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How To Get Clean White Socks Without Bleach

Updated on March 30, 2013

Have clean, white socks without bleach!

Title: Before They Got Dirty ~ Attribution License: ~ Photographer: DownTown Pictures:
Title: Before They Got Dirty ~ Attribution License: ~ Photographer: DownTown Pictures:

A Great Biodegradable Cleaning Alternative

Bleach is Bad News!

I sorted through all my socks recently and got them all sorted into pairs and types so I wouldn’t constantly be pulling out mismatched winter socks in the summer and mismatched summer socks in the winter. I decided it would make the job faster to just toss all the white ones together in a laundry basket and sort them at the end. Once I was done with all the colored socks and looked at my basket of white socks, I wasn’t too happy with what I found! They were a pretty dingy, rag-tag bunch, to say the least!

I wanted to whiten them, but I don’t like to use bleach. It’s bad for the environment and it tends to break down fabric and make it wear out faster. Instead I set my washer on the SOAK cycle for a small load of wash and set the temperature on HOT and started it filling.

I added:

  • 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of baking soda
  • 2 ounces of white vinegar

I let it start agitating to get this all stirred up and added the socks. Once all the socks were soaked, I turned off the washer and left it overnight. The next day, I turned the washer back on and let the SOAK cycle finish up. Then I ran a regular wash with a HOT wash and a WARM rinse. I didn’t add anything to that, but you might want to add fabric softener.

My socks turned out really well, and once I got them sorted out by pairs, I was happy to see I won’t need to buy any new ones for a while. I was also glad that I didn’t have to use a very harsh chemical to get these results. To make it even greener, you could replace the laundry detergent with a more natural alternative like Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap.


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    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 3 years ago from Only In Texas!

      Many thanks! I'm glad I could help! ;D

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Good, useful information. Thanks for sharing this.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 3 years ago from India

      Thanks sally I am going to try it out next time I wash white socks. voting up and useful.

    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 4 years ago from Only In Texas!

      I think you are right about that! Actually, I just recently decided to try washing my clothes in vinegar altogether because of the terrible pollution and carcinogenic qualities of laundry detergent and fabric softener. I'm going to use up what I have and then make the switch. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    • jtrader profile image

      jtrader 4 years ago

      I think the vinegar works like fabric softener too Sally, so maybe extra fabric softener wouldn't be necessary. Voted up and useful!

    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 4 years ago from Only In Texas!

      You know, actually since I discovered this and wrote this article, I have learned that the baking soda and vinegar cancel each other out, so I don't know why this works, but it does! Maybe it's just overnight soaking and hot water that does the trick! ;D

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I'm the same I don't like to use bleach in my wash often. I do sometimes but not much. Our socks stay white just by washing them and using other things besides bleach. I think bleach turns whites yellow if used to often. Like your wash recipe voted up.