All-Natural Bleach Alternative (That Works)

Brighten whites, kill germs, and soften clothes with this all-natural bleach alternative!

The smell of bleach literally makes me ill, if you have allergies or migraines this toxic crapola is a big no-no, not to mention the harmful effects bleach has on the environment.

If you are using bleach, I really hope you'll kick it to the curb after trying this recipe. And don't forget to dispose of it properly, this is key for any toxic household cleaners you may have hidden under your sink!

Now the makers of bleach tout its safety and effectiveness, but when our cleaning products come with warnings like hazardous, dangerous, or corrosive, I tend to stay away.

Do your homework and get to know the products you are using and what they contain. The Environmental Working Group is an excellent resource.

How to make this All-Natural Bleach Alternative?

This All-Natural Bleach Alternative has three very active and effective ingredients all working together to give your laundry its best bang for its buck. I've tried a million recipes and found this one — by far — works the best.

Hydrogen Peroxide is cheap, safe, and easy to buy and should be in any DIY diva's cleaning closet. It's super versatile too, you can use it to clean just about anything in your home. It's basically the same chemical makeup as water, just with an extra oxygen atom called H2O2. It breaks down quickly into oxygen and water, which is why it's safe to use at home in place of bleach. Just make sure you store it in a cool, dark place.

Citric Acid is better used if you have hard water. It's a natural whitener too.

Lemon juice has these enzymes in its acids that are strong enough to whiten everything from your teeth to your cotton blouse.

This recipe is so versatile you can use it in other areas of your home in place of bleach. But for this post, it's all about the laundry. It will be good for one month.


  • ¾ cup Hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ cup Lemon juice Real or bottled
  • 1 tbsp Citric acid Optional - See recipe note
  • 15 - 20 drops of Lemon essential oil
  • Distilled water
  • ½ gallon jug, if you use plastic, make sure it has the number 1 on the bottom


  • Add all the ingredients to the jug, then fill the remainder with distilled water
  • Shake before using
  • Add ½ cup to 1 cup to your machine's bleach cycle. If you have really stained whites you can go to 2 cups. Store in a cool, dark place

Recipe Notes

TIP: You can use this bleach in other areas of your home. Just pour some of the mixtures into a spray bottle. Great for tubs, toilets, and sinks too.

A good rule of thumb — If a garment says no bleach, then I would not recommend using this. You can use it on colors too but remember, always do a patch test before.

Usage notes for this All-Natural Bleach Alternative

For whites, like towels and heavily soiled kids' clothing you can add up to 2 cups to the bleach cycle. For really tough stains you can soak them overnight in a bucket.

Use 1 cup, leave clothes overnight, then wash the next day and see the magic happen. I don't tend to use this on delicate clothing, like silk or wool, and recommend you try it out for yourself by testing a small area first. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn't use bleach on it, then don't use this on it. Make sense?

A note about the citric acid, it will do a bang-up job at whitening and softening your laundry, making it better used if you have hard water.

The lemon essential oils give this solution a fresh, citric twist, which I love if you'd prefer no scent, then leave it out. It does have some pretty good cleaning benefits, though, just saying.

And finally as mentioned before, you can use this mixture in place of bleach in the bathroom, kitchen, on floors, tiles, and in the toilet too. Just spray and wipe.

If you are looking for an all-natural bleach alternative I hope you will give this one a try.

It's more effective than chlorine bleach (a no-no in my home) and safer too. Have you used hydrogen peroxide in your home? I'd love to know more, tell me in the comments below.

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11 thoughts shared

  1. I believe citric acid nowadays is made from black mold formed on citrus fruits.
    One would think it’s made just from the fruit itself, but it’s not.

  2. My grandmother used to use white vinegar in the rinse. cycle. It’s great for the environment and your clothes are like you used fabric softener no smell.

  3. Hi there. Will definitely try this bleach alternative. Now about mildew… I’ve tried several combos of eco-options for removing that mildew smell on my cloths and towels. All my kitchen & bathroom cloths/towels turned really smelly this past summer (likely from the high humidity). To name a few, I’ve tried combinations of: vinegar in hot water (soak 1 hr) + 1/2 cup baking soda + 4 tbsp detergent in hot cycle then line-dry in the sun. I’ve also used Oxiclean (soak 48 hrs) after this method didn’t work. I’ve also tried the recipe for body oils (dish soap, Borax, vinegar) to no avail. Thought hot water, sun and/or OxiClean would kill the mould. Nothing seems to work. Plus, I can’t bleach my dark towels…but getting desperate to get the smell out of almost everything now.

    1. Hi Jilly, this is a conundrum for sure. Mold is very hard to get rid of especially when it comes to smell. Have you tried washing soda (not baking soda) with hydrogen peroxide? Try soaking it in 2 cups washing soda and 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide. Add it to a bucket of water and let it soak. Give it a try and let me know. Mold also makes me nervous from a health perspective, I hate to say this, but you may need to recycle them.
      best regards,