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I’ve always dreamed of having a home filled with beautiful white linens.
In my imagination, our bedrooms are light and airy with beds covered in hotel style comforters. There’s just one problem. Figuring out How to keep the whites white.
In our home, whites just don’t like to stay white. Admittedly, that’s mostly my fault. I am chronic spiller. I spill coffee, soda, wine, pretty much anything that can be spilled. And my 3 children seem to have inherited this lovely little trait.
For a long time, I would only buy dark clothing in hopes that it would help cover the stains that the washing machine just couldn’t get out. But then one day, I had an epiphany!
Whites can be bleached. Whites can be bleached! Maybe buying everything in white was the right choice after all! I rushed right out to the store and bought a whole closet full of white towels. I figured towels were a good place to start since they would be the least likely to get spilled on.
It wasn’t long before I realized my “all-whites” idea was not going to go exactly as planned. Despite the “miracle” bleach, I pulled that first load of brand new white towels out of the machine to find out that they weren’t white anymore. In fact, they were sort of yellowish.
I was still pretty clueless about laundry back then so I quite literally inspected the washing machine to see if something had stained it. Of course, there was nothing there. Turns out, bleach can actually be responsible for the yellowing. Who knew?
After that day, I began trying all sorts of home recipes for natural cleaners to find something that would keep my whites looking white so that I could finally buy those hotel style comforters for our beds!
I’ve put together a list of the 5 things I’ve found that ACTUALLY work to keep your whites white!on
Unless you are dealing with a stained garment or a delicate fabric, whites should always be washed in the hottest water possible and rinsed in cold water. ( IMPORTANT NOTE: You should never use heat on fabric with a stain because it sets the stain permanently. In the case of stained items, pre-treat and then wash in cold water.)
If your whites are turning yellow then there is a very good chance that you’ve got hard water. The best fix for this is to get a full scale, whole home water softening system. But those are pretty pricey to have installed and required chemicals and maintenance. And easier (although maybe temporary) fix is to get a water softener that you add directly to your laundry like detergent. I’m sure there are plenty of brands that work just fine but we use borax because we like that it’s all natural!
If you’re not sure if you’ve got hard water you can get a tester kit here.
I’ve heard it claimed that baking soda and vinegar will revive your whites but I’ve gotta be honest, I’ve tried it and I can honestly say, they don’t make much of a difference on our whites. This product, however, works like magic! No lie! The first time I used it, I was so excited to pull a load of really white towels out to the wash! We usually use this by itself on new white clothes but we’ve also used it with borax for clothes that are already really yellowed.
I had quite literally NEVER heard of liquid bluing. To you, this may be old news. But if not… You have GOT to try this stuff. Not only will it KEEP your whites white… It will return your yellowy whites back to their former glory! The blue counteracts the yellow to result in nice bright whites! I will warn you that you have to be careful about how you add it. (SO MAKE SURE YOU READ THE DIRECTIONS!) Start with less than recommended. If that doesn’t get you the desired result then just keep adding a little bit at a time until you get the result you want!
Obviously, if you live in an area where winter is actually winter, then using a dryer may be your only option for several months of the year. But whenever possible, hang dry your white to allow for “sunning.” ( I learned about this technique when my first child was born and I opted for cloth diapering.) I’m sure you’ve seen how colorful children’s toys and clothes left outside too long get faded from the sun right? You can harness that power and sun out those dingy whites!
So there you have it folks! If you’re dreaming of a white laundry basket… then try out these tips!
Do you have a great tip that works to keep your whites white every time? Share them in the comments below!