How to Brighten Your Clothes Naturally

Walking down the laundry aisle at any store can feel overwhelming.  There are hundreds of products offered for every laundry problem you might be facing.  There are 10 different solutions to every stain.  Just when you’re about to narrow down your decision, you realize most of these laundry soaps, detergents and brighteners add chemicals and dangerous bleach into them.  (Not to mention the ingredients in each one are nowhere to be found on the bottle).

This scenario has happened to me multiple times in the laundry aisle at Target.  I used to pick what looked like the most “non-toxic” version and make my way to the checkout.  Then I discovered the world of essential oils and non-toxic versions of store products you can make at home.  My world was changed.  Not only was I saving money, but I felt 100% better about my laundry routine knowing I wasn’t leaving chemicals in my kids’ clothing.

Chemicals in laundry products can be the harshest to little ones.  Not only is their skin more sensitive, but it is also the biggest organ, absorbing the products that come into contact with it.  Kids and babies are affected much more by just a small amount of a chemical or bleach that adults may not even notice.   Safe laundry products have become a part of my daily routine.  One of my favorite must-haves for our laundry room is an all natural laundry brightener.

I live in an area where we have pretty hard water.  While we do have a water softener, I can still tell the mineral deposits in our water make my whites and lights gray and dingey.  Yuck.  There is nothing more disappointing than holding up a brand new white t-shirt to an old dingey one.  But I’ve learned bleach is not the answer.  My brightening recipe is safe and non-toxic and a simple add in to any load of white laundry.

Homemade Bleach Recipe

  • ⅓ cup 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • ¼ cup Lemon Juice
  • 10 – 15 drops Lemon Essential Oil
  • ¾ cups Baking Soda
  • 7 cups Water

Mix all ingredients together in a ½ gallon jug and shake well.  Use as you would laundry bleach.  Because this mixture is completely natural, it is best to keep the solution out of direct sunlight.  Sunlight will weaken the properties of the homemade bleach.

Safe Ways to Brighten Colors

My favorite trick is to add distilled vinegar instead of fabric softener to every single load of laundry.  Pour about ½ cup (or less depending on how much your machine lets you put in) into the fabric softener tray and wash your clothing on cool or cold.  A wash cycle on cool or cold also helps prolong colors and prevent fading.

Another solution to making clothes brighter is to add a pinch of table salt to my laundry detergent for that load. Add a splash of water to the mixture to dissolve the salt and wash on a normal cycle.

Steering clear of chemical detergents or products with bleach doesn’t have to be difficult.  Most of the ingredients used you probably have in your home right now.  It’s a great way to save money and it keeps chemicals out of your house.


About the Author:

Amanda Klecker is a Certified Building Biology Practitioner and the creator of Healthy House on the Block. She's passionate about helping homeowners create their own healthy living environment and teaches just that online through her Healthy House University. She’s always looking for new ways to make it easy to create a healthy home environment for her husband and daughters. Healthy homes = healthy lives.

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