DIY Natural Bleach Alternative Recipe

Did you know you can make your own natural bleach without the chemicals for just pennies? Check out this DIY natural bleach alternative recipe. You’ll be able to naturally clean your home and whiten your laundry without the harsh chemicals.

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A stack of white folded towels with some natural bleach alternative cleaner in a bottle next to them

Years ago, I used chlorine bleach to whiten my clothes and get mold and mildew out of my tile grout. I hated the smell and always felt a bit dizzy after using it even though I always diluted it. I thought wearing gloves would be enough to protect myself, but even the fumes can cause serious health issues.

In fact, there are a number of studies that show a clear connection between toxic cleaning supplies, like bleach, and the development of asthma in people who had never had previous signs of it.1 That’s not all. In 2010, poison control centers in the US received more than 110,000 phone calls about household cleaner accidents involving children under the age of five?2

Think about how many homes in America have bleach or cleaners that contain bleach under sinks and in laundry rooms.

What is Bleach?

For centuries, people harnessed the power of the sun to whiten or “bleach” clothes. Sunlight acts as a bleach through a process that breaks down the bonds in the chromophore – as a result of the high-energy photons of light. Hydrogen peroxide is another example of a mild whitener or “bleach” that can be used in the home – and a safer alternative to chlorine bleach.3

Chlorine bleach (also known as sodium hypochlorite) does the same thing as the sun chemically, as do other forms of chemical bleach, including sodium hypochlorite (typically used to sanitize swimming pools) and calcium hypochlorite (bleaching powder). It is used for household use for cleaning and whitening.

The problem with chlorine bleach, in particular, is that it can cause irritation in the eyes, mouth, lungs and skin through exposure and lead to serious health issues.

5 Reasons to Avoid Chlorine Bleach

1. Bleach is dangerous if swallowed

Bleach and household cleaners are often left under sinks or laundry rooms where children have easy access to them. Swallowing chlorine bleach can burn the mouth, throat, stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Ingesting large amounts of bleach could result in intestinal bleeding.

Many children are admitted to the emergency room each year for accidental poisonings because bleach and other cleaners with bleach are within reach and have brightly colored labels and bottles that make it attractive to kids.

2. Bleach may cause asthma

A number of studies that show a clear connection between toxic cleaning supplies, like bleach, and the development of asthma in people who had never had previous signs of it. And for those who already have asthma, bleach can aggravate symptoms because it irritates the lungs.1

3. Bleach may cause respiratory damage

Those who use bleach four or more times a week are more likely to suffer from wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and other respiratory issues compared to non-bleach users.2

Think about that. Whether you clean your home or have a housekeeper (who is exposed to probably daily use of bleach), that’s a lot of exposure. It’s not just bleach for laundry – it’s also any household cleaner with bleach in it. Think about schools or daycare centers that use bleach to clean floors, desks, bathrooms, toys, etc. Our families are exposed to bleach and cleaners made with bleach all the time.

4. Bleach mixed with other cleaners can produce toxic gases

Chlorine bleach can also react with other common household cleaners like ammonia or vinegar to produce toxic gases.2 Many people unknowingly use a toilet bowl cleaner or other household cleaner (not knowing there’s ammonia or vinegar in it) and then use chlorine bleach to disinfect and get exposed to that toxic gas.

In fact, mixing bleach with ammonia or ammonia-based cleaners (think rust removers, and even glass cleaner) can create high concentrations of chlorine gas – which can cause asthma after a single exposure.2

5. Bleach can burn skin

Chemicals burns from bleach can occur with exposure to bleach – especially over a prolonged period. These burns are painful to the skin and eyes, and can cause permanent damage or scarring.1 These burns could happen just from use of bleach or cleaners without gloves or accidental spilling.

Think about how a mother may use bleach to clean tubs or tiles, or even in the laundry room with a child nearby. An accidental spill could cause serious injury.

My Favorite DIY Natural Bleach Alternative Recipe

This DIY Natural Bleach Alternative recipe is amazing. It’s frugal (actually dirt cheap), easy to make and non-toxic. I make a batch to store in a 20 oz. spray bottle and use as needed for cleaning tubs, tiles/grout and even as a stain remover. It’s a cleaning powerhouse – it cleans and whitens without removing the original color (like chlorine bleach).

I also just add a cup of this mixture to my laundry to whiten my clothes and towels naturally. It works incredibly well, but without the toxins or the nose-numbing fumes.

How To Make DIY Natural Bleach – Step By Step

  1. Add all ingredients to a quart-sized jar or container.
  2. Use 1 cup of this solution as needed for laundry.
  3. For tougher cleaning stains, add another 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the mixture

Safer Alternatives to Bleach

So what is in this DIY Natural Bleach? These ingredients are safer alternatives to clean and whiten without harsh chemical cleaners.

Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution you can find at most drug stores) is a non-toxic “bleach” or whitener that doesn’t have the same harsh side effects as chlorine bleach. It can be used for tubs and tile, grout and laundry. It is non-toxic and can be used topically as a sanitizer and disinfectant too.

Lemon juice is a natural lightener. When combined with hydrogen peroxide and essential oils, it can be a DIY natural bleach alternative. It also works great with baking soda to whiten and sanitize tubs and tile.

Baking soda is one of my all-time favorite natural whiteners (check out 30 uses for baking soda). I add it to my laundry to boost the whitening effects and use it as as homemade soft scrub cleaner for my countertops and sinks.

Essential oils are great for cleaning – especially when combined with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. It can help to naturally fight stains and gently whiten surfaces and fabrics. Learn more about what essential oils to start with here.

Thieves Household Cleaner is made with the Thieves essential oil blend and other biodegradable and non-toxic surface cleaners. It works really well on tubs and tile. It’s fantastic in the laundry too. Here are 20 ways to clean the home with Thieves Household Cleaner.

Top Tips for This DIY Natural Bleach

  • You can use lemon juice or essential oils.
  • For tougher stains add another 1/2 cup to the mix.
  • Hydrogen peroxide should be kept in a cool, dark place and preferably in a dark bottle. I used an old water jug for this solution, labeled it appropriately.
  • The water you add can be plain tap water. No need to use filtered water when it’s only going to be combined with tap water in the washer anyway.

How to Get Started with Essential Oils

More DIY Recipes You Might Like

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stack of folded towels and bottle of natural bleach

DIY Natural Bleach Alternative

Don't Mess With Mama
Ditch the toxic chlorine bleach. Make your own for pennies with this DIY natural bleach alternative recipe. It cleans and whiten naturally.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes



  • Add all ingredients to a quart-sized jar or container.
  • Use 1 cup of this solution as needed for laundry.
  • For tougher cleaning stains, add another 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the mixture.


  • About the Ingredients
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution you can find at most drug stores) is a fantastic sanitizer and disinfectant.
  • It's non-toxic and whitens without harsh chemicals. Lemon juice is a natural cleaner and helps to boost the whitening effects of this recipe. Essential oils are great for cleaning.
Keyword bleach alternative, Natural bleach
Tried this recipe?Mention @dontmesswithmama on Instagram


1. Essential Oil Desk Reference Guide, 6th edition, Life Science Publishing.
2. Cleaning Supplies and Your Health, Environmental Working Group:
3. Bleach, Wikipedia:

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  1. Hi. Would this be safe in a holding tank? We live in a country where our water is held under ground and pumped up as needed. We usually add a cup of bleach to keep it from getting stinky. It’s around 7,000 gallons. We don’t drink it, it’s only for showering, washing dishes and clothes but it scares me.