Home Remedies for White Clothes

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white clothes remedies

A splatter of cooking grease. Spilled grape juice. A dusty smudge. It seems that white clothes are magnets for stains. Also, the more you wash white clothing, the duller and dingier the material seems to become. To keep your wardrobe crisp and bright, consider using home remedies for white clothes before sinking your hard earned cash into the latest stain-fighting product.

Common Issues with White Clothing

White clothes lose their fresh appearance with every wear, wash, and fold into the drawer. One of the biggest issues with this type of clothing is a dingy or dull appearance. Stains are another concern with food spills topping the list for biggest threats. White clothing also often falls victim to perspiration stains and other spots, such as lipstick smudges, dirt, and dust. Unpleasant odors, such as cigarette smoke, can also tarnish the quality of white clothing.

White Clothing Home Remedies

It’s not uncommon to rely on bleach to whiten clothing, but there are a few setbacks to consider. For starters, bleach isn’t the healthiest product to have in your home. It poses a threat to children and pets. Also, the chemicals found in bleach start to break down the fibers in your clothing faster than other cleaning methods. Before you reach for the bleach and other grocery store products, consider the following home remedies for white clothing:

a) Baking Soda:

If you want to increase the fresh scent of your white clothing, sprinkle a bit of baking soda while they sit in the hamper or laundry bag. For brighter whites, add one cup of baking soda to your wash.

b) Baking Soda and Warm Water:

To remove perspiration stains on white clothing, pretreat with a paste made out of four tablespoons baking soda and ¼ cup of warm water. Rub the paste into white shirts for minor stains, or leave on for two hours before washing on hard-to-treat stains. To treat stains on white collars, rub in the paste with a bit of added vinegar just before placing in the wash.

c) Ivory Soap:

Treat an isolated stain on white clothing by rubbing a clean bar of white soap (like Ivory) into the spot. You may use a nail brush to work the fibers, but sometimes, you can focus on the stain by gently using your fingernail. Rinse with cool water.

d) Boiling Water:

Treat a fresh tea or coffee stain by immediately pouring boiling water over the stain until it disappears.

e) Borax:

An old favorite amongst households is Borax, which can treat a stain when soaked in water. Wash the garment as usual. If the stain is old, make a paste out of Borax and water. Leave on for 15 minutes, and then wash as usual.


f) Wash Whites Together:

How many times have you tossed a few whites in with colors during a wash? Point blank, washing whites with darker colors will decrease their brightness. No matter how tempting – wash only whites together.

g) Lemon Juice:

To remove rust and discoloration caused by minerals from white cotton T-shirts and underwear, add one cup lemon juice to your washer during the wash cycle. Lemons contain a natural bleaching agent that can treat stains, as well as leave clothing smelling fresh [1]. Some people have brightened their white socks by placing in a saucepan of boiling water with a few slice of lemon.

h) Rubbing Alcohol:

To remove grass stains, treat by dabbing on rubbing alcohol.

i) Hydrogen Peroxide:

Before washing, apply diluted hydrogen peroxide to white clothing stained with grass.

j) Vinegar:

Add vinegar to a wash to brighten up white clothing. One cup of white distilled vinegar added to the rinse cycle should be enough. You can also treat white cloth diapers with one cup of vinegar added to a wash to eliminate harmful bacteria.

k) Mouthwash:

The bacteria and fungi found on white gym socks causes unpleasant smells that tend to linger. When washing, add one cup of a sugarless, alcohol-based mouthwash to the regular wash cycle.

l) Baby Wipes:

Some say that you can remove stains from white clothing by using a baby wipe.

m) Salt:

To remove a fruit stain, sprinkle a small amount of salt on the garment. Rinse in cold water, and then wash in warm water with liquid detergent. If the stain lingers, apply a bit of hydrogen peroxide.

n) Salt and Cream of Tarter:

To remove rust from white clothing, try mixing equal amounts of salt and cream of tartar. Lay out your garment on a flat surface and on top of a towel. Spread the remedy out on the rust stain, and place the clothing in the sun to dry. If the rust stain is lifted, wash as usual, but if it proves stubborn, repeat the process.

o) Dishwashing Detergent:

Some people will soak their white clothing in dishwashing detergent before washing. Others will place liquid dishwashing detergent on a stain, and let it stand for ten minutes before a wash.

p) A Clothesline:

Hanging your white clothing on a line outside to dry in the sun can contribute to the natural bleaching of clothes.

q) Disposable Razor:

When pilling occurs on a white garment, use a disposable razor to gently shave the unwanted blemishes. A substitute for this home remedy is a pumice stone.

r) White-Wall Cleaner:

To whiten the rubber soles on your shoes, consider using the same treatment designed for car tires – white-wall cleaner.



[1] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 200.