Keeping a pristine, crisp look in white clothing is a struggle. So, what is the secret to washing white clothes?
Whether you learned this chore from your parents, college roommate, or friend, most of us skipped asking important questions, like “What dulls the shine in your white clothes?” The simple knowledge makes Sunday’s load a little easier.
Natural body oil, grim, and washing with darker colors make maintaining a perfectly white shirt impossible. Stains and discoloration are inevitable. As a result, it could be an obstacle to keeping white clothes looking fresh and clean. But don’t toss the faded clothes away, because there’s hope to restore them to head-turning status.
Even for a laundry enthusiast, laundry can be frustrating. Are you ready to improve the quality of your favorite clothing items? If you’ve been wondering how to prevent your white shirts from turning gray and how to undo the damage, here is our best advice on how to wash white clothes.
Everything You Need For Washing White Clothes
From sweat to messy marinara sauce, white clothes are inevitably a stain and discoloration magnet. What do you need to properly wash them?
- Washing machine (of course)
- Laundry detergent
- Oxygen-based stain remover
- Fabric softener sheets
- Baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide (optional)
- Distilled white vinegar (optional)
How to Wash White Clothes
The rules of the washing game are simple:
- Sort through your dirty laundry to prevent discoloration. The first mistake most people make is not washing white clothes. Even light colors can transfer, and make them appear dull, so make sure to separate them! It’s also important to separate delicate white clothes from heavier ones. Dirt transfers easily to the lighter clothing.
- Before you start washing the white clothes, treat the stains. To remove hardy stains, pretreat your clothing items with laundry detergent and a good ole’ toothbrush. Attack leftover residue by applying and scrubbing. The goal is to clear the stain before it sets.
- For older stains, pretreatment is a little different. Grab your baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide, and the oxygen-based stain remover. Then apply to the stubborn stains. We recommend an oxygen-based product because it is safer and can also be applied to all washable fabrics!
- Hot or cold water? Hot! Hot! Hot! But the warmest option will be sufficient to help get rid of those pesky stains. Pair the hot water with a normal or heavy-duty setting. If there are delicates in the mix, wash in a gentler cycle. Depending on the stain, hot water can seal stains in. For example, you may want to wash delicate white clothes in a cold setting. Always check your clothes care label to find out whether hot or cold water is preferred.
- Next, add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle to strip away the stains. The white vinegar is a superhero for lifting gray or yellow hues.
- Make sure to not overload the washer for the best results.
- Don’t start the dryer yet! As you transition to the drying set, check each clothing item one by one beforehand to ensure no spots need treatment.
- All the garments checked? Now, dry at a low temperature. High heat can create a permanent stain. Or drying the items outside can also make a big difference when trying to maintain the brightness. Let your clothes get some fresh air and bake in the sun.
Skip the Bleach
Plot twist: you don’t need bleach. Ditch it! Did you know that bleach can actually be the cause of the yellowing of your clothes? Many believe bleach gives your clothes that brand-new glow, but that is not the case.
Yes, bleach can be like waving a magic wand over stubborn stains, but it can also wreak havoc by creating faded splotches, or even burn holes. The real key is a good laundry detergent along with the oxygen-based stain remover, but don’t go overboard with the products. Prevent damage by using a reasonable amount, because overusing laundry detergent will create a dull, gray-tinted look over time.
How Often Should You Wash White Clothing
How often you actually need to wash your white clothes depends on different factors: weather, activity level, sweat, clothing item, and fabric. But the answer is often. If you’re like most, you’ve probably got a plan to do some laundry this weekend. We recommend washing white clothing once a week or every 1 to 3 wears. The more build-up, the more difficult it is to get rid of stains. If there are delicates in the mix, wash in a gentler cycle. You’ll be the best judge.
How to Tackle Greying and Yellowing
Fun fact: this type of discoloration is caused by not rinsing the detergent properly, then proceeding to store them for a long time in a humid environment, like a closet or dresser drawer. Other reasons include: bleaching, over washing, or under rinsing.
We recommend wearing your white clothes while enjoying a day around town, to allow them to get some sun every now and then. Bask in summer’s warmth by utilizing the summer sun’s natural whitener. And don’t forget to properly rinse and wash properly to remove all traces of detergent and fabric softeners.
Why Use Baking Soda
You use baking soda for other household chores, why not bring it to the laundry routine? Stomp out those strong-willed stains and odors with baking soda, also known as white’s clothes secret weapon. Baking soda is alkaline, so it neutralizes acids. The double-duty agent will result in softer, fresher white clothes. Place your clothes in the washer, add baking soda plus detergent, and let its abrasive powers do the rest.
See you later, stains! When you have a battle plan to take care of white clothes, keeping them spotless is a piece of cake. You’ve got the tools to brighten up some of your favorite pieces, so it’s time to put these tips to the ultimate test. At Public Goods, we pride ourselves on our healthy, everyday essentials. For more sustainability hacks, like how to remove paint stains from clothes or how to clean household appliances like microwaves.
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