putting aspirin in washing machine to whiten whites

Can Putting Aspirin in the Washing Machine Help Whiten Whites?

Whether you’re looking for affordable ways to brighten your whites or you’re simply curious to know if this so-called hack really works, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this post, we’ll answer the burning question: can putting aspirin in the washing machine help whiten white clothing? 

We’ll also cover two of the best methods to use if you want to give it a try, along with a few alternatives to help you wave goodbye to greying whites for good.

Does Aspirin Whiten Laundry?

Aspirin is better at whitening laundry than plain water, but it isn’t as effective as bleach.

It’s not clear how aspirin helps to whiten laundry. It has been suggested that the salicylic acid produced by mixing aspirin with water, had a bleaching effect. However, salicylic acid’s bleaching properties are very limited. It is nowhere near as effective as bleach at whitening clothes.

However, aspirin isn’t entirely ineffective… 

Firstly, just like with salicylic acid-infused facial cleansers that are designed to remove excess oil from the skin, aspirin does have the ability to remove dirt and even to lighten yellow sweat stains. 

Better still, it does so gently, without causing any lasting damage to the material or leaving behind a strong smell like bleach does.

Secondly, in the same way that mildly abrasive toothpaste can remove scratches from glass, the gritty nature of crushed aspirin makes it useful for deep cleaning. When worked into fabric, it can remove engrained dirt which causes discolouration. 

This can lead to a brighter finish, putting some weight behind the idea of whitening clothes with aspirin once again.


How to Whiten Clothes with Aspirin

whiten clothes with aspirin

If you do decide to use aspirin in your laundry to see the effects for yourself, below are two best ways to go about it. 

The first is aimed at lightening whites overall and the second is focused on treating stains.

Method 1 – Soak first, then wash

For this method, you’ll need a box of 325mg aspirins and a 5L bucket of hot water. 

  1. Dissolve 5-10 aspirins in a bucket of hot water – use more for larger items.
  2. Submerge your white clothes in the mixture and soak for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Then wash in the machine on a normal cycle, with 3 more tablets added to the drum.
  4. Hang out to dry in direct sunlight for maximum whitening potential.

Method 2 – Create a paste

  1. Dampen the stained fabric with warm water – use cold water if treating a blood stain to avoid it seeping deeper into the fibres.
  2. Crush up two 325mg aspirins and apply the powder directly onto the stain, then add a couple of drops of water on top.
  3. Next, use your finger or the back of a teaspoon to combine the powder and water to create a paste and rub it into the stain. Leave the mixture on the stain for 2-3 hours.
  4. When time’s up, use a sponge or damp cloth to work the stain out of the material in a circular motion then rinse. If the stain is still quite dark, repeat the process again.
  5. Finally, wash on a normal cycle and then dry outside to make the most of one of the sun’s top benefits for laundry – namely, its naturally whitening UV rays.

What happens when you put aspirin in your washing machine?

Another approach is to add dissolved aspirin directly into your wash cycle. However, this isn’t nearly as effective as the two methods we’ve covered above. 

It will, however, save you time if you’re in a hurry. Just remember to adjust the quantities of the mix accordingly and add it into the drum. This will help you avoid accidentally clogging the detergent drawer.


Alternatives to Whitening Clothes with Aspirin

whitening clothes alternatives

If you’ve tried the above methods and you’re still not satisfied with the colour of your whites, there are several other approaches you can try. 

With well-known lightening properties, bleach is an obvious choice. However, as one of the strongest cleaning substances going, it should be used with extreme caution, particularly if adding bleach in your washing machine.

Instead, you could opt for a product specifically designed to make whites whiter in the wash. Vanish Oxi Action Gold for Whites is both an effective stain remover and white booster.

Meanwhile, a sachet of Dr Beckmann’s Glowhite Fabric Whitener does exactly what it says on the tin, without the risks associated with using harsh bleach. 

Alternatively, you could try more eco-friendly substance. Natural whiteners include grime-busting bicarbonate of soda and residue-removing white vinegar, the latter of which can replace liquid fabric conditioner which has a tendency to dull whites over time. 

With high levels of stain-removing citric acid, lemon juice is another effective tool for whitening whites.  

As you can see, there are a whole host of ways to keep your white clothes looking bright and fresh. And if you’d like more handy tricks to keep your clothes in tip-top condition, feel free to browse the laundry section of our blog for some of our favourite ideas.