Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.

Due to potential hazards and skin sensitivities, many families have begun avoiding bleach and other harsh chemicals found in laundry whiteners. But it’s absolutely possible to lift stains and odors without the use of caustic ingredients. 

Want to learn how to whiten clothes? These natural methods 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 one to two hours, and wash as normal in your washing machine.

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. Never use this method on fabrics that require cold water.

2. How to Get White Clothes Whiter 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 wash white clothes

3. Use Hydrogen Peroxide on Clothes

Does hydrogen peroxide bleach clothes? Not only does this medicine-cabinet staple disinfect mild cuts and wounds, but it’s also an excellent laundry whitener. When starting a load, simply pour 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide 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.

hydrogen peroxide on clothes

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 clear your drain, eliminate odors from the fridge, and even amplify the whitening effects of your laundry cycle.

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.

best whitening detergent

5. Line Drying for Nature’s Best Laundry Whitener

There's something comforting about the smell of crisp, sun-dried linens, and the longer you leave clothes to hang in the sun, the greater the brightening effect.

Not only does tumble-drying shrink and fade your clothing, but line drying could conserve up to 4% of your electricity usage. If you’re a new parent who’s using cloth diapers, you’ll definitely see a noticeable drop in your 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. Choose Natural Laundry Detergents with Gentle Formulas

best detergent for white clothes

Using 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 – formula.

Puracy Laundry Detergent uses plant-based enzymes and natural minerals to clean effectively – all without harsh chemicals, synthetic perfumes, and residues. To brighten white clothes, feel free to combine it with any of the natural methods listed above.  

7. Attack Stains with Puracy Stain Remover

There’s a reason that thousands of people swear by Puracy Natural Stain Remover. This natural, enzyme-based product lifts literally any stain and odor out of clothing, no matter if it’s grime, grass, berries, blood, sweat, oil, cosmetics, dirt, or hundreds of other stains and odors.  

how to whiten white clothes

If your whites only need brightening in a specific area (like armpit stains), spot treat them for maximum results. Spray the affected area with our Natural Stain Remover and agitate with a soft 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 the better). 

During the laundry cycle, use the warmest water that the fabric care instructions allow. If necessary, opt for the "extra rinse" cycle on your machine and repeat the enzyme-based treatment once more.

Puracy Laundry Products: The Easiest Way to Whiten Clothes

Puracy laundry productsIt'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 whites without bleach. With Puracy’s 100% satisfaction guarantee, you’ve got nothing to lose!