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Here comes the sun! Did you know that sunlight is a remarkable cleaning tool?

Updated: Aug 9, 2022


Since it’s summer (and exceptionally hot outside right now), I thought this would be the perfect thing to share with readers of Beneath the Surface News.

Did you know that sunlight is remarkably useful for cleaning surfaces in and around your home?

Be sure to head to our blog post for some science behind how it works!

Remove odor from fabrics

First up is my favorite thing to do with sunlight. You can remove odors quickly with UV rays! Check out our post from earlier in the year on removing odor from clothing.

This also works for furniture, towels, sheets or anything fabric. The UV rays kill bacteria that cause odor and neutralizes any perfumed scents.

I recommend this time of year (summer), to only leave things out for about an hour to avoid any fading of fabrics.

Whiten whites

If you have dingy white fabric, can clean it with sunlight! This is where the bleaching comes into play.

Hang up white sheets, towels, socks, shirts and tablecloths after washing.

Any yellowing or discoloration can be naturally bleached with the UV rays. For this, you can leave it outside for hours in the summer sun. The longer, the more whitening power you get!

Freshen and sanitize pillows

Sunlight can work wonders for pillows. It will kill bacteria, whiten fabric and eliminate odors.

Mold on any surface

If you have mold on something like plastic, wood or fabric, then sunshine is your answer!

I have shared this tip with readers for years who email me about a molded item. One lady told me she had mold on an old book, and she said it also smelled very musty.

I told her to put it outside in the sunlight for a few hours. She said it got rid of the smell and also killed the mold!

Once the sunlight kills the mold spores, you can wipe it off with a damp microfiber cloth then dry it. I have done this on just about every surface, even wood.

Stained plastic

If you have stained plastic storage containers, sunlight will naturally bleach and dyes or stains.

I tried this with one of my food storage containers that had spaghetti in it. The plastic was stained red even after washing with hot water and soap, soaking in hot water in soap, using vinegar, and even scrubbing with baking soda.

I set it outside in direct sunlight for a few hours and it bleached the red out!

After I washed it again, it looked as good as new.

Mildewed outdoor furniture

If you have outdoor cushions or furniture, you can utilize the sunlight to clean it!

Lay it in direct sunlight for a few hours making sure to rotate so all sides get the direct sun. You can then wash it with an outdoor furniture cleaner and it will be just like new!

Alexis Rochester is an investigative chemist, blogger and founder of Chemistry Cachet. She shares science-based skin care, cleaning, gardening and health tips. She was diagnosed with RA at age 10, so she has a passion for pain management tips and research, along with sharing her journey through this disease. When she’s not writing for Chemistry Cachet, she is taking Pilates or Barre classes, and also received her Barre teaching certification this year! She grew up in Stephenville and recently moved back with her daughter, husband and bulldog. You can find her posting pictures and fun stories daily on Instagram. Also look for Chemistry Cachet on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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