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How do you whiten clothes without bleach?

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Quick Answer

You can whiten clothes without bleach by laundering them with common household ingredients. White vinegar, baking soda, borax and lemon juice are excellent substitutes and do not contain the harsh chemical properties of bleach.

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Bleach is commonly used to brighten white clothing and linens, but if you want to avoid strong chemicals, look no further than your pantry for milder solutions.

White vinegar is one alternative, and it can applied during the final rinse cycle to help deodorize and strip away soap residue. It should never be mixed with bleach, as the combination produces dangerous fumes. Vinegar is unsuitable to use with certain fabrics such as silk and rayon, Better Homes and Gardens.com advises.

Baking soda is another pantry ingredient that helps freshen and soften fabric. Add it to your laundry detergent at the beginning of the wash cycle.

Lemon juice can also be added to your laundry detergent as a brightening agent. It may fade certain colors, so it should be used only on white fabrics.

Borax is a mineral substance that removes stains, deodorizes and brightens fabrics. It may be applied to the wash cycle with detergent, or it can be used as a soaking agent to treat persistent stains such as coffee.

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