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a stack of white towels and white clothes on a clothesline

Have you ever noticed the spot on your favorite white shirt? It’s not a stain, but instead it’s caused by something called “fading.” Fading is simply a discoloration of a fabric. The culprit can be anything from color bleeding from other items in the washing machine to sun exposure or even heat from pressing with an iron. Whatever causes your clothes to become more yellowish than they used to be, there are ways to prevent it and whiten them back up again!

Separate whites from other colors.

Keeping your white clothes white can be tricky, but it’s not impossible.

  • To keep whites bright and pure, separate them from other colors when you’re washing them. This means moving your whites to the top rack of the washer or placing them in a separate load.
  • Don’t use bleach on your white clothes unless they have already turned grey or yellowed from age or wear. Bleach will remove color from any fabric it touches, so if you accidentally put a dark-colored item in with the whites (say, an undershirt), it could end up looking dingy after washing. Also avoid using fabric softener on whites because this product is designed to leave behind a protective coating on fabrics that will mask their natural brightness by giving off a shine when light hits it—which isn’t what you want for crisp-looking white clothing!
  • When adding detergent to wash loads containing only light colors and/or permanent press garments (including cotton knits), use half as much as directed on the packaging instructions printed by each manufacturer; this will help prevent overloading pockets within each load with too much sudsing action going on inside.”

Wash your whites in warm water.

With the exception of any items that are dry clean only, you can wash your whites in warm water. Warm water is gentler on white clothes and also better for the environment. As you may have noticed, when you put your whites in cold water they will become grey after being washed. This happens because cold water causes a chemical reaction called oxidation. The longer your whites are exposed to this reaction, the greyer they get. Washing in warm water prevents this from happening by not allowing for oxidation to happen as quickly as it would with cold or hot water

Let your clothes soak in baking soda and water.

  • Mix baking soda with enough water to make a paste. The amount of baking soda depends on how much clothing you’re treating, but it’s generally around ½ cup of baking soda per gallon of water.
  • Put your clothes in the sink or bathtub and add the mixture until it’s about half full (or whatever will cover all the clothing).
  • Let the clothes soak for at least an hour, then rinse well in cold water (warm or hot will set any stains!)
  • Wash as normal after rinsing

Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide.

Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your wash cycle. You can also add it to the rinse cycle. Hydrogen peroxide will help get rid of stains and keep your clothes bright white.

Soak them in lemon juice for an hour.

Soak your white clothes in lemon juice for an hour, then rinse thoroughly. This tip is not recommended if you’re washing either silk or wool, because it can damage those fibers. Once they’re dry, put them in the sun to help set the bright color.

This method works best on cotton and other natural fabrics that will absorb lemon juice easily, but also make sure to test it on a hidden part of the garment first before using it on the entire piece. It works well for whites that have lightened over time due to frequent washing (or even just one time!) and sun exposure—it’ll bring their true colors back!

Use special stain remover on heavy stains.

For white or light-colored fabrics, you can use the same stain remover as you would for any other fabric. But for dark or colored garments, it’s important to make sure that the stain remover is designed specifically for those materials. The concentrated powder cleaner we recommend below is safe on all kinds of clothes—including whites and bright colors—but don’t put it on black clothing unless you want to get rid of your favorite pair of pants!

  • Make a paste out of 1 part water and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide by using an old brush or sponge. Apply carefully with your fingers until the paste has soaked into the spot well enough that no more liquid will come out when rubbed against it; then let dry completely before washing as usual in warm water with mild detergent (like our recommended Tide).
  • If there’s still some color left behind after washing your garment normally, resorting again to making a paste from 1 part water and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide should do the trick!

There are many ways to brighten white fabrics, and it’s good to know them all

If you’re looking to keep your whites looking like new, there are several different methods you can use. All of them will help to brighten the whites of your clothes and make them look great.

  • Wash in warm water. Washing your clothes in warm water will remove dirt and stains faster than cold water does, so it’s important not to use hot or cold water for these items.
  • Separate from colored clothing. If you mix white clothing with colored clothing, then the dyes from the other fabrics will bleed onto your whites and make them appear greyer over time. This is especially true with towels since they tend to absorb color more quickly than other types of fabric do!
  • White vinegar in wash cycle: Add 1 cup of white vinegar (or less) into the front loader before adding detergent/soap powder/etc., along with any other items needing washing at this time (e.g., towels). This helps prevent yellowing because it works as bleach but doesn’t contain chlorine bleaching agents that cause fading after repeated uses (like Clorox). Do not add more than 1 cup vinegar per load though — otherwise it might damage some fabrics such as silk or rayon fibers made from cotton linters which are often used when manufacturing bathrobes because they’re inexpensive compared with pure silk ones made from cocoons harvested by hand every year.”


We hope that these tips have been helpful to you. While white clothes can be a pain in the neck, they are also a great way to brighten up your wardrobe. If you’re looking for more ways to keep your whites bright, don’t hesitate to try some of these other methods too!