When we think of “bleach,” we normally think of chlorine bleach, but there are actually other kinds of bleach with different chemical makeups. I prefer to use alternative bleaches instead of chlorine bleach.
The reasons vary, from the alternatives being a little less toxic, to I’m tired of accidentally splashing it on my clothes when I’m cleaning. And then there are the nasty fumes. That’s where natural bleach alternatives come in.
Lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide are high on the list of effective natural bleaches. When combined, it amps up the bleaching power so you can effectively tackle those tough stains you usually reserved for chlorine bleach.
How to Make 3-Ingredient Natural Bleach Alternative
Chlorine is the main ingredient in many types of household bleach. Most of us don’t realize this, but chlorine is actually a gas at room temperature that has been pressurized so it stays in liquid form.
However chlorine still gives off fumes that, when inhaled, combine with moisture in the lungs and eyes to make hydrochloric acids. Those acids can then can harm tissue, which is often why it burns whenever you get a big whiff of the stuff. Traditional chlorine-based bleach can also lead to everything from light-headedness to thyroid problems with prolonged exposure.
While commercial bleach companies might tell you otherwise, it’s best to avoid chlorine bleach at all costs, even if you only use it sporadically in the laundry room or kitchen. Switching over your laundry products to chlorine-free whiteners, such as this homemade bleach alternative, is an easy way to limit your chlorine exposure and even save a few bucks in the process. It’s powerful and effective without the potential health problems.
And in case you’re wondering, even if you have little kids who are prone to getting dirty, this homemade bleach is strong enough to keep their clothes clean and get rid of tough stains easily.
As a bonus, this chlorine-free bleach alternative isn’t just limited to the laundry room. You can use it for cleaning and disinfecting pretty much anything, as well.
To use, add 1 cup of this liquid “bleach” to the washer along with laundry detergent for a boost of stain-fighting power. Or pour directly on tough stains and use it as a pre-soak to lighten set-in stains and brighten dingy whites.
It’s also a great all-purpose cleaner for your home. Use it to mop floors and clean soap scum off shower walls, pour a 1/2 cup in a sink full of dirty dishes, spritz directly on dirty counter tops (it’s even safe for most granite counters) and add to homemade window cleaner.
There’s nothing this miracle solution can’t do, so feel free to use it pretty much anywhere that needs to be cleaned and disinfected.
Oh, and did I mention it smells great?
All of that, and it’s SO inexpensive to make!
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All-Natural Bleach Alternative
- Gallon-size bottle or plastic jug
- 1 1/2 cups 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 12 cups filtered water
- Combine the ingredients in a gallon-size bottle.
- Use to disinfect, whiten laundry, and clean.
Photos by Ana-Maria Stanciu319
KARIN m KENNEDY says
can I use it in my small spa anstead of blech,Spa holds 4 people
Would I need to keep this mixture in the fridge if I am using fresh lemons?
imagen naturaleza says
Thank for your writting.
Can this be used to disinfect sheets for my baby who has feet hand and mouth disease?
Just tried making this bleach alternative. I decided to swap the lemon juice for 10 drops of lemon essential oil. I put it it a little spray bottle, sprayed it on some very stubborn stains on a white tote bag, left it in the sun for a little while & voila! All of the stains are gone! (The bag almost looks brand new!)
Amy L says
I can’t wait to try this. I hate the smell of chlorine bleach. Thank you!
Terri Wickstrom says
Does it have to be filtered water, if so why?
Terri Wickstrom says
This is a while ago but can you use the instant lemon juice? What kind of large dark bottle could I get? I don’t have any around?
I would get a can of cheap Plastic Safe spray paint, Blk, Brown/ any Dark color and paint a clear 1-Gal milk jug. Make sure it Plastic safe paint.
will this “bleach” color out of fabric like chlorine bleach? I am hoping it is safer to use as a household cleaner. I have ruined so many shirts!
Is this safe on untreated hardwood floors?
Could this be use in colored clothes?
Lori Pouncey says
OK, so I finally broke down and took the time to make this Bleach Alternative!!! OMG!!!!! I have been missing out lol I love it so much! GAHHHH NO MORE BLEACH for this house EVER!!!!! Man, I was so surprised and impressed with the cleaning power! I used it on everything and I mean EVERYTHING lol even the pool lol My family thinks I am nuts haha! Thank you LIndsey for sharing this and giving me the punch I needed to get motivated to do this :)
If you’re making a batch to keep for a while, it should be stored in a container that does not permit light to pass. The peroxide breaks down when exposed to light, which is why it’s sold in dark brown (usually plastic) bottles.
How much would I use if I were to put it into a small load of laundry?
Lindsey Johnson says
1/2 to 1 cup should be fine. It’s not really damaging like chlorine bleach is.
Rachel Kamish says
How much should I put in with a load of laundry to whiten whites?
Lindsey Johnson says
Just seeing this now – sorry! You could use 1-2 cups for a large load and let it soak for a bit. It doesn’t have quite the whitening power of chlorine bleach, but when I use it for our whites, they come out looking brighter than if I didn’t use it.
I don’t know if you realize it or not,but Hydrogen peroxide needs to be stored in a container that blocks the light. It will soon loose all it’s power if left in a milk jug type container. That is why you only see it sold in the brown plastic containers.
Lindsey Johnson says
I did know that! Thank you for adding that in though. I store it in a cupboard where it is away from light.
Sounds good but what volume of principe do you use
Chlorine gives me an instant headache and it takes my husbands breath away. This is an awesome alternative. I already use hydrogen peroxide as a cleaner. I will now keep the dark brown bottles it comes in and divide this recipe among those bottles. That will insure the effectiveness of the peroxide and give me an easy storage solution!
This looks like a great idea! However, I’ve read that hydrogen peroxide must be kept in a dark, plastic bottle to retain it’s chemical properties (and effectiveness as a bleaching agent). I’d love to make this in a big batch, but not sure about finding a large container that meets these requirements. Maybe a small batch that will fit inside a hydrogen peroxide bottle??
You can store it in a solid bottle that does not allow light to penetrate (like an old bleach bottle). This milk bottle, however, is opaque and lets too much light through.
Can bottled lemon juice be subbed for the fresh lemons? It is hard for me to keep fresh lemons on hand.
Love your post!!
Bren, you don’t have to keep fresh lemons on hand to use this product. Just buy a few lemons to make your mixture, mix it up, and you’re good to go.
Jasmin Bryant says
First of all I love your blog! It really inspires me. I wanted to find out how long does this bleach alternative last? I only do laundry about twice a month and I would hate for it to go bad.
Laura @ Raise Your Garden says
I had no idea natural bleach was an option. It’s worth a whirl for my gross shower upstairs that nobody ever gets to see, caked in yuckiness!
Thank you for the information. I will try this as soon as possible. Your blog rocks as do you.
I will def give this a try! Easie peasie :D
JoAnn C. says
Thank you for this timely post. I have been looking for an alternative to the toxic bleach as I am slowly making all the household products natural. The best part I have the ingredients here at home. Going to make some this evening before I start the laundry. Thanks again.
Can this be used on colours as well?
Lindsey Johnson says
Yes! I haven’t added it to dark batches, so I can’t say for sure on that end, but for normal color batches it seems to be fine. I left some rags sitting in it hoping they would whiten up, and they did a bit, and were completely deodorized, but they didn’t turn white, white like with chlorine bleach. I think for that the sun will help more. (Which wasn’t your question!) :)
I heard that peroxide has to be kept in a dark container it it loses it’s potency. Have you found that too?