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Make Your Own: All Fabric Oxygen Bleach

April 10th, 2012

When it comes to detoxing your cleaning routine, getting rid of bleach is one of the best things you can do. You really don’t need bleach around for disinfecting, good old soap works well enough for that. Sometimes however, you really want something that will get rid of stains and brighten up your laundry. Chlorine free bleach can be quite expensive and making it at home costs next to nothing. I get the ingredients to make a gallon of oxygen bleach for about a dollar.

1 half gallon bottle or jug
2 cups hydrogen peroxide (the kind you get in the brown bottles)

Pour peroxide 2 cups of peroxide into half gallon bottle or jug and fill jar the rest of the way with water (I use water filtered through my Big Berkey Water Filter). Use like you would use store bought all-fabric bleach.  1 cup per load of laundry.

Oxygen bleach will help remove stains and brighten clothing. It also does wonders for removing odors, making it perfect for pet bedding and kitchen rags. There seems to be endless choices for whitening your clothes without chlorine, some people swear by vinegar, other say lemon juice is the way to go, and a little sunshine never hurts. The key is to find something that works for you and that you feel comfortable using.  I like using oxygen bleach and sunshine!

What’s your favorite way to brighten & whiten your clothing?

Stocking Your Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
Learning to Love Castile Soap
Make Your Own: Foaming Soap
Make Your Own: Infused Vinegar
Make Your Own: Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Make Your Own: Color Safe Oxygen Bleach
Friday Favorite: Charlie’s Soap
Friday Favorite: Twist Sponges
and more to come

Sherri from Little Home in The Country asked where I got the lovely tea towels in the second photo. I found these beauties when I stopped at Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa last summer. Luckily they have them for sale on their website. They’re the best towels I’ve ever owned big absorbent flour sack towels with beautifully illustrated with garden fresh goodies – I’ll be ordering some more soon to replace a few more towels!

31 Comments to “Make Your Own: All Fabric Oxygen Bleach”
  1. Maria on April 10, 2012 at 6:25 am

    What a wonderful idea! If I would have known how easy it is to make my own, I would have gotten rid of bleach much earlier :-)

    Thank you so much for sharing this.


    Reply to Maria's comment

  2. Jenn on April 10, 2012 at 7:14 am

    I’ve been reading your tips for cleaning solutions with interest. I try to use as few chemicals as possible around the home, and we also have a septic tank to look after & not ‘kill’.

    I dont use hydrogen peroxide, or any other kind of bleach, but have been thinking of getting some. All your photos show you storing your solutions in clear bottles – but doesn’t light neutralise hydrogen peroxide? Do you use other bottles or do you only make a little at a time so it doesn’t break down? Or do you find it doesn’t break down?


    Reply to Jenn's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2012 at 7:44 am

      I store it in a dark cupboard in the laundry room and use it up quickly enough so that I don’t have to worry about it. You can also just mix it up as you need it to keep it freshest. When I use up this bottle of peroxide I’ll be buying to undiluted hydrogen peroxide and mixing up my own.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. daisy on April 10, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I’ll be making up a batch of this for sure. I’ve been looking for a bleach substitute and just doing without for a while. Thanks, Susy!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  4. Songbirdtiff on April 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Another pinnable post! I’ll have to keep this around for laundry. These days I really only keep bleach around for disinfecting after the stomach bug. One bottle of bleach lasts me forever!

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  5. tj on April 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

    …You girl are a plethora of information! Thank you for that! :o)

    …I do use bleach but very sparingly, I don’t like it and will try using this solution next time I do laundry.

    …I know these posts take a lot of time with pictures and all of the information and I just want you to know that it is appreciated.

    …Enjoy your day you two!

    …Blessings :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  6. Sherri on April 10, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Great tip! Thanks :) Do share where you found those lovely tea towels… pretty please?

    Reply to Sherri's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

      Oh yes, I’ll add it to the post above too. I found these beauties when I stopped at Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa last summer. Luckily they have them for sale on their website. They’re the best towels I’ve ever owned big absorbent flour sack towels with beautifully illustrated with garden fresh goodies – I’ll be ordering some more soon to replace a few more towels!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. marti on April 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Could you not put the H2O2 in the bleach dispenser of your washing machine also? Could you put it in straight from the bottle? Or would you still have to dilute it?

    Reply to marti's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

      You might be able to, it would probably mix in properly with the water before it touches the clothes. I haven’t experimented with this so I can’t say for sure. Some people mix the H2O2 in the wash water with the detergent before they add in the clothes instead of premixing. I like the premix because I just add it straight to the washing machine.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Rip Van Winkle on April 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    How do colors-on-white respond to this mixture? Will they become drastically discolored like with regular bleach?

    Reply to Rip Van Winkle's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

      No, it’s color safe bleach so it doesn’t lighten color, at least I have not found this to be the case here.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Maybelline on April 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Chlorine is my friend in so many ways. I don’t know that I can shake the habbit. I know the bad points, but this will be tough to quit.

    I not only use chlorine bleach for laundry and household cleaning, but I use it out in the garden to clean tools and clogs. Hydrogen peroxide is also used; but chlorine bleach is used to clean anything in contact with a nematode problem.

    What would you use to purify water in an emergency?

