February 12, 2020

HOW TO KEEP WHITES WHITE

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 wash whites and keep them white.

But in our home, whites just didn't like to stay white. Our bright white socks and t-shirts always seemed to yellow over time. 

Do you ever wonder how people keep their whites so, well, white? I did too! SO I decided to find out! You can check out my findings here! #laundryhacks

Admittedly, that’s partly my fault. I am a 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!

Certain that I had just cracked the code, 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.

But what I didn't realize is that more often than not, whites turn yellow when washed with chlorine bleach.

It wasn’t long before I realized my “all-whites” idea was not going to go exactly as planned.

Now, I was no Martha Stewart. In fact, 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... that bleach was definitely what was leaving my clothes looking dingy.

After that, I tried a ton of bleach alternatives. I began using all sorts of home recipes for natural cleaners with lemon juice and vinegar, trying to find something that would keep my whites looking white so that I could finally buy those hotel-style comforters for our beds!

But I mostly just found myself frustrated. So I took to Amazon to read reviews! And thank goodness for Amazon! Because I FINALLY found a winning combination.

whites turn yellow when washed with chlorine bleach

It wasn’t long before I realized my “all-whites” idea was not going to go exactly as planned. 

Now, I was no Martha Stewart. In fact, 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... that bleach was definitely what was leaving my clothes looking dingy.

After that, I tried a ton of bleach alternatives. I began using all sorts of home recipes for natural cleaners with lemon juice and vinegar, trying to find something that would keep my whites looking white so that I could finally buy those hotel-style comforters for our beds! 

But I mostly just found myself frustrated. So I took to Amazon to read reviews! And thank goodness for Amazon! Because I FINALLY found a winning combination.

The 5 tips below can be used together or separately to keep your withs bright white all the time.

To Keep Whites White: Wash in warm water / Rinse in cold water.

Woman Selecting Cooler Temperature On Washing Machine To Rinse Whites

Unless you are dealing with a stained garment or a delicate fabric, set your wash cycle to warm and your rinse cycle to cold.

The warmer water will remove dirt and the colder water will do a better job of rinsing it away. If you have some whites that are already really yellow, trying washing them in the hottest water possible, keep the rinse cycle cold. 

( 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.)

​Check for Hard Water that could be ruining your Whites.

If your whites are turning yellow then there is a very good chance that you’ve got hard water.  

You may also notice other issues around the house like a ring around the toilet or your coffee machine needing cleaned frequently.  You might even have issues with rinsing soaps and conditioners out of your hair while showering.    If you've got any of those issues, then I highly suggest testing for hard water using one of these little kits.

If it turns out that you do have hard water, the most permanent 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.

A less expensive fix is to simply get a water softener that you add directly to your laundry like detergent.  We use this one.

If you’re not sure if you’ve got hard water you can get a tester kit here.

USE OXI-CLEAN WHITE-REVIVE TO REVERSE DINGE
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 oxygen bleach (aka oxi clean), 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.

USE LIQUID BLUING TO COUNTERACT YELLOWING

I had quite literally had 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 with no problem! (Don't believe me? Check out these reviews)

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! 

SUN-DRY WHENEVER POSSIBLE TO BRIGHTEN UP YOUR WHITES

hanging white clothing out in the warm sun will help to sun bleach them and keep the whites white.

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!

Hanging white clothing out in the warm sun will help to sun bleach them and keep the whites white.
So there you have it, folks! If you’re dreaming of a white laundry basket… then try out these tips

BONUS: SKIP THE FABRIC SOFTENER

Although softeners like downy make our laundry look and feel great, they actually coat our laundry with a waxy substance that can cause your whites to be tinted.

Do you have a great tip that works to keep your whites white every time? Share them in the comments bellow

Laundry secret that gets your whites whiter

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small fee for anything purchased through a link (at no cost to you.)  I only promote products that I fully support. You can read my full disclosure HERE.

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