Happy Tuesday everybody! I hope you are all doing well. This past week my husband and I traveled to Colorado (without kids in tow) and spent some time with friends. We enjoyed amazing mountain views, toured wineries, reenacted The Shining at The Stanley Hotel (kidding), ate great food, and caught up on some much needed rest and relaxation.
I’m back home and ready to start working on the blog again. As you may recall from last Tuesday, I am sharing cleaning tips specifically geared towards the laundry room; since that is the room I am working on for the One Room Challenge. Today I’m trying out a DIY bleach alternative. As I have said many times before, I am not a huge fan of bleach. Just look at the warning label. It’s pretty harsh. “Hazardous to humans…”?
For literally years, I have watched our poor t-shirts and tank tops go from bright white to dingy. I have thought about bleaching them, as I would love to have them back to their days of pure white glory, but I do. not. like. bleach., so I continue to watch as they get grayish in color. Lovely.
Trial 1 and 2… Fail and Fail:
Since I’m doing laundry room cleaning tips, I thought I would go out in search of a DIY bleach alternative, and I found quite a few options. Most contained a combination of hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, water, and lemon essential oil. A few threw in vinegar and/or baking soda. After a bit of research, it seems combining vinegar with hydrogen peroxide, while effective at bleaching clothes, may not be great for one’s health. The combination creates peracetic acid which can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation. No thanks. I decided to try several concoctions (sans vinegar) and they weren’t even worth sharing. Seriously, everything still looked dingy. #cleaningtipfail
Trial 3… Fail… Again:
My next idea was to try something I’d seen a long time ago; something from Martha Stewart. Can you really go wrong with Martha? Apparently, you can. I tried boiling water with lemon slices and soaking the clothes in the mix. I really tried to convince myself that things looked a little brighter, but I wasn’t feeling super excited about it.
Trial 4, 5, & 6… Fail, Pretty Good, and A Definite Win!:
I decided it was time to do an actual experiment. I took 3 of my husband’s under tanks (“wife beaters” if you will) and tried 3 different concoctions. Here’s the one that finally worked!!! YAY!!! (*Note: I used the same ingredients as the previous fails, but instead of adding the mixture directly to the washing machine, I let the clothing soak in it for an hour. I think this is what made all the difference.)
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Lemon Slices (I used 3 lemons)
- 1 Cup Hydrogen Peroxide
- 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
- 4 Cups Water
Fill the stockpot with 4 cups water and the lemon slices. Bring this to a boil. While waiting, mix together 1 cup hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup baking soda.
Once boiling, turn off the burner and add the baking soda/hydrogen peroxide mix. This is going to bubble up from adding the baking soda, so beware. (*Note: I am not an expert on hydrogen peroxide, but if you feel like adding it to boiling water seems somewhat unsafe, you could just use hot water from the tap. I thought about this AFTER I added it to the boiling water. Nothing happened in my
experimental lab kitchen, but I can’t guarantee anything.) Carefully add the clothes you want whitened. Kinda like mixing up a tank top stew… actually it’s just like mixing a tank top stew, only don’t eating it. Allow everything to sit for 1 hour.
When the hour’s up, remove and launder as usual. *Note: The water is still pretty hot, so be careful as you remove the clothing items.
Now, I cannot tell you whether bleach will do a better job, because, as noted, I don’t use bleach. But here are my experimental results:
You can see the rather dingy gray color of the untreated shirt. I was surprised how much the baking soda seemed to help, as the winner and 3rd place were the same treatment, with the only difference being the addition of baking soda for the winner. Just to show you how effective the winner really was… I labeled each tank prior to the experiment because I wanted to make sure I had the right treatment with the right item after everything was washed and dried. The winning combination actually took the ink right out of the tank (and made it much worse in treatment 3):
Obviously this is not a process I am going to do once a week with all my whites, but I will gladly do this when I’m noticing things becoming “less than ideal”. Stew anyone?
***Don’t throw out those lemon slices! You can use them to clean your garbage disposal!
***For yellowing around the collar I highly recommend this DIY Stain Remover!