Chlorine laundry bleach can irritate skin, eyes and lungs and weaken natural fabric fibers. Four other methods for whitening laundry, some of them as old as washing itself. The juice of half a lemon added to regular detergent in your next load will brighten and freshen. Hydrogen peroxide in a 3-percent solution can whiten whites, but it’s not safe for colors). Baking soda naturally freshens, softens and whitens laundry – try a half cup per load and use to pretreat stains. Remove rust stains (that chlorine seems to bring out) by moistening stain with lemon juice, then cover with table salt overnight. Next day, rinse in cool water and launder.