Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by Sean Busch.

Stains, sweat, you name it: Keeping white clothes looking their best presents specific challenges. Due to skin sensitivities and potential hazards, however, many people have started avoiding bleach and other harsh laundry whiteners.

But is it possible to lift stains and whiten white clothes that have yellowed without caustic ingredients? Absolutely. If you’re looking to learn how to whiten clothes without bleach, these natural laundry whiteners will have your duds looking as fresh as the day you bought them.

1. Pre-Soak Laundry Using Citrus

Fill a basin with hot water and 1-2 sliced lemons (depending on how soiled your clothes are). Add your laundry, let it soak 1-2 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 this concoction soak overnight. However, be sure to check each garment’s fabric care instructions to ensure that it can handle hot water.

2. How to Whiten Clothes with Vinegar 

Distilled white vinegar is great at brightening white clothes, softening fabric, and removing musty, mildewy smells. During the last rinse cycle, simply pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into an already-running machine.

For clothes that need a bit more attention, we recommend soaking 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. 

Remove Pit Stains with Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

Hydrogen peroxide also does wonders on erasing 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: A switch to aluminum-free deodorant can actually 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 plenty of reasons! This gentle substance is great for eliminating hard water stains, zapping fridge odors, and – you guessed it – whitening white clothes.

Turn on your washing machine, pour ½ cup of baking soda into the water until it dissolves, then run a normal cycle as normal. For larger loads of laundry, use a full cup of baking soda.

how to brighten white clothes

5. Brighten Whites by Hanging Them in the Sun 

There's something comforting about the smell of sun-dried linens, and the longer you leave white clothes in the sun, the greater the brightening effect. That said, UV rays can fade clothing. Before hanging them up, turn your items inside out and limit drying time to a couple of hours.

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

6. Stick to Natural Laundry Detergents

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.

how to whiten clothes without bleach

The minerals and plant-based enzymes in Puracy Laundry Detergent zap stains and odors from deep within fabrics. And they do it without using caustics, synthetic perfumes, sulfates, phosphates, dyes, petrochemicals, chlorine, and much more. 

Feel free to combine this product with any of the natural methods listed above.  

7. Whiten Clothes with a Natural Stain Remover 

There’s a reason that thousands of people swear by Puracy Stain Remover. It doesn’t matter what lands on your clothes: You can kiss grass, wine, blood, sweat, body odor, oil, cosmetics, dirt, and berries bye-bye.

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. Wait at least 15 minutes before laundering, but for tougher stains, you can even let the spray set for several days. In fact, 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. Extra-stubborn stains may require another treatment, but they’ll disappear!

Naturally Brighten White Clothes 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 whiten clothes without bleach. And because we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you’ve got nothing to lose (except stains)!

how to whiten white clothes that have yellowed