Chlorine bleach can be a useful product around the house, but it's also a poisonous chemical that can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs, and can be dangerous or deadly if improperly mixed with other household chemicals. The eco-friendly ingredients below can clean, whiten and even soften clothing in place of bleach.

Baking soda helps whiten and soften fabrics. Add baking soda (1/2 cup per load) to regular laundry detergent and wash normally. A paste of baking soda and water applied directly to stains before laundering makes an excellent spot cleaner too!

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxygen-based bleach that works especially hard on protein and plant stains. Mix a 3-percent solution of hydrogen peroxide (1/2 cup per load) to your regular detergent and wash as usual. Avoid pouring directly on clothing until testing color fastness.

Eco-friendly powdered dishwasher detergent (chlorine- and phosphate-free varieties) can be used to boost whitening. Add dishwasher detergent (1/4 cup per load) to your regular detergent and wash as usual.

Distilled white vinegar boosts whitening and softening. Add vinegar (1/2 to 1 cup) to regular detergent and wash normally. Vinegar is great to spot clean collar and underarm stains, too. And don't worry, the vinegar odor dissipates once dry.

Lemon juice brightens and refreshes fabric. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice (1/4 to 1/2 cup) to regular detergent and wash normally. Pre-soak tougher stains by boiling a large pot of water and one sliced lemon. Turn off the heat, soak clothing one hour, then launder.

Sunlight makes whites whiter and fresh air keeps laundry smelling clean. Simply hang-dry your clothes outside to get the benefits!