25 answers

How Do I Get My Whites White Again?

Does anyone have a good formula/product/whatever for getting and keeping whites white? I have been noticing that all of my white laundry looks so dingy. I've been using laundry boosters like Biz and such, but it doesn't seem to be working. I also recently tried a lttle bleach, but the already dingy whites don't look much better. Am I doing something wrong? I need a quick and easy solution that will not bee too rough on the skin. Thanks in advance for your help.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone for your great suggestions. I plan on giving most of the ideas a try. So far I soaked some things in clorox prior to washing them. Those items seemed a bit whiter. One of my especially dingy shirts (that I happen to love)seemed whiter, but by no means as good as new. I am also in the process of soaking some other items in the Oxyclean. If this works it may be a better alternative to the bleach over the long run because it is not supposed to be as damaging to the textiles. Since it is nice out, I may dry them all in the sun as well. I am interested in trying the dish detergent---maybe on my next round of whites!

Featured Answers

Line dry in the sun!


We use Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing. Non Toxic, Bio-Degradable and has been around since 1883. Little small plastic blue bottle. Low eco impact.


My sister lives in Friedens Pa and I was told that the water there contains a lot of rust and that they take all they're whites to a laundry room. She has tried several methods with all sorts of product and nothing seems to work. She always uses a scoop of oxy clean in all her laundry but nothing can make her whites "white." Hope this helps. Good Luck

More Answers

Use one cup of automatic dishwasher detergent like electrosol or cascade to your whites when you start your wash. Let them soak in it for a while then proceed to wash through all of the wash cycles. My sons played football when they were little. Their white uniform pants were made of a material that you could not bleach. Their coach told me to use this method to get out the grass stains and all the rest of the dirt by using this trick and it really works.

Line dry in the sun!


We use Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing. Non Toxic, Bio-Degradable and has been around since 1883. Little small plastic blue bottle. Low eco impact.


According to Martha Stewart, once the "factory installed" optical brighteners wash out of a garment, there is really nothing you can do to restore them to their factory finish. :-) I use bleach for sheets and towels, but I second the oxy clean idea-- you can let them soak in oxy clean for a long time without harming them. Also, I use blueing (like the old ladies used to use in their hair) to brighten things up-- I use Mrs. Stewarts, but I think they are all pretty much the same. Just follow the directions about diluting! You can get it at Giant Eagle.

Have you tried using bluing? There's a product called Mrs. Stewart's Bluing which you add to your rinse cycle and it creates a whiter shadea white. Check out their website at www.mrsstewart.com and they explain how white fabric isn't white, it's gray or yellowish, and manyfacturers "blue" it to provide that vibrant white we see, but you need to put the blue hue back into it.

It's also good for making salt crystal gardens!


I absolutely hate using bleach. I find it hard on the skin, and the smell... ugh!

I have been using a natural alternative to all my household cleaning and personal care needs. I get them from this company I work from home with. We have a great stain product that can help you get your whites white again, and a color safe product to put in your laundry to keep the whites white and colors colored. These are absolutely the best products I have found. I would say that even if I wasnt working with them and just strictly a customer! They are not harsh on your skin, they are naturally made, non-toxic, and eco friendly. Super safe, so even if my kids should happen to get into the cleaning products (or any others) and accidentally ingest them, they would be fine and I wouldnt have to rush them to the ER. My son has actualy gotten into and eaten some of the acne products I had from this company and he never even got an upset tummy from it! Id love to tell you more about these products, as well as our other 400+ products in our lines if you'd like. Just let me know!

D. L.

My sister lives in Friedens Pa and I was told that the water there contains a lot of rust and that they take all they're whites to a laundry room. She has tried several methods with all sorts of product and nothing seems to work. She always uses a scoop of oxy clean in all her laundry but nothing can make her whites "white." Hope this helps. Good Luck

Try out Shaklee's laundry detergent and laundry boosters, they work wonderful and are safe for the family and the environment. I have four kids and my toddler messes his clothes terribly and they work great for me. I have family telling me they can't believe I let him wear white shirts when we have picnics but I never have much of a problem keeping them white. Go to http://www.shaklee.net/dudinyak/product/00066 to look at the laundry detergent and to http://www.shaklee.net/dudinyak/product/00305 to look at the nature bright. All of the cleaning and laundry products are very concentrated so you only use small amounts so in the long run they are priced comparable to other brands, even less.

Put your whites outside on a really sunny day....even takes out the stains!

there is a product called 'blue' or something blue.

totally works. even on armpit yellow!

