For generations, it’s been bleach to the rescue. Anytime dingy white sheets need brightening, or porcelain needs polishing, this whitening agent has been a go-to staple in just about every household from coast to coast.
The problem? Bleach is poisonous when ingested or inhaled.
In 2011, this everyday sanitizing agent was the culprit in 34,000 reported cases of poisoning—12,000 of which were children. Bleach inhalation can cause and worsen asthma, and mixing it with ammonia or vinegar creates noxious gas unsafe for anyone to breathe in. Time to eradicate this chemical from the home once and for all.
Luckily, there are natural options that make it easy to banish bleach forever. Start by with whipping up a homemade bleach alternative. Just mix 1 ½ cups hydrogen peroxide, ½ cup lemon juice, and distilled water to fill a gallon jug. Use this solution in place of regular bleach in the laundry or as a general cleaner.
For dingy white laundry, do a pre-soak with warm water and lemon. Boil a pot of water and remove from heat, squeeze in the juice of a lemon and throw in the juiced lemon itself. Soak whites in this mixture at least one hour, or overnight. For super tough whitening jobs, also add one cup lemon juice into the laundry load along with Molly's Laundry Powder—but make sure to only do this for whites, since lemon juice can fade colors.
Restore beautiful white tiles, grout, and porcelain with a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Here’s the trick: Spray hydrogen peroxide on a white surface and leave it overnight. It will be noticeably cleaner the next morning, but go the extra mile and douse the area with baking soda and go to town with a scrub brush. White surfaces will shine once again.
Baking soda also works to remove coffee stains from that trusty, beloved mug. Just sprinkle baking soda into the mug and scrub away to make it shine like new.
And teeth—everybody covets a blinding white smile. Yes, baking soda can work here too. Wet a toothbrush, add a dollop of baking soda, and brush away. Be careful, though—baking soda is abrasive, so don’t do this everyday. Regularly brushing with baking soda can wear down tooth enamel and cause irritation and inflammation in sensitive gum tissue. Limit this practice to once a week at most. Another secret way to whiten teeth: Try brushing with activated charcoal.
These natural ways to whiten whites are truly life-changing. Bye bye, bleach—see you never! Got any other amazing natural whitening tips to share? Weigh in on the comments below!
Photo credit: Alicia Cho