9 Natural Alternatives to Bleach for a Safer Home

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Natural Alternatives to Bleach

When it comes to cleaning your home, bleach is often one of the first things that come to mind. Many cleaning articles you’ll read only suggest using bleach for all kinds of purposes.

While bleach can be effective at getting rid of dirt and grime, it can also be harsh on your skin and eyes as well as the environment. There are a number of convincing reasons for avoiding bleach.

If you’re looking for a safer option, there are plenty of natural alternatives to bleach available. Here are nine options that can help you clean your home safely and effectively.

Related: How to Clean White Shoelaces Without Bleach

Why Use Natural Alternatives to Bleach?

There are a number of reasons you might want to avoid using bleach. It can be harsh on your skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Inhaling bleach fumes can irritate your lungs and cause difficulty breathing.

If you have young children or pets in your home, bleach can also be dangerous. Children and pets can easily come into contact with bleach if it’s being used for cleaning. If ingested, bleach can cause serious health problems.

Instead of using harsh chemicals like bleach, consider using natural alternatives that are just as effective at cleaning but much safer for you and your family.

The Best Natural Bleach Alternatives

1. Vinegar

Harris Cleaning Vinegar, Orange, 128 Fl Oz, All Purpose Household Surface Cleaner Harris Cleaning Vinegar, Orange

Vinegar, distilled white vinegar, in particular, is one of the most versatile natural cleaning products you can use. It’s safe for both people and animals and can be used on a variety of surfaces. It’s also very inexpensive and you probably already have some in your home.

You can use vinegar to disinfect, brighten laundry, and clean windows and mirrors. You can even use it to remove stains from the carpet and upholstery.

To disinfect surfaces with vinegar, mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it to the surface you want to clean. Let it sit for a few minutes then wipe it away with a clean cloth.

To use vinegar for laundry, add a cup of distilled white vinegar to your wash cycle. You can also add vinegar to a spray bottle and spritz it on stains before laundering or pre-soak your clothes in a mixture of vinegar and water.

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2. Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, 12 Pack of 1lb BoxesArm & Hammer Baking Soda

Baking soda is another one of our best natural alternatives to bleach products that’s very versatile and inexpensive. It can be used for cleaning, deodorizing, and even as a natural insecticide.

Baking soda is also effective as a whitening agent. You can add it to your laundry cycle to brighten your clothes or make a paste out of baking soda and water to scrub away stains.

You can also use baking soda to freshen up carpets and upholstery. Simply sprinkle baking soda on the fabric and let it sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming.

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3. Castile Soap

Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 8 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMODr. Bronners – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

Castile soap is a natural, plant-based soap that’s gentle enough to use on both skin and surfaces. It’s made with ingredients like olive oil and coconut oil and comes in both liquid and bar form.

You can use castile soap for cleaning floors, counters, and other surfaces. You can also use it to make your own all-purpose cleaner by mixing equal parts water and castile soap in a spray bottle.

To use castile soap for laundry, add a few drops to your washing machine along with your regular detergent.

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4. Oxygen-Based Bleach

Biokleen Laundry Oxygen Bleach Plus 32 HE Loads - Concentrated Stain Remover, Whitens & Brightens, Eco-Friendly, Plant-Based, No Artificial Fragrance or Preservatives, 2 Pounds, 32 Fl OzBiokleen Laundry Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen-based bleach is a safe alternative to chlorine-based bleach. And although it’s safer, it’s still effective at removing stains and brightening clothes and other fabrics.

While chlorine-based bleach uses sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient, oxygen-based bleach relies on sodium percarbonate.

Oxygen-based bleach is available in both powder and liquid forms. You can use it in your laundry cycle or mix it with water to create a pre-soak solution.

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5. Lemon Juice

Iberia 100% Lemon Juice, 32 Ounce (Pack of 3)Iberia 100% Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another natural cleaning product that can be used in place of bleach. It’s safe to use around children and pets and won’t damage your skin or eyes. Like vinegar, lemon juice is also very versatile.

You can use lemon juice to clean countertops, floors, windows, and more. You can also add it to laundry to brighten clothes or remove stains.

To clean with lemon juice, simply mix equal parts water and lemon juice in a spray bottle. You can then use this solution to clean countertops, floors, toilets, and more.

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6. Hydrogen Peroxide

Amazon Basics Hydrogen Peroxide Topical Solution USP, 32 fluid ounce, Pack of 1Amazon Basics Hydrogen Peroxide Topical Solution USP

Hydrogen peroxide is a safe alternative to chlorine-based bleach. It’s often used as a disinfectant and can be found in most households.

You can use hydrogen peroxide to clean surfaces, disinfect, and whiten laundry. You can also use it to remove stains from carpets and upholstery.

