How to Get White Clothes White Again

Опубликовал Admin
3-09-2019, 16:00
Updated: August 28, 2019 Even with the most intensive laundering routines, keeping white clothes white can be difficult. Luckily, there are multiple ways you can soak your whites to pre-treat them and deal with stains, like using baking soda or a stain-fighting spray. When you wash your white clothes, always separate them from colored clothes. Use a little bit of vinegar along with your normal detergent for the best results.

Using a Pre-Soak to Keep Whites Bright

  1. Dissolve baking soda in warm water for a whitening, deodorizing treatment. Use 1 cup (180 grams) of baking soda and mix it with 4 litres (1.1 US gal) of warm water. Use a plastic tub, washbasin, or something similar that is large enough to hold your clothes. Soak your white clothes in the baking soda mixture for about 8 hours before washing them as you normally would.
    • Set an alarm on your phone so you don’t forget about the clothes for too long.
  2. Utilize lemon juice for a completely natural pre-soak option. Slice 2 whole lemons and add them to a large pot of water. Boil the lemons for about 5 minutes, and then remove the pot from the burner. Add your white clothes to the pot and let them sit for 1 hour.
    • The lemon not only whitens your clothes, but it’ll also make your kitchen smell great.
    • Be careful when adding the clothes to the pot that you don’t accidentally burn yourself. Use a wooden spoon or something similar to push the clothes to the bottom of the pot so they get completely saturated.
  3. Choose laundry detergent for a simple way to soak whites. Simply mix about ⁄4 cup (59 mL) of laundry detergent or powder into a sink filled with warm water. Add your white clothes to the sink and let them soak for about 2 hours.
    • Knowing how to use laundry detergent as a pre-soak is a great option for when you don’t have other options on hand.
  4. Soak cotton clothes with bleach diluted in water to make them brighter. Always wear rubber gloves when working with bleach, and be careful to not get it near your eyes. Pour ⁄4 cup (59 mL) of bleach into a washtub or basin along with 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water. Add your clothes to the tub, and let them soak for 5-10 minutes. After the time has passed, drain away the water and wash your white clothes like you normally would.
    • Set a timer so you don’t leave your clothes in the bleach mixture for too long. It will actually start to break down the fabric and could ruin your clothes.
  5. Treat stains with a mix of borax and liquid laundry detergent. Borax is also called sodium borate. Use it on stains by mixing about 4 tablespoons (18 grams) of borax with ⁄4 cup (59 mL) of water in a small bowl. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste into stains and let them sit for about 1 hour before you wash your whites.
    • This method works great for coffee stains or stains that tend to be more brown or yellow in color.
  6. Use a commercial stain-treating spray for a simple, quick stain remover. Commercial products are great because you don’t have to mix or measure anything. Use a “for whites” spray for the best results, and always check out the instructions on the back of the bottle before you use it. Generally, you’ll need to saturate the stain with the spray and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before you wash the item.
    • Some sprays can’t be used on certain kinds of fabrics, so check the restrictions on the bottle so that you don’t accidentally ruin any clothes.

Washing Clothes with White Vinegar

  1. Separate your white clothes from your colored clothes. When laundry day rolls around, take 5 minutes to sort through all your dirty clothes. Put the colored items into one basket, and put all your white items into another one. Don’t forget about socks, underwear, towels, and undershirts.
    • Washing white-striped clothes can be a little confusing because they’re often both dark and light. Luckily, you can throw them in with either batch as long as you pay attention to a few caveats: don’t wash them with your whites if you’re using bleach; don’t wash them with your coloreds if there are dark indigo jeans, black sweatshirts, or red clothes.
  2. Pour ⁄2 cup (120 mL) of white vinegar into the fabric softener space. Most washing machines have a special compartment for fabric softener, but this can also be used for white vinegar. Use a measuring cup to make sure you’re getting the right amount into the laundry machine.
    • Don’t worry—vinegar won’t make your clothes smell weird!
    • Don’t jump straight to bleach when washing your whites. Overusing bleach can actually cause your whites to turn more yellow. Plus, bleach is recommended for white clothes only made of cotton
  3. Add laundry detergent to the washing machine. Use your normal brand and the regular amount for the size of the load you’re going to wash. Depending on how you like to do things, you could turn on the water and add the detergent before adding the clothes to the machine; or, you could add the clothes and then turn on the water and add the detergent.
    • For the best results, use a detergent that has optical brighteners in it. These make your clothes look lighter and brighter.
  4. Use hot water and run the load of laundry like you normally would. Once you have the washing machine set up with the white vinegar, laundry detergent, and clothes, you can proceed as you normally would. Hot water will work better at removing stains in your white clothes.
    • You use cold water for colored clothes because hot water could make them get too light over time. So it makes sense that you’d opt for hot water for whites.
  5. Check the clothes for stains before transferring them to the dryer. If you put still-stained clothes into the dryer, the heat will set the stain into the fabric, making it that much harder to remove. Check for remaining stains and repeat the stain-treatment method of your choice. Wash and check the clothes again before drying them.
    • Some heavily stained items will need to be treated and washed 2-3 times, especially for stains like grass, wine, or coffee.
  6. Use low heat or line-dry your whites to keep them in the best condition. If you use a dryer, opt for the lowest heat-setting. If you can, line-dry your clothes, either outside or on a drying rack. This is the least damaging way to get your clothes dry, as it is the gentlest option and won’t stretch the fibers as much as the dryer would.
    • It may seem like extra work, but before you know it, it’ll be a habit to wash your white clothes differently from your colored ones. And your clothes will look much better in the long run!


  • To keep your whites from getting discolored in the first place, avoid washing them with colored clothes.
  • If you can, line dry your whites so that the sun can bleach them back to their original whiteness.
  • If you’re going to use bleach, only use it on clothes made of cotton. Avoid using it on poly-blends.


  • Never combine vinegar and bleach. They react and create harmful fumes.

Things You’ll Need

Using a Pre-Soak to Keep Whites Bright

  • Pre-soak method of your choice
  • Washbasin or tub

Washing Clothes with White Vinegar

  • White vinegar
  • Laundry detergent
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