying the bleach pen works out to $3.28 an oz and making it cost me 5 cents an oz. Off to clean the grout!!

  • I love all your ideas. I have been saving all your homemade cleaner ideas for our move. We just moved back from overseas, so needless to say, my cleaners all stayed behind. I made up my mind instead of replacing them all with expensive store brands, I was going to find the containers and start making my own…what better time to start! The apartment we are living in desperately needs grout cleaner, so this will be a great addition to the rest. Thanks!

  • I made the bleach gel this weekend and added a little squirt of Dawn to it too. Then I went crazy cleaning my kitchen and bathrooms! Great stuff! Thanks for yet another “good thing!”

  • I love your blog, Jillee, and read it daily. I’ve also told many friends about you. We all need all the help we can get for cleaning, cooking, etc.!!Thanks so much for sharing your talents!

  • Jillee, love this idea. Thank you! Like so many others, I read your posts daily. You put so much effort and creativity into your blog it is a delight to read and I’m always coming away with something new to try. :0) THANK YOU! I wish as readers there were some way we could bless you as much as you bless us. Please know that you are appreciated.

  • I just want to say that your blog is a lifeline for me most days!!! I am a missionary living and working at an orphanage in Honduras, Central America. It is a rare occasion that I can find products that are everywhere in the states…like the BLEACH PEN! I miss the one I had in the States and had just decided that my white stuff was going to be stainy (is that a word?) because I didn’t have something to treat spot stains. This is about the millionth DIY product I’ve made from your blog.


  • CaN’T WAIT TO GIVE THIS ONE A TRY!!! I’ve been wanting to do a reverse dying teeshirt project using bleach gel and this will be a great savings ♥

  • Thanks Jillee! I currently have a bleach pen but when it runs out I will be making my own. I’ll look for one of those bottles the next time I go to the Dollar Tree. A suggestion for your next project: Figure out how to make the Scrubbing Bubbles toilet gel disks. I really like using those but I don’t like buying them. I know they contain some type of polymer. They would also need to be safe for septic tanks.

  • I have returned to making some of my products since I found your site. I am allergic to a lot of the store bought stuff with all the chemicals. Now, if you could only find a cheaper and better, low dust, odor control DIY cat litter!

  • This is a great idea because you can have whatever ‘strength’ bleach pen you need. Another idea for a bleach pen is to use gel dishwasher detergent in your pen. I do love my Tide to Go pen because I am messy when I eat when I am away from home too.

  • You are really so helpful. You have so many amazing ideas!!! We live outside of the US so there are sooooo many thing I can’t buy. This was something I left in the US and I was so bummed. Your timing is perfect.
    I really want to make my own laundry soap and I can bake the baking soda, and I brought in some Ivory soap – but I can’t get Borax here! Any suggestions? It’s gonna be a whole new recipe :)

  • I have gotten so much truly useful info! ! I can’t thank you enough for all your time and effort . I admire your creative abilities! Thank you so much.

  • Thank you Jill! Now to figure out how to make something like the Tide Pen! Great for travel! I do love to make my own products, AND to save money!

  • Just thought I’d pop in an mention that you can get colored squeeze bottles (usually in red or yellow – think ketchup and mustard) seasonally in the grocery stores and wal-mart. It probably won’t be long before they start popping up. Just be sure to label them clearly so the kids don’t think you put the ketchup in the laundry closet. LOL. Or, you could decoupage (sp?) some pretty paper to a clear bottle if you like to do crafty stuff. Just a thought. :)

  • Thank you.
    You ALWAYS give us such great and useful information.
    I know your spend so much time on testing these and I really appreciate all you do!!!!!

  • I use that same style bottle for your “shout” recipe because I couldn’t get the mixture to not clog my spray bottles. Thanks for the bleach solution recipe!! note: I found my bottles in the cake decorating section of my Wal-Mart.

  • Oh what a wonderful idea! I have been meaning to buy a bleach pen to use on my bathroom tiled floor for a while now, but just have never gotten around to it. Now I don’t have to worry about it! I can just make this right up and use it! Thank you so much for sharing. I will try to write another comment sharing my experience with this. Again, thanks for sharing! You are awesome!!

  • Thanks Jill! I just bought a bleach pen for the first time and used almost the entire thing cleaning the grout around a bathtub. This will be a real money saver. By the way, I love your blog and have used many of your ideas. I have been using your “no grate laundry detergent” for quite some time. I am so happy not to have to lug those big bottles of liquid detergent home. I just mix it up as I need it.

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