DIY Homemade Natural Bleach Alternative

Keeping your whites white and your home thoroughly disinfected requires the use of bleach, right? Wrong. Making natural bleach alternative is quick, easy, and a whole lot easier than buying that chemical laden stuff from the store.

Homemade bleach can be used not just in the homesteading laundry room, but all around the house. Yes, the DIY natural bleach while keep your whites white white, and safely brightens colors, yet, it can also be used a strain removing pre-wash soak, to clean the commode, sinks, and the bathtub.

Why You Should Reconsider Using Bleach

  • The Environmental Working Group gives bleach an “F” grade due to the level of toxic ingredients it contains.
  • On average, one-fourth of the emergency phone calls made to the United States Poison Control Center are seeing help after an accidental bleach ingestion. Because many of these bleach emergency calls involve toddlers and young children, such occurrences could potentially be fatal.
  • Not only can bleach burn your skin, it also may cause significant damage to the nervous system.
  • The fumes bleach creates may cause respiratory problems if inhaled.
  • Using bleach when doing laundry in rural areas that functions on septic systems could kill beneficial bacteria in the tank that are needed to help the solid waste decompose properly.
  • If bleach is combined with other chemically harsh cleaning agents, additional dangers and environmental concerns could result for both people and animals.

For tough stains, soak clothing in a bucket of this natural bleach alternative overnight. Alternately, you can spray this onto the stain and let it soak.

How To Use DIY Natural Bleach Alternatives

  • You can put the bleach into a spray bottle and use it as a disinfectant on kitchen and bathroom surfaces and sinks. It should kill about 99% of the bacteria typically found in the high traffic rooms.
  • Clean the commode bowl using this mixture combined with ½ of a cup of baking soda. Lightly scrub the bowl with the DIY natural bleach alternative and let it soak in for around 10 minutes before flushing.
  • To use the bleach to keep your whites looking clean and crisp and to brighten colors, add up to 2 cups into the washer.
  • When you mix the natural bleach alternative with 1 part of either borax or baking soda it becomes a highly effective grout cleaner and tile scrubber. Do not use borax if scrubbing natural stone, it will cause scratching on the surface.
  • Pour up to 1 cup of the homemade bleach into the dishwasher to bolster scouring powder and to use as a natural rinse aid.
  • Clean and disinfect your mop heads by soaking them in a bucket of the all natural bleach for several hours to overnight, before rinsing with water and allowing to air dry.
  • This alternative bleach recipe can even be used to clean mirrors and window glass.
  • To have the greatest chances of success when natural bleaching tough stains or soiled whites, soak the clothing items in the DIY bleach alternative overnight and wash on your longest cycle in the morning.

DIY Natural Bleach Alternative Ingredients

Hydrogen Peroxide

The 3% version of hydrogen peroxide is a superb natural cleaning agent because it boasts substantial oxidizing properties – making it a potent disinfectant solution. Hydrogen peroxide is capable of killing a plethora of common household bacteria, germs, and toxins.

Citric Acid

This is an optional ingredient in the DIY natural bleach alternative recipe. We have well water from a natural spring on our homestead, but if you have hard water or municipal water, adding citric acid to the recipe should help both soften and cleanse it.

If citric acid is not readily available and you still have hard water concerns, substitute distilled water for tap water in the recipe.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is acidic and has a high citric acid content – making it another great natural cleaning agent. When you are using this natural bleach alternative to clean the kitchen or bathroom, the lemon juice will make scouring soap scum and grease a far easier task.

In the laundry room, lemon juice works as a stealthy natural stain remover when a soiled item is either soaked in it or lightly scrubbed with it.

Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate is such an excellent natural cleaning agent because of it mild alkaline properties. Baking soda is great for scrubbing grease, soap scum, and dirt away from both household surfaces and from the clothes washer because of its abrasive qualities.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon oil is a natural disinfectant boasting antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. When used as part of a DIY natural bleach alternative, it will help remove germs from both typical household surfaces and from soiled clothing.

Distilled White Vinegar

Vinegar is acidic, meaning it too is highly powerful at breaking through and removing dirt, grease, and grime to kill bacteria. The key to using vinegar effectively is to use it at full or nearly full strength in recipes, or to spray the clothing or area being treated with it before and/or after another natural cleaning agent.

Since it costs only about $.05 per ounce, using a lot of vinegar at full strength is not cost prohibitive. Remember, vinegar is not recommended for natural stone or wood surfaces.

Some folks are leery about mixing distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide because together the two natural cleaning powerhouses form peracetic acid.

This type of acid is a potent oxidizing agent – making is superb for in-depth cleaning. But, peracetic acid can be harsh when coming into direct contact with skin on some people.

If you have sensitive skin or if you are concerned about the impact of peracetic acid on babies, young children, or pets, simply omit the distilled white vinegar portion of the recipe and increase the amount of hydrogen peroxide to fulfill the measurement requirements.

Cream of Tartar

This little powdery substance is good for far more than doctoring up a fish sandwich. Cream of tartar is potassium hydrogen tartrate, a by-product created during the winemaking process.

When wine is being created this powder forms inside the barrels as it ferments. It is more commonly referred to as tartaric acid by winemakers.

You can mix cream of tartar and baking soda together to make baking powder. The tartaric acid boasts intense scrubbing and disinfectant properties, especially when combined with distilled white vinegar.

DIY Natural Bleach Alternative Recipe

Author: Tara Dodrill


  • up to 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 3 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 5 cups water – or 3 cups of water and 2 additional cups of the vinegar
  • ¾ cup baking soda
  • up to 15 drops lemon essential oil optional but recommended
  • 1 tablespoon citric acid optional


  • Pour all of the ingredients into a ½ gallon storage container with a firm fitting lid.
  • Stir or shake the solution vigorously to thoroughly combine.


Hydrogen peroxide loses it potency when it is exposed to heat or light (hence why it is always sold in a brown bottle) so keep this in mind when storing your bleach alternative. When stored as recommended, the natural bleach alternative should remain potent for at least three months.

Use about 1 cup of the natural bleach per large laundry load, and wash on the hottest setting available for the clothing type, for whitest and brightest results.

The baking soda and the cream of tartar will thicken the DIY natural bleach alternative recipe, but it should still be able to be poured into a squirt bottle for kitchen and bath surface cleaning. You might need to remove the cap on the squirt bottle nozzle to prevent clogging – or pour a small amount directly onto the surface being cleaned.

Although ingredient costs will vary depending upon where you live and shop, it typically costs me about $1 to make this DIY all natural bleach alternative recipe.

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