Author

Wendy Graham

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Six Eco-Friendly Bleach Alternatives To Try

Looking for alternatives to chlorine bleach? Try these eco-friendly bleach alternatives that whiten clothes and kill germs without leaving a toxic footprint.

Something I get asked A LOT is what do I use in place of bleach?

The thing is, even before switching to green cleaning, I was never a fan of bleach. I’ve always sought out alternatives because who wants their home smelling like a swimming pool? Not me!

And it’s not just the overpowering chlorine smell that makes me hate bleach. Conventional cleaning products have been associated with poor lung health. Meanwhile, chlorine bleach itself is known for its harmful impacts on the environment. Surely there’s got to be a better way to disinfect surfaces and keep our whites lovely and bright?

Thankfully, over the years I’ve found lots of green alternatives to bleach that I now use in my home. From disinfecting my chopping boards to adding to my laundry routine to keep my white clothes in tip-top condition.

Six Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Bleach to Try

Flat lay of cleaning products and brushes, with a blue text box that reads eco-friendly alternatives to bleach to try.

Hydrogen peroxide, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, lemon juice, sodium percarbonate, and even the sun all make for great substitutes. Here’s just why these six green bleach alternatives will help you ditch the chlorine bleach:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide sounds scary, but actually, it’s an incredibly powerful yet green do-it-all that has many applications around the home.

What makes hydrogen peroxide a great eco-friendly alternative to bleach is that it doesn’t leave any harsh chemical residue on your surfaces. Instead, it breaks down to simply water and oxygen.

For all uses, use the 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. Here’s more on where to buy hydrogen peroxide if you’re new to this product.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide In Place Of Bleach In The Laundry

There are a few different ways to use hydrogen peroxide as a bleach alternative when doing your laundry, to keep your whites super bright.

First, you can soak your whites in a bucket of warm water with around 200 ml of hydrogen peroxide added. Leave your clothes to soak for around 15 minutes before washing as normal.

Alternatively, you can add hydrogen peroxide to your washing machine to whiten your whites that way. Add your detergent to your machine as normal, and start your wash cycle. After the water starts running, rinsing the laundry detergent into the drum, you can then open the detergent drawer slightly and pour 200 ml of hydrogen peroxide into the detergent drawer.

If that is too much hassle, then the other option is to dilute 200 ml of hydrogen peroxide with 400 ml of water and add the solution to the empty drum of your washing machine. Then, load your white clothes, and wash them as usual.

Whichever method you prefer, do remember that it’s a good idea to test hydrogen peroxide on an inconspicuous area of clothing first, before washing it.

Disinfecting Hard Surfaces With Hydrogen Peroxide

If you use bleach-based sprays to disinfect your chopping board, then you may be interested to hear that there is an alternative. Hydrogen peroxide is also effective at killing some food-borne micro-organisms.

This is because hydrogen peroxide contains a highly volatile oxygen atom that causes a process called oxidation. Put more simply, this is a reaction in which the hydrogen peroxide steals electrons from bacteria, breaking down their cell walls. With no cell walls, bacteria, which are simple micro-organisms, die. This leaves your surfaces germ free without any harsh chemical residue.

Not convinced? A scientific study carried out in 1997 found that spraying vinegar and then hydrogen peroxide on surfaces was effective in killing food-borne micro-organisms, such as E-coli, salmonella and listeria.

If you want to disinfect your chopping board, first spray undiluted vinegar onto the board, and then wipe it with a clean, damp cloth. Then rinse the cloth, before spraying 3% undiluted hydrogen peroxide onto the board. Let the hydrogen peroxide sit for one minute. Then wipe again and you’re done.

Don’t be tempted to take any shortcuts though. Mixing hydrogen peroxide with vinegar gives off a harmful gas called peracetic acid. This gas can seriously harm your eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and skin. It’s fine to use the two in succession on a surface, in the manner described above. Just don’t ever mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in the same bottle.

Another important point to note is that hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are both highly acidic. This means you shouldn’t use them to disinfect natural stone surfaces, such as granite, quartz, marble or similar as it could damage them. However, do also note that bleach is highly alkaline. It shouldn’t be used on these surfaces either as it again could cause surface damage.

If hydrogen peroxide isn’t for you, try some of the just-add-water anti-bacterial sprays in my guide to just add water cleaning products.

