These 2 Things Make A Great Oxygen Bleach Alternative

These 2 Things Make A Great Oxygen Bleach Alternative

Homemade Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach is a great all-purpose laundry helper because of the way it whitens whites, brightens colors, and aids in stain removal. A couple of years ago, I found myself wondering if there was a good a homemade alternative out there for oxygen bleach.

I had been using a generic oxygen bleach from the dollar store at the time, so cost wasn’t necessarily the issue. I just like being able to make things at home—especially if it could save me a trip to the store down the line!

After trying out a few oxygen bleach recipes that I found online, I wasn’t seeing very much improvement in the clothes I was washing. But after scouring the internet for answers, I finally figured out what the issue with those recipes.

Washing Soda, Not Baking Soda

The recipes for homemade oxygen bleach I was using called for baking soda, but what they should have called for for is washing soda. (Learn more about the differences between baking soda and washing soda here.) Washing soda is much more alkaline than baking soda, and alkaline substances are great at cleaning oils, fats, and proteins. And our dirty clothes typically contain a mixture of those things, thanks to body sweat, spilled food, and general dirt and grime.

Depending on where you live, washing soda might be hard to track down. It might be called something else, like sodium carbonate, soda ash, or soda crystals. (If you can’t find any at the store, grab some baking soda and use it to make your own washing soda! All you need is a baking sheet and an oven.)

Hydrogen Peroxide

In addition to the washing soda, the other main component in my homemade oxygen bleach is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a great bleaching and brightening agent, and I use it in a LOT of my homemade cleaning recipes. (Check out the link below to see what else you can do with hydrogen peroxide!)

Related: 30 Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide You’ll Want To Know About

How Does Homemade Oxygen Bleach Compare?

According to The Laundry Alternative, most store-bought oxygen bleach contains 50-60% of sodium percarbonate. When sodium percarbonate is activated by water, it breaks down into two substances: hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda). So we’re using the same active ingredients in this homemade version, just not in a fancy powder form. Cool, right? :-)

Alright, now that we know what we’re using and why we’re using it, let’s get to how to use my homemade oxygen bleach!

For even more money-saving laundry solutions, be sure to check out my e-book The Homemade Laundry Guide! You can buy it in my shop, or download it for free if you’re an OGT Plus member!

DIY Oxygen Bleach Alternative

You’ll need:


Add your laundry to your washing machine, along with the washing soda and hydrogen peroxide. Start the washer to let it fill, then allow the machine to agitate the load for a few minutes.

Homemade Oxygen Bleach

Then lift the lid or pause the cycle, and allow the load to soak for at least a couple of hours (or up to overnight). After soaking, allow the wash cycle to complete and then dry as usual.

Not Sure How To Soak?

  • The soaking process is pretty straightforward for top-loading washing machines, but it may be a bit trickier for front-loading machines—check your owner’s manual to find instructions on how to soak items in your particular washer.
  • Another option is to soak your clothes with the washing soda and hydrogen peroxide in a bucket or your bathtub, then transfer them to the washer to complete the process!
Homemade Oxygen Bleach

The shirt shown in the photos is one of my son-in-law’s work undershirts, and it definitely needed some TLC. Even though it had been washed recently, this once-white shirt had taken on a dingy gray color. I was curious to see if I could make any improvement to this shirt, but as you can see, it came out looking distinctly whiter and brighter!

Homemade Oxygen Bleach

Here’s a closer look at the collar area, which showed significant improvement! There’s no telling what else you’ll be able to clean with this homemade oxygen bleach recipe. :-)

Homemade Oxygen Bleach

One last thing before you run off to the laundry room—because of the way the ingredients break down, you should not mix this solution ahead of time. As soon as the ingredients meet, the chemical reactions that clean and lift stains will start to occur, and the reaction will end after a few hours.

I like to keep a box of washing soda and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in my cabinet above the washer so that I can add them right when I’m ready to start a load of laundry. (Since there’s only two ingredients, it’s not exactly a chore to add them separately!)

That’s all there is to it! Happy laundering, and I’d love to hear how this homemade oxygen bleach works for you! :-)

What’s your go-to method for whitening or brightening dingy laundry?

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