A pile of white linens

6 Ways To Get White Clothes White Again in the Washer & Dryer

Everyone has their tips and tricks for getting the most out of a load of laundry. Some solutions call for at-home solutions; family secrets passed down through generations. Others require tried-and-true products you can buy at the store. 

At Fresh Wave, we prefer a more scientific approach for solving those everyday frustrations like odors from sweaty clothes, pets, and even other household cleaning products like the smell of bleach. That’s why, when it comes to getting whites whiter in the wash, we offer these solutions, backed by science, to restore your favorite white clothes.

How to Get White Clothes White Again

  1. Use Detergent Sparingly
  2. Get Stains Out of White Clothes
  3. Try Lemon Juice or a “Bluing” Agent
  4. Dry on Low Heat
  5. Separate Your Laundry
  6. Air Dry in the Sun

How to Get White Clothes White Again in the Washer

1. Use Detergent Sparingly

It may seem contradictory, but detergent can actually be a detriment to cleanliness in the wash. What many people don’t realize is detergent can actually coat clothing when it’s used too heavily. A typical load of laundry actually requires a lot less detergent to get clothes cleaner (and whiter) than you might think.

For standard machines that produce about 40 gallons of water per load, you really only need about two tablespoons or ⅛ cup of detergent to efficiently clean your clothes. For high-efficiency washers, even less is required, only about two teaspoons.

Finding the sweet spot of detergent will preserve your clothing’s fabric, make your clothes feel cleaner, and even get whites whiter.

2. Get Stains Out of White Clothes

Your whites will look brighter if they’re free of any stains and discoloration. It’s amazing how easy it is to stain your favorite white garments. It seems, no matter how careful you are, something always discolors that beloved, classic white shirt you’re always too afraid to wear.

Not only will getting stains out of white clothes help your whites look brighter and cleaner, it’ll give you the practice you need to tackle those stain situations in the future that always made you too afraid to wear your favorite white clothes in the past.

The universal rule for getting rid of stains is to soak them. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, like in the instance of cleaning pet pee out of a rug, but soaking is a great way to assist any stain-fighting efforts in the wash. Start by creating a paste with vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar is an acetic acid that will break up the stain while the baking soda works to lift it out of the fabric. 

Scrub the equal parts solution gently into the stain and allow it to soak overnight. When you’re ready to wash, make sure to brush off any remaining baking soda with a gentle brush, and add it to your next load of laundry. With any luck, your stains should lift and your clothes will look whiter once they come out of the wash.  

3. Try Lemon Juice or a "Bluing" Agent

While we like our science here at Fresh Wave, we never knock simple solutions. Many people will turn to bleach to resuscitate dull whites, but bleach can only be used on cotton fabrics. As an alternative to bleach, lemon juice also has natural bleaching properties thanks to the citric acid, and it’s safe to use, in small doses, on even your most delicate garments.

To use lemon juice to get clothes white again, add ½ cup to your washer and add in your clothes. It will take about 2-3 lemons to yield half a cup, but the effort is well worth it if you’re trying to gently whiten delicate clothing.

Additionally, you can counter discoloration by adding a “bluing” agent to the wash. Products with a trace of blue, like Mrs. Stewart’s Concentrated Liquid Bluing, will make white clothing look whiter by countering any yellowing. However unlike lemon juice, it’s very important to use bluing agents as instructed on the product’s packaging as it can cause discoloration.

How to Get Clothes White Again in the Dryer

1. Dry on Low Heat

If you’re all set with ways to whiten your clothes in the washing machine, you might also want to try some dryer techniques for getting clothes white again. Every fabric has different care requirements. White fabric in particular is sensitive to heat and prolonged exposure too high temperatures in the dryer can actually singe fabric and cause it to turn yellow.

The next time you’re drying whites, try placing your dryer on a lower heat setting and remove your clothes before they completely dry. This will help reduce exposure to hot temperatures and keep your whites looking their best.

2. Separate Your Laundry

Separating your clothes is perhaps the most widely known rule of thumb when it comes to protecting your clothing in the wash. According to cleaning experts, even the lightest colored dyes can transfer onto white clothing in the washer and the dryer.

In order to truly keep your whites white or to get white clothes white again, it’s imperative to separate them from clothing with dyes—no exceptions. Separating your laundry will keep discoloration from occurring and it will also allow you to follow the right drying and washing guidelines when you group like colors and materials together.

3. Air Dry in the Sun

Finally, one of the best ways to get clothes white again is to dry them in the sun. The sun will naturally remove stains and return white clothes to their rightful brilliance. Better yet, it’s almost a set-and-forget solution for brightening whites.

The next time you wash and dry your (separated) white clothes, remove them from the dryer while they’re still slightly damp and find a sunny spot by a window or outside. Lay your garments as flat as possible so there’s no overlapping, or, hang them on a line in the sun. 

The key to whitening clothes in the sun is even exposure; If you opted to lay your clothing flat, you may want to turn them over after an hour. Otherwise, allow your clothing to dry fully in the sun for two to three hours and neatly put them away.

Fight Odors in Your White Clothes

Your white clothing will never be as fresh as it could be if it smells dingy, too. Fight odors in the washing machine with Fresh Wave Laundry Booster. Simply pour two to four capfuls into your laundry machine during the wash or rinse cycle and eliminate lingering odors from sweat, food, and grime. 

Our scientific approach to fighting odor includes using plant oils and natural extracts to absorb smells wherever they occur. Safe and easy to use, Fresh Wave is free of fake fragrances.

For more ideas like these and interesting ways to use Fresh Wave around the house, check out our tips where to use, and try out Fresh Wave’s line of odor eliminating products! Let us make a difference in your home today.