Laundry Tip: How to safely make your own bleach gel

It’s appropriate that my tip today has to do with cleaning, because not only have I been cleaning clothes, but I’ve been doing some cleaning up of my blog too. Did you notice? It’s taken up a lot of my time in the past week, so I’m sorry that I haven’t been visiting and commenting as much as usual. I’m looking forward to relaxing this weekend with my iPad in my lap and catching up on my emails and seeing what everyone’s been up to.

That said, I was in the laundry room the other day trying to get some stains out of a white sweatshirt, when my bleach gel pen ran out. Unfortunately, the stains were near some sewn-on navy letters, and I was afraid I might accidentally bleach them out if I used regular liquid bleach, but I also didn’t want to drop everything to run to the store.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, so…..after a little bit of Googling and a whole lot of experimenting, I’m happy to say that there is a way you can safely make your own bleach gel.

DIY Bleach Gel
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A little cornstarch, water and a few tablespoons of bleach make this homemade version of a bleach pen.
Recipe type: Laundry
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • 4-7 Tbsp household bleach
  1. Mix water and corn starch together in a small pan. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously until mixture becomes translucent and pudding-like. Let cool. If you need to make it more than a few hours ahead of time, cover the pot with plastic wrap so it won't dry out. Start adding bleach by the Tbsp, until you have the consistency and strength you desire. Gel will thin a little bit after sitting. Use as you would regular bleach gel.


Just to be sure I wasn’t giving you bad information, I wanted to try it out myself first. I started by bringing 3/4 cup of water and 3 Tbsp corn starch to a boil on the stove, stirring frequently. It didn’t take long before it was translucent and pudding-like.

You’ll need to let this cool before adding the bleach. While I was waiting, I mixed up a bowl of ketchup, barbecue sauce and chocolate syrup.

Then I painted two patches of the “stain stuff” onto an old t-shirt my son had outgrown.

After letting the t-shirt sit for about an hour, I rinsed it out and let it dry. Isn’t it funny how when you actually want something to stain, it requires a lot of effort? I actually painted the stuff on a second time and it still didn’t stain as dark as I wanted it to!

When the shirt was dry, I added 5 or 6 Tbsp of liquid bleach to my cornstarch pudding.

I could have just painted the bleach on the t-shirt, but I used a bulb suction to squirt it into an old glue squeeze bottle instead. UPDATE: Jodie mentioned in the comments below that she put the bleach gel into a Ziploc bag, cut the corner off and squeezed it into a bottle. MUCH easier than what I did! Thanks Jodi!

Then for the fun part. I squeezed some out onto each stain.

Waited an hour, then rinsed and dried the t-shirt again. And here are the results. At first glance, it looked like the Clorox bleach pen fared better, but I think that’s just because the stain on that side is a little darker, so it shows up more.

I also tried it out on an old black t-shirt. The homemade stuff is on the left, and the real stuff is on the right.

As far as I’m concerned, it works just as well as the original, don’t you think? I read somewhere that bleach weakens over time, so I’m not sure how long my little experiment will last, but I’ll come back and update this post to let you know when I get around to using it again. As long as it still works, I’m not sure I’ll be buying the name brand stuff again. The savings are huge, because corn starch and liquid bleach cost next to nothing. Not to mention how much you’d save if you needed it for a big project. Or lots of little ones, like this from Diary of a Crafty Chica.

Or this. (Please click to go to their blog if you want to pin any of these images.)

Doesn’t that look like fun?

I’d love to hear from you if you decide to give this stuff a try. Oh, and I’d also love to hear from you if you run into any quirky behavior on my little blog. I still have some issues to work through with the mobile formatting (sorry if you’re trying to read this on a little screen!), and I’m sure there are other things I haven’t come across yet.

Lastly, if you read my post about the Christmas turned Valentine’s wreath, I tweaked the bow so it’s not quite as big as it was. Take a peak and see what it looks like hanging on our pantry door, and let me know what you think!

You can read more laundry room related posts here:

Laundry Room Makeover
DIY Pottery Barn Roman Shade
Pottery Barn Inspired Wall Clock
Built-in Laundry Drying Racks

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Me and My DIY

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