How to Whiten Laundry Without Using Chlorine Bleach
Whites--they are beautiful when new but can quickly become dingy over time. Chlorine bleach is a harsh way to whiten laundry, shortening fabric life and leaving a yellowish hue caused by oxidation. Color-safe bleaches are often ineffective, leaving most users frustrated and avoiding white items in future purchases.
There is a little-known secret to whitening laundry that does not require bleach, a secret weapon that you may have under your kitchen sink right now. That secret is ammonia. Ammonia is a heavy-duty cleaning and degreasing agent, capable of removing stains that other cleaners can't. The primary thing about using ammonia is to avoid all contact with bleach. Depending upon the concentration of each substance, bleach and ammonia can produce a deadly gas or even explode under the right conditions, so be cautious and avoid mixing the two substances.
Things You'll Need:
Dirty load of whites
Top-load washing machine
1 cup of ammonia
1/4 teaspoon of Mrs. Stewart's Laundry Bluing (for an extra-bright white)
1/2 cup vinegar or fabric softener for the rinse (vinegar recommended)
Fill the washing machine with hot water.
Add the recommended amount of your preferred laundry detergent to the washer.
Add 1 cup of ammonia to the washer.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of Mrs. Stewart's Laundry Bluing to the washer. Note: washer water should be a light blue tint after adding this.
Allow the washer to agitate for a moment to mix these items thoroughly.
Add your whites to the washer. Make sure that the laundry has plenty of room to agitate (do not overstuff the washer).
Allow your washer to thoroughly agitate your laundry on a long cycle. If your washer does not have two rinse cycles, turn your knob back during the rinse cycle to give your clothes that second rinse cycle. This extra rinse helps to make sure your washer removes as much leftover detergent from your laundry as possible, which will lessen discoloration of your whites.
Add the fabric softener or vinegar to the final rinse cycle.
Dry your laundry as usual.
Using ammonia instead of bleach on your white laundry will eliminate the yellowing that is common in bleached items. It will also reduce or eliminate any stains already on the white laundry, causing it to be whiter. Mrs. Stewart's Laundry Bluing is an optical brightener that has been in use for generations and will give your whites that "pop" so loved on new white items. Using vinegar instead of fabric softener will help your washer remove any detergent residue left on the laundry without leaving an overpowering smell.