Disinfecting Laundry Without Bleach: A Guide

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The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone a little more cautious, especially when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting clothes, bedsheets, towels, and more. Washing your clothes in a simple wash cycle is a good start, but when looking to kill pathogens, many people choose bleach as a powerful disinfectant. Along with your laundry detergent, this combination can prove to be harsh on your skin and cause irritation or even damage your clothing. If you’re wondering how to disinfect your laundry without bleach, the experts at Bakers Centre Laundry are here to share some effective alternatives that won’t harm your skin or your clothes.


Homemade Laundry Sanitizer Using Household Products

It’s important to keep in mind that the products mentioned below are not EPA-registered disinfectants, but they make sanitizing laundry without bleach possible. Many of these products you probably already have at home, so if you’re ready to create a homemade laundry sanitizer, check out these tips below.


White Vinegar

Vinegar is a common natural cleaning agent, so it makes sense to use it to disinfect your laundry. White vinegar contains an ingredient called acetic acid, which is known to kill bacteria and viruses. When used in your laundry, these germs can easily be washed away during a cleaning cycle. To use vinegar to disinfect your laundry, try adding 1 cup to the rinse cycle. Not only can it kill germs and bacteria, but it’s also a great natural deodorizer. White vinegar can be used on colors and whites, keeping clothes bright, and works as an effective fabric softener, too.


Hydrogen Peroxide

If you don’t have white vinegar on hand and are still wondering how to disinfect laundry without bleach, try adding one cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your wash. Peroxide has natural bleaching properties, so be sure to spot-test first and avoid pouring directly on colored clothes.



Borax is a great accompaniment to your regular detergent when looking to disinfect your laundry naturally. Set your wash cycle to warm before you add half a cup of Borax in. The warm water activates the cleaning process and helps the Borax dissolve and evenly cover all laundry. Borax is not only used as a disinfectant but a strong antifungal as well.


Pine Oil

Pine oil is another great option if you and your family are sensitive to bleach. To disinfect your laundry with pine oil, look for a solution that uses 80% pine oil. Try adding one cup to the washer after it has filled with water. Avoid using it on specialty fabrics, including silk or wool, as it can be damaging to the material. After the cycle is complete, you may notice a faint lingering pine odor. You can try running a second rinse cycle to remove any trace odors if you or your family are sensitive to fragrances.


Essential Oils

Certain essential oils, such as tea tree oil, can help you naturally disinfect your laundry. Not only do they add pleasant scents to your clothes, but many also have pathogen-fighting properties. They can be antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal, killing and preventing the spread of germs and bacteria. Try adding two teaspoons of 100% tea tree oil to your load of laundry. Thyme and lavender oil can also be used, which both have antibacterial properties.



High temperatures kill germs, viruses, and bacteria better than most cleaning products. It’s always recommended to wash your clothes in warm water when you’re looking to disinfect them. Many washing machines feature a disinfecting cycle that runs for a longer period at the highest temperature possible. This is especially effective when looking to kill germs and bacteria without the use of bleach. If allowable, opt to dry your clothes in your dryer as the heat will also help kill pathogens.


If you’re searching for the best wash, dry, and fold laundry service, you’ve come to the right place. At Bakers Centre Laundry, we can take care of all your needs, and answer any questions you may have surrounding disinfectants and sanitization of your laundry. Contact us today for more information.