Keeping white clothes looking clean and bright can be a bit of a challenge. Sweat, dirt, and body oils can cause stains, and colors from other clothes can gradually seep in, making your whites lose their original color. Even if you know how to prevent color transfer while washing, some fading is bound to happen. But don’t worry; there are other ways to brighten your laundry without using bleach. Here are nine methods to consider before reaching for the bleach.
If you’ve never considered using baking soda in your laundry routine, it’s worth giving it a try. Baking soda can be a useful addition for several reasons. It helps freshen and soften your clothes, and it has the ability to whiten fabrics. Plus, as a natural and non-toxic cleaning agent, it offers a safer alternative to harsh chemicals like bleach.
Baking soda is particularly effective at removing yellowing and discoloration, restoring their brightness. To use it, simply add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your regular liquid laundry detergent at the beginning of the wash cycle. Consider soaking the garment overnight in a baking soda solution for tougher stains.
Hydrogen peroxide serves as a gentle form of oxygen bleach. Its role is to break down the chemical bonds of stains, making them more manageable to remove from your clothing. This makes it particularly effective for tackling stubborn stains like coffee, tea, and blood. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide doubles as a natural disinfectant, meaning it can assist in eliminating bacteria and viruses that might be lingering on your garments.
Take it Outside for Some Sunshine.
After washing your white clothes while they’re still damp, you can skip the dryer. Take it outside and allow it to get some sunlight and breeze. The sun has natural deodorizing and bleaching properties. With its ultraviolet rays, sunlight has a natural brightening effect on white laundry. These UV rays have a bleaching effect and can eliminate many types of germs, acting as a natural disinfectant for your fabrics.
Vinegar has several practical uses in laundry, from brightening clothes and removing stains to eliminating odors and serving as a natural fabric softener. It is highly effective at keeping your whites white.
Much like vinegar, lemon juice offers a practical way to enhance the appearance and freshness of your laundry. Lemon juice contains citric acid, a natural bleaching agent that aids in breaking down and removing stains from clothing, including stubborn ones like sweat. Beyond its stain-fighting capabilities, lemon juice has a pleasant and refreshing scent that can help eliminate odors from your garments.
Mix half a cup of lemon juice into your laundry, along with your regular detergent, to utilize lemon juice in your laundry routine. Add your white laundry to this lemon water mixture and let it soak for at least an hour or overnight. This allows the lemon juice to work its magic and infuse the fabric.
Borax is a versatile laundry aid that effectively tackles stains while deodorizing and brightening your clothes. To use it, simply mix half a cup of powdered borax with your laundry. Submerge your white garments in this solution and let them soak for at least 30 minutes or longer. Afterward, proceed with your regular washing routine. This borax mixture works efficiently to eliminate odors and dirt from your clothes, contributing to a brighter and fresher appearance.
Bluing is an age-old product that many of our parents used to use. Bluing liquid, in particular, helps maintain the brightness of white fabrics by imparting a subtle blue tint that enhances their appearance. This added blue hue counteracts the yellow stains that white garments often accumulate. To achieve the best results, follow the instructions precisely to avoid any streaking caused by bluing.
Oxi Clean Powder
OxiClean is effective at restoring the whiteness of fabrics and removing stains from various surfaces while being safe for colors. OxiClean doesn’t cause yellowing, unlike chlorine bleach, making it particularly useful for white towels and sheets. It can help bring back that crisp, bright white look to your laundry. To use it, simply add OxiClean powder to your laundry and wash as usual. Allowing more stubborn stains to sit for a couple of hours before washing can provide even better results.
Soak Your Clothes
There are times when a traditional soaking method can work wonders for your clothes. Simply load your garments into the washing machine and use an enzyme-rich detergent that effectively breaks down fats, oils, and protein residues. Start the washing machine on a soak cycle or turn it on briefly to let the water fill the drum, then turn it off to allow the clothes to soak. This simple process can help freshen and cleanse your clothing effectively.
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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.