How to Make Your Own Fabric Whitener

Updated February 21, 2017

Over time, fabrics get dingy and lose their brightness. While chlorine bleach is a popular fabric whitener, it is also toxic and can ruin some clothing if not applied properly. Adding homemade fabric whiteners to the wash offers an attractive alternative to bleach. Making your own whitener can be done in several ways and is not difficult; and has the twin bonuses of being both safe and eco-friendly.

For an average washing load: Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to 1 cup of white distilled vinegar.

Pour the solution into the washing machine during the rinse cycle.

For a single garment: Place the yellowed or dingy garment into a sink filled with warm water. Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar. Let the garment soak for up to one hour. Then wash as usual.

With lemon juice: Place the garment you want to whiten into a gallon of hot water. Use the bathroom sink or a bucket. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Let the garment soak for 30 minutes or overnight if it is really yellow and dingy. Then wash as usual.


Instead of using white distilled vinegar you can substitute three-percent hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda
  • White distilled winegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lemon juice
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