If you would like to keep your laundry room as free as possible from chemicals, there are several natural alternatives you can try.
Lemon Juice in the Washer
Lemon juice can be one of your best allies! You can try partially filling your washer with hot water and soaking your whites overnight with the juice of a couple lemons. The next day run your washer through the spin cycle and then wash per normal. Alternatively, just add lemon juice to your rinse cycle. You can use lemon juice and salt like you would use a spot remover as well.
Vinegar is another ingredient found in your kitchen that can do wonders for whitening clothes. People shy away from the idea thinking that the residual odour left in the washer remains in clothing as well, but it doesn’t. Try adding a half to ¾ of a cup per load (top loader washers) to your wash water. It is inexpensive and effective with no chemical residue.
Another panacea from your pantry is baking soda. Add half a cup of baking soda to your washing machine’s wash water to whiten and brighten your clothes. Baking soda is non-toxic and used in many whitening toothpastes as well as other environmentally friendly household cleaners.
Safe to use with your laundry detergent, hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to bleach. Try adding a half a cup to your washing machine’s regular wash cycle.
A naturally occurring alkaline mineral salt, borax has been used for centuries. You can presoak your clothes in your washing machine overnight or add some borax to your wash water. It has excellent whitening abilities; in fact some commercial laundry preparations include borax in the compound. You can find borax in the laundry aisle of your grocery store.
Whether it’s combined with another method or on its own, sunlight can always be relied upon for brightening up your laundry. And best of all it’s completely friendly to the environment and free.
While there are many inexpensive natural alternatives to commercially available laundry additives and brighteners, many of these natural options are more time consuming to use, and not necessarily recommended for front loading washers. Always check with your washing machine manufacturer for a list of recommended products.
If you have other natural brightening ideas for the laundry, or experience using such methods with front loading washers, we are interested in hearing from you.