Bicarbonate of Soda

Bowl of bicarbonate of soda and other natural cleaning products being used as eco-friendly green bleach alternatives.

If hydrogen peroxide isn’t for you, then another great eco alternative to bleach is bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda). Coming in cheaper than hydrogen peroxide, and easier to pick up in local shops, bicarbonate of soda is a great choice for whitening and brightening your laundry.

Bicarbonate of soda is alkaline. This means when it is added to your laundry it cuts through limescale and detergent residue that can contribute to white clothes turning grey. Simply add a scoopful of bicarbonate of soda – either in the detergent drawer or directly into the drum. This helps to keep whites white for longer.

For tackling food, oily, greasy or mud stains on clothes, then bicarbonate of soda also works well. Simply mix some bicarbonate of soda with water to form a thick paste, and then apply the paste to the stain. Leave the paste to dry, and once dry, wash your item of clothing as normal.

Sodium Percarbonate As A Bleach Alternative

Sodium percarbonate – also known as laundry bleach or oxygen bleach – makes for a great alternative to again help keep whites white and remove stains from clothing.

This white crystalline powder is made from hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate. This is more commonly known as soda ash or soda crystals.

When dissolved in water, sodium percarbonate releases a mixture of oxygen, water, and soda crystals. This is brilliant at gently removing stains on both white and coloured clothing. And it acts as a great natural whitening agent for white or light clothing, without releasing any harmful chemicals.

To whiten your whites using oxygen bleach, you will get the best results by using the bleach as a pre-soak. In this case, add 2 tablespoons of oxygen bleach per 4 litres of warm water, and then soak your clothing for six hours. Then wash your clothes as normal for whites so bright you’ll need sunglasses!

White Vinegar

Similar to bicarbonate of soda, the acidic nature of white vinegar cuts through limescale and detergent residue that can contribute to white clothes turning grey. It’s this property that makes it a great alternative to bleach.

White vinegar is also super cheap, so it’s a great affordable option.

To get the whitening benefits of vinegar, simply use vinegar in place of fabric conditioner during every wash. Vinegar is also safe to use on coloured clothing.

Lemons As A Natural Bleach Alternative

Lemons sliced up ready to be used to whiten laundry

When life gives you lemons, use them to bleach and whiten your white clothing.

Similar to vinegar, lemon juice is acidic. In fact, the citric acid in lemons helps to break down stains on white-coloured clothing, and brighten dingy whites.

To use lemon juice in your laundry, simply add around 200 ml of lemon juice to your load of white washing along with your usual detergent. This bleach alternative is more expensive than using vinegar or bicarbonate of soda but if you randomly find yourself with a load of lemons (it happens!), then this is a great way to use them up, whilst caring for your clothes.

Solar Power

When it comes to keeping whites white and removing organic stains from white clothing, washable nappies or reusable sanitary towels, then there is nothing more eco-friendly than harnessing the power of the sun.

To use the sun as an alternative to bleach, simply hang out your freshly washed garments on your washing line or clothes horse on a sunny day. Ensure that any stains are facing the sun. Meanwhile, for whitening and brightening white clothing, make sure the clothes are turned the right way out. Leave them there to dry, and let the sun do all the work whilst you put your feet up!

Looking for more green cleaning inspiration? Check out my ultimate guide to making your own natural cleaning products.

Ethical Fashion, Life & Style

The Best Eco-Friendly Sunglasses For Every Outdoor Adventure

In need of a new pair of sunglasses? Here’s my guide to the best eco-friendly sunglasses for 2022including the brands made from recycled materials, and those made of renewable resources.

To help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

When the sun has its hat on, there are a few things I always do. Firstly, I slap on some eco-friendly sunscreen, and then I pop on some sunglasses. However, forget the plastic frames. Sunglasses have come a long way. Now you can find eco-friendly sunglasses made from recycled materials or made from renewable resources. Some sunglasses brands also offer closed-loop recycling schemes for when your sunglasses bite the dust.

What To Look For When Shopping For Sustainable Sunglasses

Sunglasses next to wicker bag and green leaf, with blue text box that reads the best eco-friendly sunglasses for every outdoor adventure.

There have been a lot of sustainable innovations when it comes to sunglasses. To help you out here are the key things to look for when shopping for new ethical sunglasses:

Bio-Acetate

Glasses frames are generally made from a lightweight yet hard-wearing material called cellulose acetate. This is made from a mix of cotton and/or wood pulp and plastic derived from petroleum-based sources.

