Closet Cue: How do you keep whites, white? 

Similar to snow in the city, our white garments do not remain white. Is there a way to restore them to their former glory, or are we destined to embrace the dingy grey that was once bright? Of course not. For this week’s Closet Cue, we offer some favorite tips on making those whites, white once more. 


The use of bleach is possible, however, it is not our first recommendation. The chlorine and oxygen found in common bleaches is harmful to the fibers in our garments, and will lead to weakness in the fabric. This results in rips, tears, and fraying, and can sometimes cause yellowing. When using bleach, we recommend using half of the instructed amount, and supplementing the other portion with baking soda. 


For whitening alternatives, consider implementing lemon juice, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide. All of these present gentle brightening qualities unlike their counterpart, bleach. See chart below for instructions. 

  • When using lemon juice — add 1 cup along with regular detergent and use only on white loads
  • When using baking soda — add a 1/2 cup along with regular detergent 
  • When using hydrogen peroxide — add a 1/2 cup along with regular detergent


Good Practice Tips:

  • When washing laundry, always separate your whites, darks, & colors, and remember that most materials wash best in cold or warm rinses. Use hot water only for sturdy cottons like towels and sheets.  
  • When drying whites, skip the dryer and let mother nature do it’s best with natural sunshine when possible
  • Stubborn stains can be helped with white dye from your local art or craft store
  • Remove your clothing promptly from your machine when the wash cycle finishes in order to prevent mildew 
  • Leave the washer door open and allow your washer to dry when not in use 
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