The numerous health warnings, global chaos as well as expensive products have made a lot of people turn to natural solutions for many different things. A good example of this is the natural solution for chlorine bleach and optical brighteners.

Recent studies have confirmed the dangerous health effects of chlorine bleach. Its inappropriate use can lead to formation of poisonous gasses and toxins, which can cause respiratory issues, kidney damage and cancer.

In order to whiten their clothes, most people use an optical brightener which stays on the fabric as a covering of microscopic fluorescent particles. They are easily noticed glowing under ultraviolet light, giving the impression that they are clean. However, most of these products are derived from benzene, a hazardous chemical which does not break down in the environment and poisons the water. Optical brighteners might cause an allergic reaction called phototoxicty, occurring when we wear clothes treated with the product. The chemicals enter the skin and react to daylight causing irritation and rashes on the skin, which appear similar to sunburn.

Thankfully, there is a great natural replacement for these products – lemon juice. It can be used for clothes whitening in two ways:

– Simply put a cup of lemon juice in the washing machine in the middle of the rinse cycle, then hang the clothes to dry in the sun;

– The second way includes putting the clothes in a big basin of hot water and adding a large amount of lemon juice. Leave the clothes to soak overnight in the basin, but be careful – don’t hold them longer in the lemon juice than one night! In the morning, pull the clothes out of the basin and wash them in a machine with your favorite detergent. Repeat the process as many times as you need.

Lemon juice can also be used for many other things. It can be an acid cleaner substitute for dissolving wax buildup, cleaning wood, hard-water stains and tarnish. Combined with salt, it can even remove rust stains from fabrics! You only need to squeeze some lemon juice on the stain and sprinkle it with some salt. Rub the cloth together until the stain disappears. In the end, wash the stain with water and soap to remove it completely. Here are some other methods which can help you whiten your clothes without chemicals:

Distilled white vinegar

Add half or a full cup of distilled white vinegar to your favorite detergent. Don’t worry about the odor – it will be gone when the clothes are dry. Vinegar can also be used on spots, collar and armpits stains.

Hydrogen peroxide (3%)

This is actually bleach without chlorine in it. Add half a cup to your detergent and the results will be great.

Baking soda

Baking soda is one of the most versatile household ingredients. Add half a cup to your detergent to make your clothes fresh and white. It can also be used as a stain remover – make a paste of baking soda and some water and apply it directly on the stain.

Dishwasher detergent

The dishwasher detergent can also be used for clothes whitening. Add quarter of a cup of it to your detergent and you will be amazed by the results. If possible, pick a dishwasher detergent that is chlorine and phosphate-free.