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DIY Natural Bleach Alternative

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I know it’s only January right now, but I have been itching for spring hardcore. The other day I was doing some homework reading for my Master Aromatherapy classes and I read about SAD (also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder) and it occurred to me that I was feeling exactly like this. Did you know that millions of people experience this every winter?This year, I have been avoiding the cold more than usual, and that combined with not being able to drive Syfy and me around, has really made me feel like a hermit. To combat this, I have started spring early in my head. I am thinking about tropical scents, planning out the cute yoga tank tops I am going to buy off Etsy, and even taking Syfy to the public pool (it’s indoors lol I would not swim in this weather…not a polar bear over here! Although….if given the chance to join the real polar bear club, I would totally try it out because I am the kind of crazy person who would love to tell people that I have done it!

Spring cleaning to combat my winter blues…

All of my spring time actions have gotten me into spring cleaning mode now too. I realized the other day when I was using my natural bleach alternative that I had never shared my recipe! This recipe is so simple and quick to make, no one has any excuse not to make this!

Bleach is a highly toxic and dangerous chemical

  • Bleach causes respiratory problems and the fumes should never be inhaled.
  • Bleach can burn the skin and even cause major nervous system damage.
  • When combined with many other harsh chemical cleaners, new and dangerous chemicals are created that are bad for the environment and toxic to humans (and your pets too!).
  • Every year. about 1/4 of the calls made to Poison Control  for help are related to accidental ingestion of bleach or products containing bleach. Many of these accidents involve young children and can be potentially fatal.
  • Clorox Bleach Scores an F on the EWG website due to its toxic ingredients

There are many uses for this natural bleach

Homemade natural bleach can be used all over your house, not just in your laundry! Not only does this make whites even whiter, it safely brightens colors too! There is no need to dilute this bleach. It can be used in your bath, shower, sink, and even toilet cleaning!

  • For tough stains, soak clothing in a bucket of this natural bleach alternative overnight. Alternately, you can spray this onto the stain and let it soak.
  • For whiter whites and brighter colors add 1/2 cup – 2 cups during the bleach cycle or into your bleach container in your washer
  • Use this mixture in your cloth diaper soak bucket for better germ killing power and white diapers.
  • This makes a great spray disinfectant in the kitchen, killing 99.9% bacteria
  • Combine this with baking soda or borax into a paste and use to scrub tile and grout clean
  • Use this as a glass and mirror cleaner in a spray bottle
  • Fill the toilet bowl with this natural bleach alternative and then add some baking soda. Swish around in the bowl and then let sit 5 to 10 minutes before flushing clean.
  • Pour a cup of this in the bottom of your dishwasher for extra cleaning power. You can also use this as a rinse aid.
  • Add baking soda to form a paste and use as a natural soft scrub with bleach!

Note: Though there are many recipes on the internet that utilize vinegar instead of lemon juice, I chose not to make this combination because when hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are combined they form peracetic acid, a strong oxidizing agent that is used for high-level disinfection in cleaning. While this is a great natural cleaner, studies have shown that it can be very harsh on skin, so I do not use this in my laundry. This combination works great in the kitchen, though!

bleach2

Homemade Natural Bleach Alternative

While I used a plastic jug for the photos for this post, I actually store my final solution in an amber glass jug to keep the hydrogen peroxide from breaking down in sunlight! Store this mixture in a cool dark location.

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, citric acid (if using), and lemon essential oil into an amber glass bottle. Swish around until citric acid is dissolved.
  2. Fill the rest of the jug with distilled water and use as you would bleach.
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All information on The Hippy Homemaker is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.

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  • depending on how dirty your floors are, you could do either. If it’s the bathroom, I would definitely use it as is and not dilute it!

  • I have not used it for this purpose yet but it totally could! You might add some orange oil to the mix to give it a heavier cleaning power, I like to get my orange oil from here: http://amzn.to/2eb1CXa

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  • you can still use this to clean stuff with, maybe spray your shower walls and scrub them clean!

  • Rahma Ali

    Hello, I was wondering if I could use tap water instead of distilled water. Is that okay?

    • you can, though tap water tends to have bacteria in it and is not totally clean so mold has a better chance of growing in your final product! I have a berkey filter to filter my water clean!

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  • Christina Brewer

    Can I ask if there is a particular reason you use AMBER colored glass as opposed to clear glass?…..edited about 5 minutes later. Nevermind. Found the answer to my question since someone else already asked.

