Keeping your whites white can be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to laundry. Some people even steer away from whites completely because of this fact but there are a few tips and tricks to help you maintain your whites.
1. Wash whites separately
I can’t express how important this first point is. If you’re in the habit of throwing all your laundry in together, it’s time to get out of that head space and whiten your whites. You may have been lucky enough to get away with it to date but it’s only a matter of time before your red sock becomes your pink shirt.
Even if colours aren’t transferred, having different coloured items in your washing machine means that it can’t work at its best and target the right places, causing white items to emerge looking grey or even yellow. It’s time to separate your whites!
2. Add lemon juice to your wash cycle
Lemon juice has been proven to whiten your garments and remove stains. A lot of us don’t have the time to stand around and soak our clothes in hot water and lemon, so try adding lemon juice to your wash cycles for the same results.
3. Use aspirin
That’s right. I said aspirin. Who knew that an anti-inflammatory drug can help to make your white clothes white again? All you need to do is soak 5 300mg aspirin tablets (crushed) in 8 litres of hot water, soak the garment in this solution for 8+ hours, ensuring that the material is submerged the whole time.
4. Add white vinegar to your wash cycle
Vinegar is a product used a lot when it comes to laundry. It’s perfect for removing stains, odours and as a laundry booster. While washing all-whites, add a cup of white vinegar while on the rinse cycle. Don’t worry, your clothes aren’t going to smell of vinegar but they will be returned to their original white colour.
5. Dry your clothes outside (when possible)
When it comes to laundry, it’s always best to dry them outside but even more so when it comes to all-white clothing. Skip the dryer and go straight for the washing line in the sun. The sun will act as a natural bleaching agent. The Minky Retractable Washing Line is a good choice.
6. Put on a detergent-free load
Detergent is a staple item in everyone’s home and it’s important to wash your clothes with some form of detergent to get the best results but whites can become laden with detergent over time which can create that yellow tint that we all dread. Instead, send your whites through a detergent-free wash cycle and replace the detergent with a small amount of ammonia.
Although it can be incredibly frustrating to buy brand new (in some cases expensive) white clothes, just to have them soiled and looking dull a couple of weeks later, try these tips out on your next trip to the washing machine and you’ll have them looking brand new again!
7. Use bleach
If your white clothes are beginning to look a little grey or they have stains that simply aren’t coming out in a normal wash, then you may want to try adding a little bleach to your washes.
There are two different types that you can try in your washing machine: chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach. Both types remove stains and can kill some bacteria too. You can also use hydrogen peroxide – a bleach commonly used in cosmetics to bleach hair, etc.
How to Use Chlorine Bleach
This is the most powerful type of home-use bleach and needs to be mixed to make a water solution before being added to your fabrics.
This bleach is perfect if you are looking to kill bacteria on your clothes as well as remove stains.
It comes in the forms of both powder and liquid, but the liquid form is far more common. You want to add the bleach a small amount of time into the wash when the detergents have had a chance to soften the stains already.
This bleach should not be used directly onto clothes as it can damage the fibres.
The best way to use this bleach is to add the bleach-water solution into the detergent drawer so that it washes the entire item of clothing rather than leaving blotches on the clothes.
Be sure to use up the bleach or no longer use the same bottle after 6 months as the bleach loses its disinfecting and stain removal power after this amount of time.
How to Use Oxygen Bleach
Although oxygen bleach does not contain antibacterial properties, it is still good at stain removing and safe to use on fabrics.
It cannot be used on leather, silk or wool, but you can add the powder directly into the washer before you put the clothes in, making it very easy to use.
This type of bleach isn’t as strong as chlorine bleach, but if you’re patient with it, it can give you just as good results.
You can mix the powder with warm and then cold water to create a solution to soak your clothes in.
As oxygen bleach isn’t as strong, you can leave them to soak for hours before washing in a machine to truly remove the tough stains.
You can also use oxygen bleach on coloured clothing without it removing the colour and as soda-ash is the only by-product makes it environmentally friendly.
How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is often found in the pharmacy for disinfecting cuts or in hair bleach, but it can also be used to remove stains and disinfect your clothes.
You can add a small amount to the washing machine on top of your clothes and wash to remove stains and kill bacteria.
Be careful to test it as it can permanently remove colours from fabrics too.
Extra Tips for Using Bleach on Your Laundry
Be sure that you do a small patch test on the clothes, perhaps inside a pocket to check that the fabric does not react badly to the bleach.
You should also always check the label on your clothes to decide the best way to wash them, whether in the machine or hand wash only.
Always wear gloves when washing your clothes or being in contact with it as it can be irritant and even corrosive in the case of chlorine bleach.
To best remove stains and keep your whites sparkling white for longer, be sure to wash them on a high heat for successful results.
Choose the bleach that best suits the kind of washing you are looking to do, whether it be handwashing delicate clothing or adding it to a wash to remove tough stains.
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In The Wash is your guide to the best laundry and cleaning products, tips and tricks. Our mission is to solve the UK’s cleaning and laundry dilemmas!