Make Your Own Bleach Alternative Using Lemons

Making a bleach alternative with lemon
••• Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty Images

Chlorine bleach is tough on your clothes, the environment, and your wallet, so replace that bulky jug with something better: a lemon. The only thing it's tough on is dirt.

Whiten Clothes

Add a cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle to boost the whitening action of your laundry detergent.

Remove Stains From Clothing

Pour lemon juice over the stain. Then, rub the area with salt, and place the garment out in the sun for several hours. Wash as usual.

Remove Stains From Countertops and Other Hard Surfaces

Create a paste of lemon juice and baking soda. Then, apply the mixture to the stain, and allow it to sit for several hours. Wipe clean, and the stain should be gone.

Note: Some stains may require a second treatment.


Rub half of a lemon over the surface that needs to be sanitized, or apply lemon juice straight from the bottle. Then, rinse with water.

Why This Works

The citric acid in lemons acts as a natural stain remover, bleach, and sanitizer.

Benefits of Using Lemon as a Bleach

  • chlorine-free
  • gentle on clothes and (most) surfaces
  • natural sanitizer
  • effective whitener/stain remover
  • fume-free
  • kid and pet-safe
  • inexpensive

Tips and Warnings

  1. Do not clean marble (and other natural stone surfaces) with lemon. It can lead to etching.
  2. Use a paste of lemon juice and baking soda to remove stains from plastic storage containers.