  • i used a clear bottle for the picture but i do in fact use an amber bottle. I might need to retake my pictures so that it’s not so confusing! The peroxide WILL break down into water, if you do not keep this in a dark bottle to keep the sunlight and other light out!

  • michele depaz

    i have white counters that stain easy.would this bleach the stains away?

    • I use this bleach to clean stains in my bathroom all the time! This def helps with stains! When they are really intense stains though, I will usually make a paste with oxygen bleach instead, so that the paste can sit on the stain for a bit, before washing off.

  • Maggie Flynn-Fleet

    Thanks for this recipe. I’ve slowly been transitioning to the most “natural” housekeeping I can, and after reading about all the negative effects of bleach on the environment, I was happy to find this. Works as well as bleach at whitening, and smells a whole lot better. I have to admit, I didn’t use the oils – I’ve tried using them in other laundry solutions, but I just can’t smell them. On top of everything else, I get to feel a bit sanctimonious while using it. 🙂 “Liking” you on FB.

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  • Alisha

    will this work without the oil?

  • Farrah

    Can this be used as a counter spray…say after handling raw meat or something. Or add to wipes to wipe counter off to disinfect? I hate using bleach wipes but would like to have something that cleans the same and I can cut/prepare foods on my counter safely after.

  • Beverly Caimen

    Can I use this for my project plsssss… Thank you so much.

  • Beverly Caimen

    Good day. Can I use this for my Organic Chemistry project? It will be very helpful. Pleasee. Thank you. 🙂

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  • Jennie

    Thank you so much for this recipe – it works beautifully. I’ve been struggling to get a grubby cotton sheet white for months and have tried everything on the market, but your recipe worked. 🙂 Really happy

  • marcelia

    Does Lime juice not work the same as lemon? just checking!

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  • I am going to try using this natural alternative to bleach since I am thinking that the chlorine in the bleach that I use on a daily basis (GASP) is effecting my thyroid! But one question, wouldn’t you need to note that this recipe should be used, if at all possible in a glass jar? Since lemon essential oils can eventually breakdown plastic? Just a thought! Thank you so much for sharing this with us

    • Christina

      Yes, if using the essential oils instead of lemon juice, a glass jug is better than a plastic one, though you can use a plastic one if it is PET plastic. That’s the plastic that is safe for use with essential oils!

  • Hi! I’ve been using this bleach recipe for a while now thanks to you and I love it! Just want to let you know I have linked this to one of my own blog posts! Thank you!

  • Erika

    Sidebar note: just noticed I’d misread your title as the *happy* homemaker (under pic at top right). You’ve cleverly owned the hippy thing. 😀

  • Erika

    Concerned about the possible toxicity of hydrogen peroxide, I did come across some warnings (sadly–but fortunately–just after adding a whole case of it to my Amazon cart). Its vapors can cause systemic toxicity in the body and it gives off no warning fumes or effects beforehand (kind of like natural gas). Wondering if the straight vinegar approach might not be safer . . . ? http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mmg/mmg.asp?id=304&tid=55

    Perhaps in the capacity that you detail here there’s no harm, but I’m exposed to disinfectants significantly more than the typical homemaker due to my cleaning business. :-/ Food for thought for others in my situation looking for safe bleach alternatives. 😉

    • Christina

      I would imagine that the 3% peroxide used in the laundry would not do this, though if you clean for a living and want to use this in a spray, I could see how that might be possibility. In that case I would highly suggest you make a spray using an oxygen bleach! I abvoid OxyClean at all costs, since it’s filled with a ton of additives, but my absolute favorite brand that I use is OxyBoost because it’s 100% pure oxygen bleach meaning you don’t need to use nearly as much of it because it’s so pure ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007L3CJK8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B007L3CJK8&linkCode=as2&tag=thehiphom05-20&linkId=DILRU6SPOYDJSLQQ ) I use oxyboost in my laundry, I have used it to clean out stains from carpets, stink from plastic jugs that my husband left beer making ingredients in too long, etc. You could make a great spray with it, to clean with!

      • Erika

        Thanks, Christina, for the info. I’m actually looking into vinegar/tea tree oil (etc.) options per extensive exposure such as I experience. More on that later. 😀

  • Denise

    I am thinking of giving this a try as I have terrible luck using bleach! But what is the purpose of the essential oils? Are they for adding scent or do they serve a more integral purpose? Thanks

    • Christina

      the lemon essential oil helps to further whiten/brighten your clothing just like lemon juice does but you can of course leave it out if you do not have it on hand!

