Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by Sean Busch.

Due to skin sensitivities and potential hazards, many people have started avoiding bleach and other harsh chemicals found in laundry whiteners. But is it possible to lift stains and brighten white clothes without caustic ingredients? Absolutely.

Want to learn how to whiten clothes without bleach? These natural laundry whiteners will have them looking as fresh and bright as the day you bought them. 

1. Pre-Soak Laundry with Lemons

Fill your basin with hot water and 1-2 sliced lemons (depending on how soiled your clothes are). Add your laundry, let it soak for between one and two hours, then run it through a normal washing machine cycle. 

If your clothes need an extra brightening boost, boil the water first, add the lemons and clothing, then let it sit overnight. 

Pro tip: Always check each garment’s fabric care instructions to ensure that it can handle hot water.

2. How to Whiten Clothes with Vinegar 

Not only does distilled white vinegar brighten white clothes, but it also softens fabric while removing musty, mildewy smells. During the last rinse cycle, simply pour 1/4 cup of vinegar to an already-running machine.

For clothes that need a bit more attention, soak them for a few hours in a basin full of warm water and one cup of white vinegar.

how to whiten white clothes

3. How to Whiten Clothes with Hydrogen Peroxide

Not only is this medicine-cabinet staple great for disinfecting mild cuts, but it’s also amazing for whitening clothes. When you start a load, simply pour 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide (3%) straight into your detergent or bleach dispenser. Proceed with your regular laundry routine. 

Get the best tips from the cleaning obsessed.

Puracy crafts cleaning & care items that work really well. Our obsession with natural cleaning performance is our profession, and we're here to share it with you.

Remove Pit Stains with Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

Hydrogen peroxide also does wonders on removing pit stains. Make a paste of equal parts hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and water. Cover stains with a ¼” layer and allow it to sit for about 30 to 60 minutes. Lightly remove any extra residue with a soft brush and throw the item in the washer.

Pro tip: Switching to an aluminum-free deodorant can help prevent armpit stains from happening in the first place. 

4. How to Make White Clothes Whiter with Baking Soda 

Baking soda factors into most natural cleaning tips – and for good reason! This gentle substance can be used to safely eliminate hard water stains, zap fridge odors, and even brighten white clothes.

To wash white clothes with baking soda, start your washing machine, pour ½ cup of baking soda into the water until it dissolves, then run the cycle as normal. For a larger load of laundry, we recommend using a full cup of baking soda.

how to whiten clothes without bleach

5. Line Drying for Nature’s Best Laundry Whitener

There's something so comforting about the smell of sun-dried linens. Another bonus: The longer you leave clothes in the sun, the greater the brightening effect.

Line drying can conserve up to 4% of your electricity usage – what’s not to like about a smaller electric bill?

Pro tip: UV rays can fade clothing. Before hanging them up, turn your items inside out and limit drying time to a couple of hours.

6. Wash White Clothes with Natural Laundry Detergents

brighten white clothes

Harsh detergents and bleach will wear down even the strongest materials. Prolong the life of your wardrobe and household linens with a gentler – but no less effective – laundry formula.

Puracy Laundry Detergent uses plant-based enzymes and natural minerals to clean effectively, without caustics, synthetic perfumes, and residues. Wondering how to wash white clothes without bleach? Feel free to combine this product with any of the natural methods listed above.  

7. Use a Natural Stain Remover 

There’s a reason that thousands of people swear by Puracy Stain Remover. This plant enzyme-based product lifts literally any stain and odor out of fabric, no matter if it’s grass, wine, blood, sweat, oil, cosmetics, dirt, or whatever lands on your clothing.

natural clothes whitening

If you need to target a specific area (like armpit stains), spot treat them for maximum results. Spray the affected area with our Natural Stain Remover and agitate either with a soft laundry brush or by rubbing the fabric together. We recommend waiting at least 15 minutes before laundering, but for tough stains, you can let the spray set upwards of several days. The longer it sets, the better.

During the laundry cycle, use the warmest water that the fabric care instructions allow, and opt for an "extra rinse" cycle. You may need to repeat for extra-stubborn stains. 

Whiten White Clothes Naturally with Puracy Laundry Products

It's hard enough to find the perfect white shirt or pair of jeans – it's even harder to keep them that way. Keep Puracy laundry essentials on hand to brighten white clothes without bleach. With Puracy’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, you’ve got nothing to lose (except stains)!

how to whiten shirts without bleach