Many brands are moving away from traditional cellulose acetate for their frames and switching to a material called bio-acetate. Here, petroleum-based plastic is replaced with renewable plant oils, such as castor seed oil. This makes a more eco-friendly sunglasses frame, with all the same properties that cellulose acetate has, but without the fossil fuel input.

It’s important to bear in mind that bio-acetate, whilst plant-based, is still a plastic. It is considered biodegradable but it requires industrial composting facilities to do so.

Recycled Plastic

Bio-acetate sunglasses tend to come in at a higher price point. However, if you are looking for sustainable eye protection on a smaller budget then you can look for brands making their frames from recycled plastic. This helps you to stick with your sustainability credentials, without having to use virgin plastic.

Recycled Metal

Alongside recycled plastic, many sunglasses brands make either their frames and/or their metal components from recycled metal.

Guide To The Best Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

Now you know what to look out for, here are my top picks for sustainable sunnies:

Bird Eyewear

Bird*, the UK’s first B-Corp Certified eyewear brand in the UK, creates stylish eco-friendly sunglasses from sustainable materials. This includes FSC-certified wood, bio-based acetate made from wood pulp, and recycled aluminium.

The health of your eyes is also strongly considered. With UV400 protection, this means that Bird’s sunglasses can filter out up to 99% of harmful UVA and UVB rays that can damage your eyes. This is slightly higher than what both the CE Mark and British Standards require for eye protection.

Bird also considers the life cycle of their sunglasses. When your sunglasses reach the end of their life, it is useful to know that Bird has its own closed-loop recycling programme. Send your old Bird glasses back to Bird for recycling, and you get £40 off your next order.

Bird has even considered those little extra sustainable touches. Bird’s cleaning cloths are made from recycled plastic bottles. Their cases are made from renewable cork. And what’s more, your new glasses arrive in reusable, recyclable and biodegradable packaging. 

The benefits of Bird’s sunglasses don’t stop there. Bird operates a buy one, give one model. This means that for every pair of Bird sunglasses sold, a solar light is given to a family in Zambia or Malawi. This is administered in partnership with SolarAid, a charity dedicated to combating both poverty and climate change. 

Why solar lights? According to Solar Aid, 598 million people in Africa don’t have access to electricity at home. Instead, they rely on fossil fuel-burning lamps. These are a poor source of light, give off toxic smoke, are hazardous, and are costly to run. Replacing these lamps with solar-powered alternatives has many benefits for families, whilst saving carbon emissions.

Pros

🕶️ A wide range of stylish frames for men and women is available.

♻️ Made from renewable and recyclable materials, which can be recycled via the closed-loop scheme.

☀️ Excellent UVA and UVB shielding.

✔️ Independently verified as a B-Corp –  demonstrating high social and environmental performance.

👍 Gives back to charity

Cons

💰 At around £100 a pair, these are expensive – especially if you are prone to losing sunglasses.

Browse the Bird Eyewear range at Social Supermarket*, priced from £89.

CHPO Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

Person wearing CHPO recycled plastic sunglasses.

If you are on a tight budget or are a serial loser of sunglasses, then the Swedish brand CHPO* offers stylish eco-friendly sunglasses for men and women on a budget.

Made from 100% recycled plastic you can look good without costing the earth. What’s more, you don’t have to compromise on protection. CHPO’s glasses offer UV400 protection from the sun’s rays.

CHPO takes a strong social stand for an equal society without racism, homophobia and hatred against women. As a part of its Made for Everywhere scheme, CHPO collaborates every season with different non-profit or charity organisations. Here 100% of the profits are donated to these causes.

Pros

🕶️ A wide range of stylish frames for men and women is available.

♻️ Made from recycled materials.

💰 More affordable price point.

👍 Gives back to charity and supports social justice.

☀️ Excellent UVA and UVB shielding.

Cons

♻️ No recycling scheme.

🛡️ The pouch may not offer great protection. You may need to buy a separate case for them.

Browse the CHPO range on Amazon* or at Sancho’s, with prices starting from £20.

Grech & Co Recycled Sunglasses for Kids

grech and co eco-friendly kids sunglasses

If you are looking for eco-friendly sunglasses for kids, then Grech & Co’s recycled sunglasses*. These stylish, retro-inspired children’s glasses are made from recycled plastic, for a lower impact.