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      I wouldn’t use chlorine to purify water in an emergency. I actually go to great lengths to remove it from my drinking water and bathing water in our home. I would use charcoal or boiling to purify my water in an emergency if I didn’t have my Big Berkey, which I put all my drinking water through. Most likely I’ll have my Berkey so I’d just use that. Growing up in Colombia we always purified our drinking water with a good quality filter.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Maybelline on April 11, 2012 at 11:34 am

        Thanks for the follow up.
        Sometime, please consider a post regarding fluoride in drinking water. I am very much opposed and would be curious to know what others think.

        to Maybelline's comment

      • Susy on April 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

        I’m also against fluoride in the drinking water and we use special filters in our Berkey to remove it from ours.

        to Susy's comment

  10. amy on April 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Brilliant! I am enjoying this series immensely. Thanks Susy:)

    Reply to amy's comment

    • amy on April 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      To add to that….I do not use Clorox except to clean my toilet bowl. My mother did that and her mother before her…We just add dishwashing liquid and Clorox…..I do not know how I would feel not using it to destroy the yuck in the “john.” Does anyone have an alternative? Thanks.

      Reply to amy's comment

      • Susy on April 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm

        Yep (I’ll be talking about the bathroom specifically tomorrow). This oxygen bleach will kill the baddies in the toilet, but so will vinegar, which is so much nicer to your liver & lungs. You could also use Yep, use vinegar (tomorrow I’ll be talking more about this). You can also use Dr. Bronner Castile Soap Tea Tree which also does wonders at doing away with the yuck.

        to Susy's comment

  11. Bonnie on April 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks for all the tips. I might see if I can teach my boy to try one of those methods, maybe vinegar as it is hard to mess up. I found out he was using my borax as detergent instead of an additive or presoak. (he does the laundry as it is easier to get him to do and I just can’t do everything) At least I haven’t had dye transfer issues since I started watching what I buy. Sadly, hanging out laundry is not permitted as that is the safest whitener available.

    Reply to Bonnie's comment

  12. Whit on April 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm


    I am glued to you website for this series. :) Thank you for all the effort it is taking to put it together!

    One question i had about the peroxide. I’ve been studying septic systems because the house we just moved to has an old one. Trying to learn how to keep it functioning requires us to change a few things we were in the habit of at our previous residence on a city sewer. :) During my research, i found that peroxides shouldn’t be used just like bleaches and additives with sodium hydroxide, etc. Do you know of a resource that would detail the quantities that may be acceptable in a septic?


    Reply to Whit's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      I don’t have a septic system and haven’t done much research on it, I’m assuming the amount that would be in a load of laundry is very small since you’re using only a cup of this which only contains a Tablespoon of peroxide. The amount from a load of laundry is fairly minimal, especially if you’re not using it for each load. I’ll have to do some more reading, a very interesting topic, and I may have a septic system somedeay!

      Have you heard of The Septic System Owner’s Manual from Shelter?

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Whit on April 11, 2012 at 10:01 am

        Thanks for the tip, Susy! I am going to have to look into that manual. So far, i’ve only found a few sites i trust for unbias info (an old house maintainance site, our state’s regs, and a site from an engineering school that published a septic info pamphlet like the garden extensions do. :)

        Septics can be beautiful things (here in the country, we no longer pay stormwater fees and our water usage is charged by a much cheaper “farm” rate. With those come the trade offs though, eh? Babying a system that can cost thousands to replace. :) Luckily with all the plant-based cleaning products and helpful information from blogs like yours, it isn’t too hard to find products that care for a septic. Especially one who’s drain field is near the family garden.

        to Whit's comment

  13. alison@thisbloominglife on April 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Great ideas, I have septic issues too. And those tea towels really are gorgeous! Maybe with a birthday coming up I could have a treat – hope they post this far!

    Reply to alison@thisbloominglife's comment

  14. Wendy Buss on April 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Who knew it could be this simple? Thanks for sharing; I’m enjoying every post in this series!

    Reply to Wendy Buss's comment

  15. Rocky Top Farm on April 11, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Love the tip! I do not use bleach but am so glad I have this info to brighten my wash. Sometimes I feel like my towels do not stay fresh. Hoping this helps with that!

    Reply to Rocky Top Farm's comment

    • Susy on April 11, 2012 at 7:17 am

      This does wonders at help give that fresh smell. The peroxide is a fabulous odor mitigator, although nothing really beats good old fashioned sunshine!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. KimH on April 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    My step mother uses food grade H2O2 and has for at least the last 20 years.. She used to use bleach on and in everything until she started getting sick from it. She swears by it as well..

    I cut my hand and accidently got blood on her sheets.. I felt so bad but she laughed & said it was no problem, the H2O2 would take it right out without any problem..

    I dont know if she still drinks it, but many people in my family (including me in the past) have been on H2O2 therapy as well.. I dont know that it made any noticeable difference to me, but super oxygenated system seems like a good thing. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Susy on April 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      I’ve been reading about H2O2 therapy with interest. I’m going to purchase some food grade stuff soon as well. Not sure if I’ll take it internally, but I will mix up my own diluted stuff for cleaning as it will work better since it’s fresher.

      I’ve actually read that some farmers use it on their crops with great success. Would love to read more about why & how.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. Pat on October 21, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I think the sunshine is the key. I’ve tried hydrogen peroxide and oxygen bleach and vinegar etc etc and still had problems – not getting the smell out of kitchen towels, that same smell seeming to infect the entire machine and all the other clothes no matter how many times I wash/re-wash, rinse, clean the machine, leave the door open, etc, etc – which really defeats the purpose of trying to save water, electricity, soap, etc and ends up not being eco-friendly.. This is an area with a lot of overcast/rainy days so winters are not great for hanging clothes out, as it can rain for weeks at a time. But hanging all the clothes out in the sun during the sunnier, drier summer works wonders – everything is whiter and odour-free.

    Reply to Pat's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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