Q&A: Are there any effective, eco-friendly ways to whiten laundry?

Question by Boffcat: Are there any effective, eco-friendly ways to whiten laundry?
I do my laundry at fairly low temperatures (30 – 40 degrees C) using eco-friendly washing liquid, to try to minimise the environmental impact. While this works fine for coloureds and darks, my white clothes/bedding could do with a bit of help. Is there anything natural I could add while washing to whiten them? (Lemon juice? Vinegar? Bicarb soda? Something else entirely?)

N.B. I do dry whites in direct sunlight as much as possible, but this doesn’t seem to be enough!

Best answer:

Answer by Zeke
this green craze has gotten way outta control. jk 😉

What do you think? Answer below!

3 Responses to “Q&A: Are there any effective, eco-friendly ways to whiten laundry?”

  1. Darling…..you are certainly using the almost complete arsenal of green cleaners for whitening and brightening. All thats left to add is either borax or perhaps a half mixture of bleach with half of your usual dose of cleaning detergent. While not the greenest solution, it is better than the full dose of bleach you might use. Also, if your water is hard, you may be suffering the “hard water dingys” and need to soften the water more. A friend of mine who used to repair appliances said that most people use entirely TOO MUCH detergent to clean their clothes and actually make their clothes dingier by continuing to add too much. He advised me to use less detergent and when possible, to let clothes soak for a bit, even as little as 15 minutes can make a TREMENDOUS difference. My Mom taught me to NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, to mix whites with ANY colors AT ALL. And her whites are the whitest. Once I took that into my arsenal of cleaning, I noticed a distinct difference in the white of my whites. Also, you might try finding a little product my Grams used to use, don’t know how green it is, but I have it in my cleaning kit and use it when I need an item whiter that white, called Blueing. Its hard to come by these days, and any time I see it, I clear the shelf. I am down to my last bottle, and its half full. Add a few drops to a glass of water and add to your front loader, or if you have the standard top loader, a bit more to a glass of water and add AFTER the water has been added to your last rinse. Its a bit of effort to catch that last rinse, or you can try adding it instead of softener, oh oh….which also can make your clothes dingy too. Try giving that up for a bit and see if the clothes brighten up. Okay, I have emptied my cleaning tips for white on you! Good luck!

  2. Nette on the Bayou Reply March 21, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Well, it’s either do your part for the environment or have white clothes. But my Mom said her Mom used to rinse whites in lemon water, then regular water, then hang out in the sun.
    Now, I just use bleach. Not a lot because it is not good for the sewage treatment system. Sunshine is the key, I think. OH! And always wash solid whites in hot water, or at least warm.

  3. Soak, soak and soak again! This is something that so few people actually do, but it makes such a huge difference to the quality of the laundry.

    Bicarb soda and vinegar should work a treat for whitening. Just pop the laundry out in full sun once you’ve washed it.

    I’d advise against borax. It’s an industrial chemical (and not as green as people like to believe…it’s toxic and should be avoided, especially when pregnant).

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