This European-American label, founded in Denmark, focuses on using conscious production methods and materials to produce practical products that are kind to the environment.

Suitable for 18 months old and onwards, Grech & Co’s sunglasses offer UV400 protection. Again this offers the best protection from the sun for delicate little peepers.

To help keep your kid’s glasses safe, each pair of glasses comes with a handy drawstring pouch.

Pros

♻️ Made from recycled plastic.

☀️ Offers excellent UVA and UVB protection.

💰 More affordable price point.

 👦 Brilliant to see sustainable options for kids.

Cons

♻️ No recycling scheme.

🛡️ The pouch may not offer great protection. You may need to buy a separate case for them.

Browse the Grech & Co range at Kidly*, priced from £22.

Pala Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

Pala sunglasses sitting alongside colourful beaded necklaces.

Pala Eyewear* makes sustainable and eco-friendly sunglasses that both look good and do good.

Pala’s stylish sunglasses are handmade in Italy from sustainable materials. This includes materials such as plant-based bio-acetate and recycled acetate. Meanwhile, the scratch-resistant lenses offer UV400 protection for your eyes.

Recycled plastic is also used to make Pala’s protective sunglasses cases. These are handcrafted by weaving communities supported by a Ghanaian-based NGO. This provides employment and upholds traditional crafts in local communities, whilst utilising waste materials.

When your Pala sunglasses give up the ghost, you can return them to Pala. Pala then recycles your old glasses via TerraCycle’s® Zero-Waste Box scheme, which means your broken glasses are given a new lease of life. This includes creating watering cans from the plastic and nuts and bolts from the metal parts.

In terms of giving back, sales of Pala’s sunglasses help to fund vision aid programmes in low-income African countries. 10% of the world’s population can’t access eye care, and it is this statistic that drives Pala Eyewear’s mission to create long-lasting positive change.

Pros

🕶️ A wide range of stylish frames for men and women is available.

♻️ Made from renewable and recyclable materials, with recycling facilities offered.

☀️ Excellent UVA and UVB shielding.

✔️ Independently verified as a B-Corp –  demonstrating high social and environmental performance.

👍 Gives back to charity.

Cons

💰 At around £110 a pair, these are more expensive than other options.

Browse the Pala Eyewear range at Social Supermarket*, where prices start from £110.

Waterhaul Recycled Plastic Sunglasses

Waterhaul glasses in blue surrounded by waste fishing nets.

Waterhaul sunglasses* make sunglasses with a purpose. As a social enterprise, Waterhaul seeks to tackle ghost fishing gear and nets left behind in our oceans by transforming this waste into UV400 sunglasses.

Founded by marine conservationists, Waterhaul says that abandoned fishing gear and nets are the most common and the most lethal forms of plastic in our oceans – trapping and killing marine life. As such, Waterhaul collects fishing nets from across the coastline of Cornwall. These are then shredded, washed and turned into plastic pellets. The pellets are then used to make sunglasses.

You might be wondering how durable products made from fishing nets really are. Worry not, Waterhaul says that fishing nets are incredibly durable and so when recycled make for super-strong sunglasses frames. Waterhaul stands by this so much that it offers a lifetime warranty on all its sunglasses.

This warranty means that if your glasses ever break, you can return your sunglasses or eyewear frames to Waterhaul and it will repair or replace the frame free of charge. You just need to cover shipping. Do note that a small fee applies for recycling and replacing other product components, such as sunglasses lenses.

Waterhaul is also developing schemes to assist in preventing gear loss at the source, alongside a port-based pilot scheme in Pembrokeshire.

Pros

🤝 Lifetime warranty

💰 Great price for eco-friendly sunglasses with a lifetime warranty.

♻️ Made from recycled materials, with recycling facilities offered.

☀️ Excellent UVA and UVB shielding.

🌊 This social enterprise is taking direct action to clean up our seas.

Cons

🕶️ Smaller range of frames available.

Browse the range of Waterhaul sunglasses at Etsy* or Ecomodo* where prices start from £60.

I hope I’ve been able to help you find your dream ethical sunglasses. As always, I will keep this post updated – so even if you haven’t, then do check back soon for more eco-friendly sunglasses recommendations!