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Cleaning Whites Without Bleach

August 4, 2009

Stack of white linens with a white flower resting on topMy 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 janice

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 138 Feedbacks
August 4, 20090 found this helpful
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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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August 6, 20090 found this helpful
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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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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 102 Feedbacks
August 8, 20090 found this helpful
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Once a month, I toss a dishwasher tab in with my whites. Brightens them up nicely.

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July 13, 20131 found this helpful
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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.

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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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6 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 13, 2021

I have a couple old pillow protector cases, zippered, in good condition BUT are dingy yellow with age. Short of bleach (which I think I have tried) any suggestions to make them white again? I guess it doesn't really matter as long as they are clean. I will also add that I have tried a bluing product on other things with less than fabulous results. Thanks in advance for any hints.


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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 140 Posts
September 13, 20212 found this helpful
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Try Oxy- Clean detergent, to brighten whites. Most of the time this is much better than bleach.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
September 13, 20210 found this helpful
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You can dry in the sun after you wash it.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
September 18, 20211 found this helpful
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You can try a solution of equal parts lemon juice (I use the kind in the bottle--but if real lemons are cheap, that is the best juice to use--just remove seeds, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide--just what you can get at the drug store. Mix it together in bucket and then add a few drops of any of the BLUE Dawn dish soaps--not any of the other colors--swish again-- then add a gallon of hot water tap water and let it soak for 15 minutes.

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Check it, every 15 minutes for up to 1 hour. If after an hour, it is not better, it most likely will not come out. Just wash in the machine to get the mix off and use as is. Hope this helps. I did mine about 2 months ago and they are still a little dingy, but not that icky yellow that they were when they started.

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April 4, 2017

I don't use bleach, so how do I remove yellow spots on white shirts?


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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
April 4, 20170 found this helpful

Do you know what caused the stain? You could try a mixture of laundry detergent and baking soda and rub it in then rinse.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
April 4, 20170 found this helpful

You can soak overnight in 5 gallons of hot water to which you have added 2 T each of hydrogen peroxide and powdered dishwasher detergent. Wash as usual in the morning.

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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
April 4, 20170 found this helpful

Try baking soda and water.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
April 5, 20170 found this helpful

If white cotton, try toothpaste with whitener and a toothbrush. That often works. Also if you soak in water over night with a tablet of denture cleaner.

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It is very good at taking out stains (also works well on removing stains in the toilet too)

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
April 9, 20170 found this helpful

Since we do not know what type of fabric, what may have caused the stains, where the stains are located, or if shirts have been dried we can only offer the usual solutions so I hope one of the suggestions offered will work for you.
Have you tried placing shirts in sunshine and continuously wetting the yellow spots? Sometimes this is all that is needed but it may take a day or so to remove the stains (leave out overnight in open for dew to keep it damp/wet).

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Here is a link to a web site that offers suggestions for all types of fabric:

home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-remove-yellowing-spots.htm

cleaning.lovetoknow.com/Removing_Yellow_Stains_From_Clothing

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July 13, 20170 found this helpful

Buy bleach

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 4, 2009

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

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April 5, 2009

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.

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I have someone that doesn't want to use bleach and would like to know what to do.

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November 7, 2008

Can someone please explain to me why all of our white clothing articles have labels that say "Non Chlorine Bleach Only"?

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March 13, 2007

A wonderful tip for getting clothes white if your out of bleach. Add white vinegar to the wash.

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