Using Lemons to Naturally Brighten Whites and Destroy Dinge – Does it Work?


Lemon Juice Cleans Dingy Laundry

1 out of 5 leaves

1 out of 5 leaves

Dingy laundry seems to be a fact of life, especially in homes with kids.  While there are many harsh stain busting chemicals on the market, a natural mama looks for something a little more eco-friendly.  Martha Stewart recommends boiling dirty laundry with lemons to destroy the dinge prior to washing.  But does it work?  Can lemons really whiten your whites, and brighten your colors?

The Good:

  • Better for you – no chemical cleaners, just all-natural lemons
  • Better for the earth – again just all natural, biodegradable lemon water entering the waste stream
  • Saves money – lemons and lemon juice are pretty cheap compared to commercial cleaning powders
  • Smells great – boiling lemon water on the stove freshens up your whole house

The Bad

  • SPOILER ALERT!  It doesn’t seem to work…

My Experience

How To Use Lemon Juice to Brighten Dirty Laundry

I’ve told you before about my dingy, dingy kids washcloths.  I can’t figure out why they are the dingiest things in my house, and I can’t figure out how to get that dinge out.  I’ve tried my regular detergent.  It doesn’t work.  I’ve tried a scoop of OxyClean in the standard wash.  It doesn’t work.  I’ve tried out a scoop of Borax.  It doesn’t work, either.

One day while surfing Pinterest, I came across this post, which shows you how to use the power of lemons and boiling water to zap stains, and brighten whites.  It made sense to me!  Boiling clothes is a classic (historical) method of washing.  And lemons are acidic, and do a great job of cleaning up other messes.  It was definitely worth a try!

So, I squeezed out some lemons, added the juice and rinds to a big pot, and tossed in a handful of my dingiest cloths.  I let them reach boiling, and simmer carefully for about 20 min.  Then I let them soak for an hour.  Then I laundered as usual.

Just like the Borax, this was a Green Idea Fail!  The lemon-boiled cloths looked just as dingy as all the other cloths when they came out of the wash.  I could not tell a difference, not even the tiniest improvement.  How disappointing!

Have you ever tried the boiling laundry method?  What do you use to destroy dinge at your house?


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