I haven't read all of your responses so maybe this was mentioned already... but have you thought about the cause of your problem may be the minerals in the water or something leeching from your pipes? maybe the rinse cycle is actually causing the dinginess after the laudry products do their job. just a thought.
If you try hot-hot water and oxyclean, usually you get great results (especially if the water if boiling.) Just make certain not to do the process in a colored plastic container. Good luck!

There is a remarkable product you can use, and it's guaranteed to work. To learn more and/or to order the liquid laundry HE compatible go to http://www.shaklee.net/giftsfromnature/product/00300. If you want to soak your clothes, Nature Bright Laundry Booster & Stain Remover works wonders. To order go to http://www.shaklee.net/giftsfromnature/product/00305.
Remember, you receive a 10% rebate on your first order with us. You can also contact me from the web site if you have questions.
Thanks in advance.

I'm not sure how true this is, but I've heard that manufacturers put something in white clothing that really whitens and brightens it, but then it slowly washes out over time. I don't like using bleach on my whites because often times I have printed white shirts that get faded out when I use bleach. Have you tried OxiClean?

Have you tried Borax? My sister swears by it for making whites whiter.

SUN. I cloth diaper and this is how I get all poop and pee stains out of the diapers. And they are glowing white to this day (and that's with breastfeeding explosion poo diapers!) :D

You can hang them in the sun or if you're too shy to do that, you can just lay them out on the grass in your backyard.

The sun bleaches the stains and the dingy grey right out. It might not get them glowing white in the first sunning, but each subsequent sunning will only get them whiter.

The sun is a miraculous fiery ball of bleach-y goodness :D

I'd probably increase the bleach and consider doing a soak or two in bleach water (for short periods of time like 5-10 minutes) in the washer. I also like Oxy Clean, but I'm not sure it works any better than any other boosters, but it's worth trying.

Hi M., When I notice that my whites (like towels and t-shirts) are starting to get dingy I just bleach them really well. It also helps if you can hang them to dry in the sun, the sun is a natural bleacher as well. I usually only have to bleach my whites once every couple of months. I am very carefull about not doing it too often because bleach is hard on any and all textiles (Never bleach bras it kills elastic as well!) For stains on whites and colors I always use shout gel, you can treat the item when you take it off and you don't have to wash the item right away (in fact it works better if you leave it for a couple of days). I have found that it works on just about everything from old formula stains to black grease. Its really great on spegetti, taco and juice stains! Good luck!

Here's what I do when I notice that a white item has become dingy and/or gray-looking: Pitch it out and replace it! LOL
Seriously, you could try OXY-clean. Also, my mother swears by Original Dawn Dish liquid for everything!
Personally, I have not had much success trying to bleach loads of whites. It seems like it should be a no-brainer but it doesn't really work for me either.

I have tried dishwashing detergent (for the automatic dishwasher). I do not do it on a regular basis but probably should to keep the whites white.

That happened to me too. I use clorox ultimate care bleach it is gentle and it does nit irritate our skin ( we have some sensitive skin in our home) it took me a coupel washes to notice it but after something was in the laundry 2-3 times it was white, you might get results quicker if you wash in hot water. the things i did i was afraid to use hot on so i did in cold.

I've heard laying them in the sun is great. It bleaches them white again. Also Oxyclean, soak them in HOT water and a fair amount of oxyclean for a full day... that's what I do and it works great. good luck!
My experience is that bleach really wears down the fibers of my cottons... and makes their life much shorter.

If you have hard water, add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to your rinse water. Another add-in for whiter whites is to add 1/2 cup of borax to wash cycle. And there's the old-fashioned "natural" whitener - the sun.

Here is a "Stain Out" solution found in one of the Tightwad Gazette books, by Amy Dacyczyn - it also works to whiten.

Stain Out
1 c. powdered Cascade (automatic dishwasher detergent)
1 c. Clorox II
Add to 5 gallons of the hottest tap water. Soak overnight. Use for color-fast articles ONLY.

I've also read where just using the Cascade and hot water soak will remove the dingy gray hardwater mineral deposits from white clothes.

Put oxi clean and clorox bleach in the load. It should brighten white significantly.

I use heavy bleach for a while until they brighten up, and then a regular amount with every load afterward.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

I used to be an avid bleacher.. like, so much that all you smelled through the house was clorox when I did whites. As I started to slowly get myself out of using products that were harmful for myself and my family... I found a product called Melabrite. It works soooo good! And I especially love that if the kids should happen to get ahold of it, it's ok. It's made from all natural products!

It made my husbands socks look almost new again! I love it!

Use about a cup of bleach, wash in hot water, and put some liquid softener in the rinse cycle. That's the only thing that worked for my whites.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.