Ditch The Chlorine! Make Your Own Bleach Alternative

Try this safer laundry additive you can make yourself!

Do you use pesticides when laundering your clothes and linens? Chlorine bleach remains America’s go-to laundry solution for whitening clothes and removing stains. Yet, the US Environmental Protection Agency classifies Chlorine Bleach as an antimicrobial pesticide.  The task of washing clothes does not require the use of harsh chemicals. In an effort to provide more natural, health enhancing products and surroundings for our loved ones, the products we place on our laundry room shelf need to be carefully selected for reasons beyond what gets socks the whitest.

What’s Wrong With Chlorine Bleach?
There are no government guidelines, testing, purity standards or requirements of companies making household cleaning products. Checking the list of ingredients won’t suffice as companies are not required to fully disclose its product ingredients. The Consumer Product Safety Commission requires warning labels on products that are irritating, flammable, corrosive, toxic, and combustible. The commission has banned some drain cleaners, and a few other products, but bleach remains on the grocery shelves and in our laundry rooms, in spite of the fact that thousands of people require emergency room treatment each year due to skin and eye burns, and children swallowing this poisonous and corrosive chemical. Chlorine bleach is irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory system. When inhaled, bleach can cause damage and deterioration of the esophagus and lungs.  It is just as corrosive and damaging to fabric, but we are convinced that everything should be bleached white. And for those with septic tanks, the use of chlorine bleach is not recommended.

While we do not know all the ingredients in household chlorine bleach, we do know that it is dangerous and toxic to our health, our families and the environment.  The good news–There is a safer bleach alternative you can make and use in your washing machine, without the potential health or injury risks.

Bleach Alternative

1 ½ cups 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/2 cup lemon juice
Water to fill a gallon jug
12 drops lemon essential oil

Place a funnel in the top of a gallon jug and pour in the hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice. Remove the funnel and fill the jug with water. Add the lemon essential oil. Cap the jug and shake to combine.

To use:  Add one cup of bleach alternative per load of white laundry.  Add one cup of the bleach alternative solution to the bleach dispenser in your washing machine or directly into the washing machine along with cleaning liquid as the machine fills up with water, before adding the white laundry. Wash as usual. The clothes will come out of the washer fresh, clean, and whiter.

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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Robert Ray

The very moment you “pollute” hydrogen peroxide with other products you destabilize it and it loses it’s oxygen. It cannot be stored otherwise it represents a threat of gas building up and exploding the bottle. If hydrogen peroxide gets in your eyes, it takes moments to destroy the cornea. I would be very wary of this advice.


I haven’t used Chlorine bleach for many years because of it’s toxic chemicals. I will try this and if it works as well as it’s supposed to I will try to convince some people to use the alternative. I hope the majority of the people wake up before it’s too late for the earth.


For u women that bleach the hair. It will lighten your hair without using a dye for your hair. Much safer for you ladies! Spray it on, and go outside, it will lighten it for uou. Keep doing this until desire color. Then every now & then spray your roots to keep it light. So, very safe, and if you didn’t know it, most dyes have Hydrogen peroxide in it. But it has a lot of chemicals you don’t want on your head. That is why they say do a test spot on your head to see if you are allergic to any of the chemicals. Have fun on lighten your hair, ladies & men too!


Clorine bleach is a carcinogen. It causes cancer.

peggy shinkle

With fibromyalgia, I found that eliminating anything that has bleach in it, or even bleached flour or sugar helped a lot with my muscle pain and chrinic fatigue. Bleach is TOXIC!


Do u use fresh lemon juice or bottled u buy in stores ?


We used Hydrogen peroxide in our swimming pool for years, you need to do the research and watch the balance of chemicals just like chlorine, it isn’t any easier but it
is sure a lot nicer.


Hate to say it but sodium hypochlorite was the best thing that ever happen to drinking water. Saved a lot of lives. So it’s not all bad. 😉


How would this work with front loaded machines that weigh the load and then dispense the water?

Rebecca Scott

When you add essential oil to a plastic container, it is absorbed into the plastic and wasted. So…just leave it out and add a little more lemon juice.


Could this be used in pools?

Susan Higgins

Kevin, I would not use it in your swimming pool. Pools need an important balance of chemicals. You could check with a pool maintenance company if there are any other safer alternatives to pool chlorine.

Jerline jackson

I am always looking for something less caustic. I believe a lot of our health probs stem from chemicals used in cleaning and such. Thanks


I have a front loading washer. I fill a 24 oz syrup bottle half full to put bleach in the “bleach dispenser” on the back right side of my soap dispenser. It doesn’t drip and is small enough to reach with no problem. Hope this helps!


I am going to try this. It should be noted hydrogen peroxide will break down and lose its disinfecting and antimicrobial properties if exposed to light. Which is why it’s sold in a dark bottle. I’ll likely just pit a bucket over whatever container I use to keep the light from it.

Deborah Tukua, editor Journey to Natural Living

In response to the questions that haven’t already been answered by another reader.
Wikipedia states, “Hydrogen peroxide is seen as an environmentally safe alternative to chlorine-based bleaches, as it degrades to form oxygen and water. It can be used for the disinfection of various surfaces and is generally recognized as safe as an antimicrobial agent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

In response to the question about cleaning a deck, hydrogen peroxide is used for its cleaning, bactericidal and disinfecting qualities. I have read that it kills mold and mildew, but haven’t tried it for that purpose.

This solution should last as long as other laundry and household solutions/products.

I have only used it when washing white clothes and shower curtains. So, I am not sure if it will bleach the color out of linens or clothing. I will do a test wash and report back.

Thanks for reading our articles!


would this solution still be an anti-microbial (as bleach is)??


Is this to be used with all clothing or just whites?


I pressure wash my deck every spring. Will this be strong enough to kill the mildew/mold?


Rufus B., just pour the solution into the same dispenser your front loader uses to take bleach…problem solved!


3% means the strength that you buy. 3% is the common strength in the bottle in the store.


After mixing this together how long do I have to use it?


Buggs: the 3% is ONLY the ‘type’ of Hydrogen peroxide & not a ‘measure.’ You can buy Food-grade Hydrogen peroxide, or the cheaper 3% kind – which can be purchased in any drugstore, or walmart type stores (i.e. family dollar stores, etc)

Food-grade hydrogen peroxide is harder to find in stores & is mainly used in healing illnesses i.e. homeopathic/naturopathic medicine, or it can be purchased online, if you google it. Hope this helps.


Wait! Silly me! Sorry. I wasn’t thinking when i looked at that. You did spell it out loud & clear. Pole sana (sorry). Sigh! :/

Rufus B

Front loading washers would be a problem.

Francine Hessey

Thank you so much, I will make my new beach .


I am mathematically ‘challenged’ and find it awkward (impossible) to know what 3 percent equals out to. Anything but percentages I can do. Can you please make this a wee bit easier to calculate? Thanks!


i really like this idea. for years i had trouble with my asthma as a child, my mom used bleach on everything. i know now that alot of my trouble was caused by the bleach. i try to change peoples minds about the use of bleach around children, their tender lungs at school breathing that in. it’s a caustic chemical, if it can burn holes in material, think what it’s doing to their lungs. it’s a trigger for lung trouble for the rest of their lives.

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