      • Denise

        Great, thanks!

  • Natalie

    If I were to make this and keep it in a spray bottle – how long would it last for? I imagine with the lemon juice it would not be too long? Please advise.

    Thanks!

    • Christina

      Citric acid and hydrogen peroxide both help it keep for quite a looong time. I have never had a gallon jug go bad on me. I have been able to keep it through the entire use of the gallon!

  • simplygreen

    fresh or lemon concentrate

    • I use fresh lemon juice, though I am sure lemon concentrate would work too. You should try it out and tell us how it worked 🙂

  • Heather

    Is this good for washing floors?
    Great recipe! Thank you.

  • rogerkm

    Could you use a stronger dilution of Hydrogen Peroxide safely? 17.5 or 35%?

    • You certainly could though I would be very careful on colors if you use a stronger dilution. As always make sure to patch test just to be sure, but I know that 3% is the safest for color safe bleach

  • Linda Linton

    Also, how much do you use in the wash? I know it says use like bleach, but would you do a cup, 1/2 a cup? The newer bleach is ultra concentrated so you don’t need much. Sorry I have so many questions.

    • You can never have too many questions! 🙂 In my post I give many ways that you can use this bleach but for the wash I state “For whiter whites and brighter colors add 1/2 cup – 2 cups during the bleach cycle or into your bleach container in your washer”, in my parents HE washer I just fill the little bleach section to max full but in my washer I just throw in 1/2-2 cups depending on what I am washing. For towels, whites, and extra dirty little boys clothes I will throw in the 2 cups but just for a natural freshness and softening I will throw in 1/2 cup. Thanks so much for reading!

      • Linda Linton

        I’m so sorry. I totally missed that section. I don’t know how, but I will chalk it up to parent brain. Sorry for making you repeat yourself. Thanks for the info:)

        • Nah I don’t mind repeating myself, I only looked it up because I was like “did I forget to write that in the post???” lol you’re welcome!

  • Linda Linton

    Can you use this on colors without it spotting?

    • it is supposed to be color safe BUT it’s always best to color test a small spot just in case. Some new clothing will bleed if they haven’t been washed before but overall I have not ever had this spot any of my colored clothing!

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  • Christy Rivers

    Awesome Recipe!

  • theGOmamas

    Great post, and doable recipe. I agree with all the points you made. I am getting the early spring cleaning bug myself..lol

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  • carol

    Thanks for the great recipe – n.b. – Both light and oxygen “un-peroxide” hydrogen peroxide (that’s why it’s always in a brown plastic bottle (not clear)). So, be sure you keep a tight lid on it (so the “H2O2” doesn’t deteriorate into “H2O”) and use a solid colored container.

    • oh yes! You are SO right! I meant to put that in there, will do it right now! Thanks so much! <3

      • Linda Linton

        Could you use a white (not clear) old bleach bottle? I am almost out of bleach, and this would be a great alternative. I’m not sure where you could get a brown gallon jug?

        • White or dark brown would be preferable as the peroxide can degrade down in sunlight but the only suggestion that I would make is not to use a bottle that used to have harsh chemical products in it. Plastic tends to leach these chemicals and it would leach into your natural bleach too. I usually use re-use the large gallon castile soap bottles and the gallon vinegar bottles because I know those aren’t going to be an issue if they DID in fact leach through.

        • Lightswitchwarrior

          I know I’m late to the discussion but I just wanted to mention that an empty brown beer growler would work perfectly. You can find them at craft beer supply stores or co-op’s (the ones in my area sell them along with the kombucha that they keep on tap). Hope that helps!

  • happymothering

    I have been wanting to try this! I have been in Spring Cleaning mode as well (we’ve had abnormally warm weather), so I’ll have to test it out!

    • You can totally shave your legs with liquid bronner’s, I have done it tons of time and love it… but no in this recipe it will not give the same fluffy like quality that the bar soap gives!

  • ThePistachioProject

    The only time I use bleach is to strip our diapers. I’d assume a natural alternative might work as well… The last time I tried a natural alternative it did nothing, but your recipe is a bit different so maybe I’ll give it another try.

  • Herbal Academy of NE

    Thanks for sharing this! We are pinning for later!

  • Annie @ MontanaSolarCreations

    I totally need to make some of this for our well loved stash of cloth napkins! I’m pinning it so I can try it out soon!