Since being diagnosed with PCOS and with an MTHFR-gene mutation three years ago, one of my missions in life has been to rid my home of necessary chemicals and toxins. While this may seem like a relatively simple process, but as I’ve transitioned to fully working from my home office I’ve stopped seeing cleaning as a series of weekend cleaning marathons and now more a daily stream of necessitated chores and routine maintenance that requires cleaners, tools, and a litany of products to be kept on hand at home.
With having health issues I’ve been at odds over which cleaners to buy. Should one go with tried-and-true cleaners or making products that may or may not work for our family’s needs? I’ve truly anguished over whether or not what I believed to be the best way to clean my home was correct, as most of what I know about cleaning and home care came from my Grandmother. All of which makes buying cleaners, solvents, and detergents more and more difficult.
One of my most difficult quandaries? Chlorine bleach. Growing up I cannot tell you the number of times I remember my Grandmother pulled out her trusty jug of bleach. From cleaning counters to laundry to even adding a capful of bleach to hand washed dishes, bleach was a staple in our home. My issue? Bleach causes me skin allergies, induced asthma symptoms, and makes my eyes water horribly. As a result I stopped buying bleach.
But while my bleach allergies stopped the need to not have dingy, grayish laundry did not cease to be a need or concern in our home. Which led me to rethink my ban on bleach. Except, this time I needed to find an affordable, lasting bleach alternatives. Particularly a natural, homemade alternative that brightens your clothes, smells good and doesn’t irritate my skin. A tall order indeed.
So I began with a little research to find the right natural bleach. I started working with the following:
- hydrogen peroxide
- lemon juice
- baking soda
- citric acid
- lemon essential oil
While all of the items above will whiten and brighten clothes, not all of these products can be used together. For example, mixing vinegar and hydrogen peroxide creates peracetic acid, an acid which can be incredibly irritating to the skin, eyes, and nasal passages. So to avoid allergic reactions while cleaning, I eliminated vinegar off my list.
So using the remaining ingredients and after numerous rounds of washing our reusable kitchen cleaning clothes, I’ve come up with a combination that gets the job done and is very affordable! Here’s how to make it:
- 3/4 cup Hydrogen Peroxide
- 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
- 15 Drops Lemon Essential Oil
- 3/4 Cup Baking Soda
- 7 Cups Water
- 1 Teaspoon Citric Acid
- 1/2 Gallon Mason Jar
- Combine all ingredients in a container.
- Shake blend well before each use.
- Use 1 cup per load, washing with hottest water setting available.
A few final thoughts:
While some other DIY recipes for bleach alternatives call for equal parts hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice, I thought that it would be a tad expensive with so much lemon juice. The 3:1 ratio I went with, in conjunction with the jugs of lemon juice I can purchase from Sam’s Club for a song, is enough to get the job done and keeps costs affordable.
As well, as a rule, hydrogen peroxide should be kept in a cool place and preferably in a dark bottle, and as should this blend. The water you add can be plain tap water. No need to use filtered water when it’s only going to be combined with tap water in the washer anyway.
Also, the water you add can be plain tap water as there will not be a need to use filtered water when it’s only going to be combined with tap water in the washer anyway.
Now if you have ultra dirty clothes you might want to soak dirty clothes and solution in the washer overnight and then add detergent and finish cleaning cycle in the morning. Another tip is to wash dirty clothes twice in a row before drying, and of course, to wash in hot water to help make your laundry it’s lightest and brightest.
Cost breakdown for this blend:
- Hydrogen Peroxide: $0.07
- Lemon Juice: $0.18
- Lemon Essential Oil: $0.18
- Baking soda: $0.11
- Citric Acid: $0.09
- Total cost for 1/2 gallon all-natural homemade bleach alternative: is just 63¢!
- This is an 89% savings over conventional bleach alternative products!
As the cost for store-bought bleach at Costco and Sam’s Club averages about 3 cents per ounce, but this homemade version costs just 0.5 cents per ounce, so you’re not only saving money but harmful chemicals from your home and laundry, too!
So, everyone, I have to ask, do you use bleach or are you more into the bleach alternative camp? I’d love to hear your opinions below!
Here’s to cleaner homes,