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Cleaning Whites Without Bleach


My whites are dull, because I wash my clothes in lake water. How do I get them bright? I don't really want to use bleach.

By jandan


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By OliveOyl 602 08/04/2009

Try adding some borax or oxyclean to your detergent. If that's not possible, hang your wash to dry in bright sunlight--natural bleach.

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By Janet 11 717 08/06/2009

You could hang them to dry in the sun.

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By PHYLLIS LUNDGREN 4 08/06/2009

Try using dishwasher detergent instead of chlorine bleach. Pre soaking in a tub of water with detergent mixed in helps.

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By Judith 14 08/06/2009

Lemon juice and baking soda in any wash cycle work wonders. I am careful about the lemon juice with bright colors, however. The baking soda can go with any load. I love it because the clothes always, always smell so fresh as well as come out so clean and bright!

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By Candy Killion 10 408 08/06/2009

Agree with the posters who said to hang your clothes in sunlight; my DH is allergic to bleach, and I've found that there's nothing like the sun to brighten whites( and there's also the perk of saving a few bucks on the electric bill by using the line instead of the dryer!)

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By Dena Roberts 35 491 08/08/2009

Once a month, I toss a dishwasher tab in with my whites. Brightens them up nicely.

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By lisa Hegewald 5 47 08/09/2009

Double check your dishwasher detergent, most of them contain chlorine bleach.

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By mysara 1 10/10/2010

Especially for the red clay stains on white baseball and softball uniforms: Fels Naptha bar soap can be found in the handsoap or laundry aisle (depending on your region). Very inexpensive. Maybe you can purchase online. Get the bar wet and rub or grind it into the stain as a prewash (instead of Spray'n Wash). Add Borax to the wash and it should all come out. Hope this helps!! I remember the agony before I found this solution! These other bleach alternative tips here are very good, too. I have successfully used all of these awesome alternatives: lemon juice, hydro-peroxide, baking soda and sunshine!

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By November Larson M. 1 07/13/2013

I use borax and vinegar but my favorite product for whites is liquid bluing. It is sold on the top shelf of the laundry isle at most supermarkets and has saved many a yellow shirt that used to be white from the wastebasket or rag pile. The crazy part is that its what your grandma used to dye her grey hair to make it sparkle and its perfectly non toxic and 100 % biodegradable. I know a woman with beautiful long grey braids that dips the ends in it at full strength. Its quite stunning. Warning do NOT get on other clothes besides whites and follow bottle instructions to the letter! It washes out eventually but at full strength it can take forever!

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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: White Clothes Without Bleach

A wonderful tip for getting clothes white if your out of bleach. Add white vinegar to the wash. I'm telling ya this works! Clean, fresh, and sparkling white.


RE: White Clothes Without Bleach

I did this the last time I did laundry, I'm potty training and wanted to get the urine smell out of his clothes. I think this actually did better than bleach as far as smell and whitening. (02/19/2006)

By Diana

RE: White Clothes Without Bleach

We too have started using vinegar instead of bleach, it doesn't tear down the clothes and gets the smell out wonderfully. (small children here too) (03/10/2006)

By Anna

RE: White Clothes Without Bleach

I have read before in Heloise's Hints vinegar is a great natural whitener. Never have found amounts to use. Would someone please advise how much vinegar to use in a standard large tub? (09/01/2006)

By Loretta

Archive: Cleaning Whites Without Bleach

Do you have any tips on washing white socks and underwear. The only thing I know of is not to wash white socks with anything else because it will yellow the underwear or anything white. I have someone that doesn't want to use bleach and would like to know what to do. I know Tide is good to keep things white but it is not good for sensitive skin.


Archive: Cleaning Whites Without Bleach

Does anyone have any tips of how to get white clothes whiter without using bleach? Mine get really dingy over time.

By Hobbes63 from Middletown, PA

RE: Cleaning Whites Without Bleach

Rit dye has a white dye. Try that. You can get Rit at WalMart and grocery stores. (04/07/2009)

By tennesue

RE: Cleaning Whites Without Bleach

Once a month I toss a dishwasher soap tab in with my whites, they sparkle. (04/08/2009)

By catastrofy

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