How to Keep Your Whites White
With six kids at home, I do a lot of laundry, and average between 12-15 loads a week! I use white sheets and white towels, and with all of the white tee shirts, blouses, dress shirts, cleaning rags, dishrags, and socks, at least half of the laundry consists of white loads. It can be a challenge to keep whites really crisp, and not have them turn yellow or gray, so I’m always looking for ways to help. Today I’m sharing the things I’ve learned, and some of my best tips on How to Keep Your Whites White!
How to Keep Your Whites White!
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1. Separate your loads really well.
It’s always better if you’re really strict when separating your laundry, especially with whites. Keep it to whites only…that even means no light colored clothes!
2. Wash after 1-2 wears
When I wear my clothes for only a couple of hours, I usually hang them up and wear them again. With white clothes, I’ve noticed that it’s better to wash sooner than later. Body oils and deodorants clothes can cause staining, and those can remain even after a short period of wearing time.
3. Use the right amount of detergent.
Make sure you follow the directions and use the recommended amount of detergent. Too much detergent can actually make your clothes dirtier. The soap residue can act like a magnet, causing the dirt to stick to the fabric. Even using too little can have an affect on your clothes becoming gray and dingy.
4. Don’t overload your washer.
Give your clothes plenty of room to move! If they’re too packed in, they won’t be able to circulate and get clean. I know I have a tendency to want to fit more in, so I can get more laundry done, but in the end, it doesn’t save me any time.
5. Use a lower heat setting on your dryer.
Higher heats have the potential to scorch or singe your clothes, making them more yellow. Also, only keep them in the dryer as long as they need to be, and take them out as soon as they are dry.
6. Use bleach when appropriate.
I like to use bleach. It gets rid of stains that I just can’t get out any other way. That said, you do have to be careful. There are some fabrics that shouldn’t be bleached, and even some white cotton towels will have a “No Bleach” warning on the label. It’s most likely due to a some kind of finish that’s on the towel that isn’t appropriate for bleach. When using bleach, it’s best with hot water—the hottest possible—so keep that in mind when checking care labels on your clothing and white items.
DO NOT MIX BLEACH WITH ANYTHING ELSE! It does not mix with vinegar or peroxide, and should only be used on its own (except your laundry detergent). Always do your research and read the directions on the bottle before acting.
7. Pretreat stains…the sooner the better.
The sooner you can treat a stain, the more likely it is to come out. Don’t forget to treat the stains you can’t see, like under the arms. Soak them if necessary!
8. Try treating with Oxi Clean.
Oxi Clean is a staple in my laundry room–I use it for soaking and for treating stains. I also like the Oxi Clean Stain Sticks, and even been known to keep one in the car. :)
9. Add vinegar to your load.
Add 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. of white vinegar to a load of your white laundry to whiten, brighten, reduce odor and soften your clothes. You shouldn’t use vinegar on some delicate fabrics, so if you’re questioning it, do a little research to see if you should or not.
P.S. I also like to add vinegar and baking soda to an empty washer and run a cycle on hot water. It cleans my machine and removes the detergent residue that builds up.
10. Try this combo for super stain fighting…
This is basically a recipe for homemade OxiClean, and it’s worth trying if nothing else has worked, or if you want to save money and make your own.
Recipe: 1 part baking soda or washing soda, 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 2 parts water
Mix the ingredients together and let your whites soak overnight in the mixture, then launder. You an also just throw in the baking soda and peroxide into your washer if you’re not specifically looking for stain removal, but just to whiten and brighten.
There is another recipe that includes Dawn dish soap, and it’s been all over Pinterest forever. I’m not a huge fan, because the dish soap can leave its own stain in the place of the original stain.
I hope this list helps…Happy Laundering!! xoxo
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Kierste Wade is a published author, blogger, and mom to six. With more than 20 years DIY and project experience, she has been sharing ideas on her blog since 2009. Focusing on simple and doable projects, she loves to share attainable ideas for all things home, holidays, and family. Kierste has been featured on Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, American Farmhouse Magazine (print and online) Taste of Home, Country Living, and more.