Cleaning dirty laundry is a task most people will have to undertake at some point in their lives. Clean clothing is essential for daily life and most of us would like our clothing to last a reasonable amount of time. One way to keep our white clothing white is to bleach it with chlorine bleach. However, some people either do not desire to use chlorine bleach or they just cannot use it. Another problem with chlorine bleach is the fact that it can only be used for white or very light colored clothing. It cannot be used on darker clothing. Below are two alternative methods to bleaching your laundry, sorted by clothing type.
To keep your white clothing looking its whitest without using chlorine bleach, you can try one of the following options.
The first option is to use hydrogen peroxide. For this method, use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. 3% is the standard solution sold at many drugstores and retailers. To check if yours is 3%, read the label. Anything stronger than 3% is dangerous to use in your household.
Pour ½ cup of your hydrogen peroxide in the bleach cup/section of your washing machine. If your washing machine does not have this section, allow the washer to fill to the load level before placing the clothing in the washer and pour the hydrogen peroxide directly into the water. Allow the washer to agitate a few times before placing the clothing in. This distributes the peroxide.
Peroxide, like bleach, can damage certain dyes and fabrics. Test a small inconspicuous area on your garments first, just like bleach. Peroxide is also a disinfecting agent, so if you need something that also gets rid of germs, this works well. It also removes stains, such as those found in cloth diapers and it also removes blood and grass stains.
Another option for white clothing is vinegar and baking soda. If you have very tough stains, you may prefer the peroxide, but for normal dirt and food stains, the vinegar and peroxide method works well.
To use this method, you can pour 1 cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda right on top of the clothing in the washer once the washer has started. These are natural items, so they are not likely to damage the fabric, unless it is extremely thin.
The reason this works is because vinegar is acidic and is a disinfectant. The acidic properties of the vinegar cause it to “eat” away at the stains. When the baking soda is added, it creates a bubbling action, which pulls the stains away as the vinegar is “eating” them. Baking soda also has a rough texture, which also scrubs the clothing while it is pulling away. The baking soda is also a natural softener, so you won’t have to use fabric softener when using this method.
Darker clothing seems harder to disinfect, due to the fact that it cannot be bleached. There are color-safe bleaches. However, they are more expensive than traditional bleaching products, not to mention the fact that commercial color-safe bleach is a chemical.
For darker clothing, simply use the vinegar/baking soda method mentioned above. A bonus to it is that it helps darker colors retain their natural look and stay soft as well.
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