How to whiten your clothes naturally (and say no to optical brighteners)
There’s nothing quite like a new, freshly purchased, white t shirt is there? Or fresh white bedlinen. The problem with white clothing is, it discolours and stains so easily. Which makes you want to reach for the chemical-laden whiteners, right? The problem with laundry detergents that promise you a ‘sparkling white’ finish is that they are filled with chemicals, like optical brighteners. These bad boys are responsible for absorbing ultraviolet light and reflecting back blue light. This works to hide stains and discolorations.
The Truth About Optical Brighteners
While that sounds wonderful, these optical brighteners can be bad news for your skin and the environment. In the 1970’s, a group of scientists got together to research and test the chemical. They found that coming into contact with optical brighteners can result in an allergic reaction causing red, itchy skin also known as contact dermatitis. Unfortunately the complete study was inconclusive.
The environmental impact of these chemicals entering our waterways and finding its way into our oceans has shown they can cause genetic mutations in our marine animals. Again, this was proved inconclusive later on.
What we do know is that these nasties are not doing anyone any favours and to be honest, they aren’t needed to whiten your clothing. Advertisers and big cleaning companies have been pulling the wool over your eyes for years and we’re here to arm you with the tools to choose better.
How To Whiten Clothing, Naturally
It may come as a surprise for you to hear that the humble lemon is a super whitener. The natural acidic properties work to lift any residue on fabric and return it back to its original glory. It also removes odours, naturally.
Oxygen Bleach is made from sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. It will lift dirt and stains from soiled clothing by releasing oxygen once it’s exposed to water. It will give your clothing a bright white hue without the harmful side effects to your health and the environment.
Hydrogen Peroxide is basically water with an extra oxygen molecule. It works as an oxidizing agent and works just as well as bleach. You can find this super product at most chemists and it’s a safe alternative to actual bleach. It will break down safely into water without damaging our environment.
We use lemon, oxygen bleach and hydrogen peroxide in our natural laundry powder for those very reasons. They work together to create a super-whitener minus the harmful chemicals. When you do make the switch, you’ll notice your whites are clean but don’t have that ‘glow’ that many whiteners do. Optical brighteners does give you the ‘glow’ and a whole host of negative health and environmental impacts.
Now you can whiten your clothes without a harsh chemical or optical brightener in sight.