Restoring White Clothes

by Karen Bates
(last updated May 18, 2009)


Over time, you can pretty much count on your white clothes losing their brightness. They can eventually become dull and change color, seeming more gray than white. And, in some cases, your white clothing might change color because they have been washed with loads of dark or brightly colored clothing. All it takes is one accidental wash with a red piece of clothing, and your favorite white tee shirt can come out of the wash pink!

Then there is always the issue of stains on your white clothes. Because a clothing article is white, spots or stains that might not show up otherwise on darker clothes can be obvious. You might worry that white clothing that has been stained can never be worn again.

Your white clothes aren't doomed to remain dull or discolored forever, though. Luckily, there are many ways to restore white clothing. Bring back the brightness of your white clothing by following these tips:

  • Bleach. Bleach is the obvious solution to brightening or restoring white clothing, but you must be careful not to over-use it. Clothes that are bleached too often can become worn out and thin. It is, however, a very effective way to bring white clothes back to life. To bleach your clothing, fill the machine with cold water and add a cup or so of bleach when the machine starts agitating. Now add your clothes. Some machines have a special bleach dispenser that can make the process even easier.
  • Baking Soda. If you want a less harsh way to whiten clothing, try adding some baking soda to the wash. To use the baking soda, add ˝ cup to the load when washing your white clothing. It should help make your whites brighter and whiter. It can also help improve color clothing and get rid of odor in fabrics.
  • Whitening Products. You can find products that are designed to whiten and brighten your clothing. Such products, like Oxy Clean, can improve the look of your whites. Follow the instructions on the package carefully to ensure best results.
  • Prewash Spray. To help remove stains on white clothing, use a prewash spray (such as Spray and Wash) on the fabric. This product is formulated to loosen the stain and make it more likely to be removed completely in the wash. After washing, make certain that the stain has come out before throwing the garment in the dryer. If the stain is still present, try spraying and washing again, or try an alternative method.

Remember that if a white garment becomes stained, you should try to treat and wash it immediately to avoid permanent staining. If this doesn't work, try one of the above ideas to help you.

Author Bio

Karen Bates

An English student who enjoys writing and art, Karen has had her poetry published in her university's literary journal and has several novels in the works. ...


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What is two more than 3?

2016-11-04 01:30:18


I've heard the same thing about Oxy Clean from several people who have used it---it doesn't really get things very clean. For that reason I won't use it.

2016-11-02 23:29:55

Barbara Terry

Oxy Clean is not doing what it says it can do......My towels look dirty...

2015-08-19 08:43:08

The Housekeeper

My friends, I recommend cleaning your machine once a month. JJ, you were right, but add chlorine bleach. Run it on a normal cycle with hot wash and cool rinse. You can run a second rinse cycle if you're not sure all the bleach was washed out of the drum.

2015-08-18 12:37:05

diane Fortuin

Same question as that of catherine birch: anything with spandex goes grey or blue-ish. Cant use clorox.

2014-02-08 11:48:07


Be careful when you spot treat with Spray and Wash directly on fabric. Do not leave it for too long. It will lighten that area of the fabric and becomes very noticeable under sunlight.

2013-12-25 11:18:46


Maybe your washer itself needs a cleaning. I'd recommend running a complete cycle, just water, on hot wash cycle and a cool rinse. I pray that my suggestion helps. Lord bless you!

2013-12-07 14:21:06

paul wright

what can I use to bring my white football shirts back to pure white without damaging the other colours in them obviously I cant use bleach so whats safe to use to bring the white back to white without damaging the other colours.

2013-08-12 12:52:21


This has helped me a lot!

2013-04-08 06:28:24

catherine birch

Ever since Iv`e been washing my clothes at home in my washer-dryer, my white under wear has rapidly turned grey. Iv`e tried all sorts of whitening products, but they haven`t worked.The last one that i used turned my bras blue! Why do white things go grey, & what can I do to avoid this happening in the future?

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