Bleach is almost a staple in American homes.  Today I would like to share with you why it should not be a staple and what you can use instead when you do laundry. 

No one likes to have socks that used to be white or a blouse that looks as though it was white five years ago.  As a simple solution, many people use bleach.  It will whiten the clothes without much work on your part. 

Why, then, is bleach a not-so-pleasant solution to our laundry woes? 

First, bleach will break down your clothing and make it wear out faster.  Second, if you are like me, when you use bleach, it will end up on something that was not meant to be bleached and ruin that piece of clothing.  Third, bleach is very toxic for the respiratory system.  I know this personally because I’ve used it in the past much more than I care to admit–but not for many years now.  

If you want your clothes to last longer without damaging your family’s respiratory health and without having to replace your clothing more often, here are a few tips: 

1. Use vinegar instead of bleach. 

Vinegar will not cause your clothing to have a shorter life and won’t hurt your family’s lungs.  Add it to your bleach dispenser in the washing machine. 

2.  Add baking soda to your load of laundry. 

Please do not add both baking soda and vinegar since you may have a science experiment in your washing machine.  However, you can use the one or the other–not both.  Use 1/2 cup of baking soda with each load.  

3.  Soak your laundry overnight. 

You can do this in your washing machine or in a bucket.  Be sure you add enough laundry detergent and use the hottest water safe for that clothing.  Also make sure that your laundry is completely submerged. 

Drain the water in which you soaked your clothing before washing the clothing.  Warning:  your water will look rather murky, but this is a good sign that means the soaking has done its duty.  

Did you know that homemakers of years past soaked clothing for 12 hours before they washed it? 

4.  Line dry your clothing outside.  

Did you know that the sun bleaches your clothing naturally?  As a bonus, you will save wear and tear on your dryer and save money by drying your clothing outside.  

When you dry your dark laundry outside, you may want to hang it up inside-out so that the sun does not fade it.  

5.  Use a natural, higher quality laundry detergent. 

Low quality laundry detergent will leave residue on your clothing and make it look yellow.  Low quality laundry detergents are filled with fillers (rocks, sand, and glass); therefore, they are not as economical as you would think them to be.  

6.  Pre-treat stains.  

No, you do not need a separate product for this job.  You just need a cleaning concentrate/laundry detergent.   Dilute it in a spray bottle with water and spray it on your clothing.  The best time to treat stains is immediately after they happen.  If your stained clothing sits in the laundry basket for two or three days (or longer), it will be more difficult to get the stains out.  

How do you keep your white clothing white without bleach?  Please share your tips below!

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