To use hydrogen peroxide for cleaning, simply apply it to the surface you want to clean and wipe it away with a clean cloth.

To disinfect with hydrogen peroxide, mix a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a cup of water in a spray bottle. Then, apply it to the surfaces you want to disinfect and let it air dry.

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7. Tea Tree Oil

NaturoBliss 100% Pure, Tea Tree Essential Oil - (4 Fl Oz / 120 ml) -Undiluted Tea Tree Essential Oil, Therapeutic Grade - Perfect for Aromatherapy and RelaxationNaturoBliss 100% Pure, Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that’s known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s also a natural disinfectant and can be used to clean surfaces and laundry.

To use tea tree oil for cleaning, mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle. Then, apply it to the surface you want to clean and wipe it away with a clean cloth.

You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to your laundry cycle or pre-soak your clothes in a mixture of water and tea tree oil. With how effective tea tree oil is it is another option on our Best Natural Alternatives to Bleach list.

Related: Do Natural Cleaning Products Work?

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8. Natural DIY Recipes

While all of the natural bleach alternatives listed above are effective, each serves its own purpose. There are many ways you can combine these ingredients to create your own cleaning recipes for specific purposes. For some ideas, see our list of DIY recipes for all-natural cleaning.

9. The Sun

Did you know that the sun can be used to naturally bleach and disinfect clothes? Simply hang your clothes in direct sunlight for a few hours and let the UV rays do their job.

This method is especially effective at removing sweat stains and yellowing from white clothes. Just be sure to hang your clothes in a place where they won’t blow away or get dirty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use to whiten clothes instead of bleach?

There are several safe alternatives to bleach that can be used to whiten clothes, including oxygen-based bleach, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide.

Is it safe to use essential oils in place of bleach?

Yes, essential oils such as tea tree oil are safe alternatives to bleach. They can be used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and laundry.

What is an alternative to bleach for disinfecting?

Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are both effective alternatives to bleach for disinfecting surfaces. Tea tree oil is also a natural disinfectant.

Is vinegar as good as bleach for disinfecting?

Vinegar is a safe and effective alternative to bleach for disinfecting surfaces. It’s also less likely to damage surfaces than bleach. It’s not quite as powerful as bleach (vinegar kills about 90% of bacteria while bleach kills more than 99%), but it’s one of the most effective bleach alternatives.

What can I use instead of bleach to clean my bathroom?

There are several safe alternatives to bleach that can be used to clean bathrooms, including vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and lemon juice. You can also make your own cleaning solutions with these ingredients.

Does hydrogen peroxide disinfect?

Yes, hydrogen peroxide is a safe and effective alternative to bleach for disinfecting surfaces. It’s also less likely to damage surfaces than bleach.

How can I get my whites white without bleach?

There are several safe alternatives to bleach that can be used to whiten clothes, including oxygen-based bleach, lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide. You can also hang your clothes in direct sunlight to naturally disinfect and bleached them.

Will the sun whiten clothes?

Yes, the sun’s UV rays can disinfect and bleach clothes. This method is especially effective at removing sweat stains and yellowing from white clothes.

Can you use baking soda instead of bleach?

Baking soda is a mild cleaner that won’t kill germs, unlike bleach. However, you can use baking soda to whiten clothes and for use as a general cleaner and deodorizer.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
E-Cloth General Purpose Cleaning ClothE-Cloth General Purpose Cleaning Cloth
  • 4-Pack E-Cloth, just add water for multiple cleaning purposes and surfaces, always have one available
  • Microfibers trap and remove dirt, debris, grime, and over 99% of bacteria from hard surfaces and appliances just using water
  • Easy to use, machine washable, eco-friendly, and effective
9.7
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Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom CleanerSeventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner
  • Effectively Controls Odors
  • No rinsing or wiping is required after using (even on food contact surfaces)
  • When used as directed, kills 99.99% of household germs and is effective against the influenza A virus
9.6
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CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting WipesCleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes
  • Plant-derived, multi-surface cleaning wipes made without chemicals, no rinsing required even on children's toys or food contact surfaces
  • Antibacterial to disinfect, kills 99.9% of household germs and odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew
  • Voted Best Disinfecting Wipes by Parents magazine, cruelty-free
9.5
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Final Thoughts on Natural Alternatives to Bleach

While bleach is a powerful cleaning agent, it’s not always the best choice. There are many safe alternatives to bleach that can be used for cleaning, laundry, and disinfecting. These alternatives are often just as effective as bleach and less likely to damage surfaces or cause harm to humans and the environment.

If you’re looking for safe and natural alternatives to bleach, consider one of the options on this list.

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