Fix Dingy Whites Naturally With Lemons

If your whites are a bit dingy, instead of reaching for bleach, refresh them naturally with lemons. We found this eco tip via Martha Stewart and wanted to try it for ourselves. Bleach does a great job getting out stains but can be tough on delicate fabrics, so we had high hopes for the sunny citrus solution. The process is supereasy and doesn't require any fuss or muss.

What You'll Need:

  • Large stock pot
  • 4 lemons
  • Washable white items


  1. This whitener works for any washable materials, so we used two 100 percent cotton and two poly-cotton-blend pillowcases to see just how refreshed the process could get our dingy whites.
  1. Fill a large stock pot with one gallon of water. Slice and add the four lemons. It doesn't really matter how thick or thin the slices are, you just want the water to be able to steep out the natural whitening goodness. Lemons are high in citric acid, which is a natural lightener. Bring the water to a boil and then turn off heat.
  2. Add the whites to the pot and move around so they are completely submerged. Let soak for one hour.
  1. Remove the items and wash with your favorite detergent. For an extra natural whitening boost, add hydrogen peroxide to the bleach dispenser of your washing machine.
  2. Although we didn't see a huge difference in the whiteness of our pillow cases, they did look refreshed and (bonus!) felt extra clean. This might not be the best way to brighten your white sheets but would do wonders on delicates such as lace table clothes or napkins.