Do Lemons Really Make You Whiter?

There are many tips on how to keep white clothing clean without harsh chemicals. Some suggestions include baking soda, vinegar, and even aspirin – which, okay, we’re not likely to be against creativity. One option is to boil the proteins with lemons, and while citric acid is a really good way to clean up a lot of things , it’s just a waste of your clothes.

Do lemons bleach your clothes?

Here’s how it should work: The citric acid found in lemons removes stains and grime, making the whites whiter. Many household websites suggest using lemons as a natural bleaching agent for people who are intolerant of harsh chemicals. And the bleach is definitely harsh.

Melanie Fortie, director of health and safety programs at the Association for Agricultural Workers Opportunity Programs , explains that bleach can cause “skin rashes, severe headaches, migraines, muscle weakness, abdominal discomfort, esophageal perforation, nausea and vomiting.” Prolonged inhalation or exposure to your skin clearly sucks and then there is an unpleasant risk of “death” if accidentally swallowed. Fine.

Plus, bleach can ruin some of your favorite graphic tees, and it’s unforgivable.

Boiling lemons, though, doesn’t bleach any better than detergent.

I tested this lemon whitening thing, and you can too if you want: you need one lemon, a large saucepan, water, and laundry detergent. First fill a large pot with water, then take a lemon, cut it in half and add to the pot. Bring water and lemon to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat and let it brew until the boil subsides. Then add clothes and leave for an hour.

I decided to test it on dirty dishes. After leaving it in the pot for an hour, I washed the rag by hand in the sink filled with water and detergent. And it turned out cleanly? Quite right, but no more than when I threw a similar rag in a regular machine wash using only detergent.

In the end, lemons may not hurt, but it’s not a godsend for your laundry either. But do you know what it is? Detergent. Stick to this and you can keep your lemons in the kitchen.

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