Bleach alternative to whiten clothes

Bleach can be environmentally hazardous (evidently depending on its usage), and soaking your white clothes (such as white T-Shirts) in a bleach solution is said to weaken the fibers. I can't say I know the ins and outs of this. Maybe I should just use chlorine bleach to try to whiten my fast-fading white T-shirts. I noticed a non-chlorine bleach at Costco and am tempted to buy it next time I go there. I don't remember, but I figure it's oxygen based.
What do people do to whiten clothes in this way? Is chlorine bleach still the way to go?
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wrote:

powder but still use chlorine based for stand alone bleaching.
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Dont bother with white T shirts in the first place.

It does have those downsides.
The other approach to whitening is to use a detergent thats designed to do that. They basically add fluorescent stuff that fixes the yellowing problem a different way.
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If you want the easiest whites you should use a "bluing" agent. It's called Mrs. Stewart's Bluing. Wash normally with detergent, then use it only on true whites in the rinse cycle. www.mrsstewart.com, it's an optical brightener, not a bleaching agent. I find this stuff to be the easiest way to whiten.
You can also whiten using lemon juice, baking soda, even peroxide. Just do a soak for at least an hour in a solution of your chosen whitener + water. I typically go 1/4" lemon juice, or a few scoops of bsoda, or 1/4 cup peroxide.
Sometimes I use oxyclean for organic stains like wine, or juice, coffee, blood, etc. This is where the oxyclean really shines.
-Tom

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Dan_Musicant wrote:

I see this is cross posted with a frugal group and one can't get any more frugal than my whitening tip so I will, on this occasion leave them in. see my tip below:
Hang whites outside on a fine day and let the sun do the work. HTH
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I use household bleach, but about half the recommended strength. As long as the water is agitating it is safe to add to the wash. It disinfects, whitens, and cleans at the lowest cost of any product. I don't find much differences between brands. Of course, never use regular household bleach with color or delicate fabrics.
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I soak my whites overnight in a cup or so of really cheap dishwasher detergent and the hottest water I can get into my washer. I only let the tub fill about half way up and then I agitate for a few seconds, turn off the washer, close the lid and let them soak. The next morning I add my laundry detergent, let the machine fill the rest of the way for a large load and let it go thru the cycle with a second rinse. I then rinse them again and add the Downy. I haven't used bleach for awhile now and I think the clothes are lasting a little longer. The bleach seemed to weaken the fabric and elastic in the socks.
Cindy
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Mule Teams Borax at the grocery store.
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