White clothing has always been a symbol of purity and cleanliness; however, it becomes dirty quickly due to various reasons such as sweat stains or food spills on the fabric. This makes it look dull and unattractive. You might want to throw away these tainted garments thinking there's no hope for their recovery but wait.
A few simple tricks can bring back the shine in your favorite whites without much effort from your end. Here are a few home remedies to make your white clothes look bright and new.
Use Oxygen Bleach
The gentlest method to whiten white clothes is to mix warm water with oxygen-based bleach. Make sure to follow the package recommendations when it comes to the amount of oxygen bleach to use. Add the bleach to the water and submerge the white clothes in the mixture. Let them soak for at least eight hours or overnight.
Patience is very important. After that, launder as usual using the hottest water recommended for the fabric, then add half a cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse water. This method is safe for polyester clothes, synthetic fabrics, and natural fibers like cotton and linen.
Use Bluing Liquid
If the yellowed clothes are white, you can use a bluing agent to help restore their color. Add 1/2 cup of the bluing liquid to the rinse cycle and let it run its course. This is an old-fashioned laundry product that can be added to the wash cycle to make white clothes appear brighter.
All you need to do is mix your bluing agent with cold water, following the instructions on the bottle. You'll only need a 1/4 to 1/8 teaspoon, depending on what type of wash cycle you're using. This liquid adds the slightest hint of blue, offsetting that yellowish hue that t-shirts, socks, and sheets can take on.
Use Baking Soda
Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is an excellent cleaning product that you'll find in every kitchen. To make your t-shirts whiter, make a baking soda paste with water and some salt. Apply the paste on the stains before tossing it into the washing machine. The t-shirt will come out clean and white as snow.
There are two methods of whitening your clothes with baking soda. Add 1/2 a cup of baking soda along with your regular liquid laundry detergent at the start of the laundry cycle. You can also create a baking soda soak for your clothes to soak in before washing. If you choose to soak your clothes, allow them to soak for at least an hour and then wash as normal.
If you're using powder detergent, add sodium bicarbonate during the rinse cycle. Baking soda is chemically similar to washing soda. It's also a mild antiseptic so that it will protect your washing machine and clothes from bacterial growth.
Wash Your Yellowed Clothes Using White Vinegar
White vinegar is an excellent choice for cleaning clothes naturally because it's a mild acid which makes it great for cutting through dirt and grease. There are two methods you can use to whiten your clothes with using white vinegar. The first method involves adding one cup of vinegar and your regular laundry detergent at the start of the wash cycle.
Distilled white vinegar is an excellent fabric softener and deodorizer that not only whitens clothes but can be used in stinky laundry. Add 1 cup of the washer's last rinse cycle to also eliminate soap residue. For extra brightening, mix it with a ¼ cup of lemon juice.
Give Your Clothes a Citrus Soak
Another way to whiten clothes is by giving them a citrus soak. Fill a basin or sink with hot water and add lemon juice to give your white clothes a new glow. Soak the clothes for about 30 minutes, then rinse and wash as usual.
The citric acid in the lemon, lime, or orange juice helps break down the yellowing and lighten the fabric. You can also use orange peels as a natural bleach. Wet the peels and rub them on the stained areas of your clothes. Let the juice sit for about an hour before rinsing and washing as usual.
Lemon juice can also be used to remove stains from your clothing. Apply lemon juice on the rust stain and sprinkle some cream of tartar over the juice. Rub the solution over the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. The stain should go away. Wash normally after this if you know how to do laundry.
Use Natural Laundry Detergents
Using laundry detergents that aren't made with chemicals can help you maintain your clothes' vibrancy. These natural detergents are made up of plant-based enzymes and natural minerals that can clean effectively like their synthetic counterparts.
These detergents are not as harsh on fabric as synthetic detergents, making them suitable for prolonging the life of your favorite clothes. They're also biodegradable and non-polluting, unlike normal detergents. You can also learn how to make DIY laundry detergent if you want a much safer solution.
Most bleaches such as chlorine, oxygen, and hydrogen peroxide break up stains through a chemical reaction called oxidation. Detergents remove stains while bleaches turn stains colorless by chemically altering their molecules. When using bleach, only go for whites and bleachable colors.
Check items for non-bleach only before using. To use bleach, start your washer, add 3/4 cup chlorine bleach to the wash water with your regular detergent, and add your laundry load. Note that chlorine bleach can produce dangerous fumes combined with vinegar, ammonia products, and other household chemicals. So, never combine them, as the combination can be hazardous to your respiratory system.
Non chlorine bleaches such as oxygen bleach and hydrogen peroxide are good in whitening. So, if you have any of these around, substitute them for the chlorine bleach in the recipe. They're gentler and less toxic than chlorine bleach, making them safe for most fabrics and dyes. Hydrogen peroxide brightens whites and removes stains without harsh chemicals. Add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach to your regular detergent when washing whites.
Use Sunshine as a Whitener
Wash your cotton, linen clothes, tablecloths, and other white laundry items. After that, allow them to dry in direct sunlight. Hang them on a clothesline or lay them on the lawn to let the sunshine whiten them. The sun's UV rays can leave you with whitening whites in just a few hours.
Consider Sodium Borate
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that helps remove stains. It also deodorizes and brightens clothes. Borax also breaks down the minerals in the water that can yellow clothes over time. Add 1/2 cup of Borax to your regular detergent when washing dingy whites.
Use Sodium Carbonate
Also known as washing soda, sodium carbonate has a higher alkaline level, making it a powerful cleaning agent. Add 1/2 cup to your laundry as a detergent booster. This cleaning can cause skin irritation, so rinse the area thoroughly if your skin comes in contact.
Baking Soda and Peroxide
Combine equal parts of baking soda, peroxide, and water in a small container, then using a toothbrush, rub the paste on the clothing that needs to be bleached. Allow it to sit for several minutes before rinsing with cool water.
FAQs about Whitening Yellowed Clothes
Why do white clothes become yellowed?
White clothes become yellowed for a number of reasons. These include:
- When they're exposed to a chemical and react with a substance in their environment, for example, the sweat stains the white fabric
- Cooking with greasy oils frequently can also cause yellowing in clothes.
- Clothes will also yellow in storage because they react with substances in the storage container, especially wooden shelves, and cardboard boxes.
- Nicotine from cigarette smoke can also cause whites to be yellow
Final Thought on How to Whiten Yellowed Clothes
As you can see, there are so many methods of whitening yellowed clothes. It all depends on what is causing the yellowing and how severe it is. In general, the harsher the whitening method, the more likely it is to cause damage to the clothes.
So always test a small hidden area of the fabric before applying any bleaching agents to the entire garment. With these simple tips, you can now learn to whiten yellowed clothes.