Brighten up your whites
From a simple white tennis tee, to a smart tailored shirt for the office, to crisp, fresh bedding and towels, there’s nothing like classic white fabric. And though whites are prone to discolouration and yellowing, with a few simple tricks you can easily restore them to their former glory, and keep them bright and pristine for years to come.
#1: spot treat
Pre-treat stains by diluting a little detergent in cool water with a clean cloth in a dabbing motion. Act fast - otherwise the stain will set, making it harder to remove.
#2: wash separately
Wash your whites separately to prevent colour bleeding. It goes without saying, but washing darks and lights together are a recipe for dingy whites.
#3: don’t overload
Give your whites space for a full spin by leaving your machine half full. Otherwise the water won’t be able to properly rinse away the dirt and grime, leaving your fabrics dull.
#4: avoid bleach
Stay clear of detergents containing bleaching agents. They’re only a short-term fix, and will blitz the life out of clothing fibres (read our post here to learn more). The same goes for detergents containing optical brighteners. They’re literally just an optical illusion, disguising rather than actually removing stains, whilst ultimately making them appear yellower.
#5: wash carefully
Choose a gentle formulation like Kair, which uses powerful plant-based ingredients to safely care for your whites rather than play tricks on them, so they can live on in full colour. Always stick to the recommended dose, as overdosing can lead to build-up, and cause grime to redeposit on your clothes, making them less white than before!
#6: wash warm
Wash whites in the warmest water recommended for the fabric (no higher than 30ºC for delicates). For heavily soiled whites, consider using a specialist wash cycle, like Heavy Duty or Whitest Whites (check out our guide to washing machine cycles if you’re not sure).
#7: use distilled white vinegar
If you’re tackling particularly tough stains, or your whites are woefully dingy, try adding a cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle to brighten them naturally. It’s a good alternative to traditional chemical bleaches, which can otherwise leave unwanted residue.
#8: dry in the sun
Direct sunlight is best for whites: ultraviolet rays are nature’s very own bleaching agent! Otherwise dry inside on a drying rack near a window or natural light source. Avoid tumble drying at all costs, as that will cause damage to the fibres. Iron or steam only on a low heat - high temperatures will leave scorch marks - or release creases with a finishing spray.
#9: store in cotton bags
When storing your whites, avoid using plastic containers (which restrict airflow and can contribute to yellowing and discolouration), and opt for cotton garment bags instead.
#10: clean your washing machine
Clean your washing machine regularly by running a hot service wash with distilled white vinegar to make sure it isn’t discolouring your whites (see our article on how to use a washing machine). If you live in a hard water area, consider investing in a water softening system, as the minerals in hard water can leave white fabrics looking dull and dingy.
With these simple tricks, you can easily white and brighten even the dullest, greyest and yellowest pieces. Your whites will be champion-tennis-player-ready in absolutely no time.
Cover image by wimbledon.com