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Recipe Update: This recipe has been updated from the original recipe (which used lemon juice with the ingredients), because I discovered a simpler and easier recipe that doesn’t require a blender and works just as awesome! The modified recipe (fully updated below) even removed a 6 hour-old red wine stain from our white IKEA slipcover couch (the slipcover was removed and soaked in the whitening solution).
If you’re interested in the original recipe (which works great, but when a simpler version is available why not use it instead?): 2 gallons of warm/hot water, 2 lemons (quartered), 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, and 1/2 cup washing soda. Blend the hydrogen peroxide and lemons in the blender (yes, hydrogen is safe to use in a blender since it’s a great disinfectant–just wash it out after making the solution). Pour the lemon mixture and washing soda into the warm/hot water and soak your garment for 30 minutes. The garment will probably look yellow from the lemon juice, but I haven’t had any issues with the lemon juice remaining on garments once washed in the washing machine. Wash the garment in the washing machine with warm/hot water and laundry soap.
How does it feel to wear white again?
Who knew the secret to spotless whites (and colors) could be found in three ingredients most of us already own, or can easily obtain: glycerin, castile soap, water, and lemon. If you’re totally lost right now, I highly recommend skipping over to last week’s laundry recipe post featuring an effective and simple stain remover spray. Once you’ve grabbed that recipe you’ll want to come back here for today’s easy peasy recipe. Trust me, your clothes will be forever changed.
Since we are all in a good laundry mood around here thanks to last week’s stain remover spray, we might as well just deepen the laundry love. Let’s talk about laundry again, okay?
For the first few years of our marriage (we are coming up on the big 10 next month!), I was a chlorine bleach fanatic. If the bathroom was dirty, I reached for the bottle of bleach. When the ice cream from last night’s outing decided to visit with my favorite white shorts, the bottle of bleach was put to use. When our linoleum floors went well past a cleaning appointment (with me!), bleach came to the rescue. I think you get the picture: I loved bleach. And truthfully, I’m not really sure how that love was developed since my parents rarely used this strong whitening and disinfecting agent in their home. Maybe it was the cheap price or the POW job it seemed to perform? Whatever it was, my love was a bit extreme.
I see you cringing over there. Trust me, I cringe at the very thought of my intense use and love for bleach. Oh yea, and then the smell? I don’t even want to think about the number of brain cells I probably killed by inhaling so much chlorine bleach. The thought is just depressing, so let’s not go there. The good news is the happy turning point of my bleach saga happens right about now…
From the start of our marriage Dustin was the “healthier” one. When I’d be chowing down on Edy’s ice cream late at night, he would reach for a container of strawberries. While I continued to feed my sugar and coke addiction, Dustin usually reached for water or juice (sure, the juice probably contained just as much sugar). And when it came to bleach, Dustin always made a point to say, “I wish you wouldn’t use that stuff! It hurts my lungs.”
I really hate to admit this next point about myself, but here it goes: I tend to be a pretty stubborn person. Yep, it’s not my most flattering quality, but somewhere deep inside there’s this little voice that wants to do it my way until I’ve been proven wrong about a million times. Like I said, not a great quality, but we’re all about truth around here.
Despite Dustin regularly pointing out the whole “I don’t like bleach” plea, I continued to use it for two reasons: 1/ I was stubborn 2/ I couldn’t find a better alternative. The “bleach alternative” from the store just didn’t cut it.
For the sake of not boring you this morning, let’s just skip ahead to the really good part of this story…
Almost ten years into our marriage, I’m excited to finally share that 2014 was my year for giving up bleach once and for all! Granted, I had cut back on my use of this product many years before, but I still used it on occasion for a tough job and white clothes. As it turns out, a homemade bleach alternative existed right under my nose–a nose that desperately needed a break from bleach!
Three ingredients are used to make my homemade bleach alternative: water, hydrogen peroxide, and washing soda (thanks to a much higher PH level than baking soda). These ingredients are inexpensive and, when combined, create a super effective deodorizing and whitening agent.
Are you ready to tackle some laundry? Awesome!
Let’s do this!
Homemade Bleach Alternative
Fill a bucket with the warm/hot water (it doesn't need to boil, but it should be warm enough to dissolve the washing soda). Add the hydrogen peroxide and washing soda. Stir to dissolve the washing soda in the warm water. Submerge the garment(s) in the solution. Let the garments sit for one to several hours, depending on your goal for the garment. For the red wine, I let the slipcover soak for about 2 hours.
After soaking, wash the garment in the washing machine using warm/hot water and laundry soap.
Storage: This is a one-time use solution.
The “where to buy” links provide links to the actual products I use. As always, I recommend shopping around online and at local stores for the best prices and products you love. Find my favorite DIY ingredients and tools, here.
A Few Helpful Notes:
- This solution is intended to be a one-time use recipe. I make this bleach alternative as needed. You can use the solution multiple times during the day if you’re doing a quick soak (not hours of soaking) for the garments; just remember that hydrogen peroxide is light sensitive so its effectiveness will fade the longer it’s exposed to light. This recipe can be doubled.
- Need a quick stain remover for a small area? Treat stains with my homemade stain remover. Need to treat a larger stain? Recently Dustin spilled red wine all over our white IKEA slipcover couch and didn’t realize it until several hours later (the glass had been pushed behind a throw pillow before spilling). I mixed together this solution and after a couple of hours, the wine completely was gone!
- “Is this solution color-safe?” I don’t use this solution on delicate clothes. If you want to use this solution on colored fabric, I recommend testing a small area first before soaking the entire garment, especially if it’s a favorite shirt or pair of pants! I soak our black and white chevron print kitchen rug in this solution without any issue.
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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #LIVESIMPLYBLOG. I'd love to see what you make!