How to Keep White Undershirts White?

Updated on December 27, 2011
M.A. asks from South Jordan, UT
12 answers

My husband wears his white undershirts every day and we have to replace them at least once a year because they get grungy looking so quickly! They are 85% polyester and 15% cotton. We have a front load washing machine and I wash them in hot water in our "whitest whites" 2 hour washing cycle. I only use bleach sometimes because it hasn't seemed to make a difference in the past. How do you mamas keep white shirts white? Thank you!

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answers from Norfolk on

I agree with you regarding the bleach. I think bleach (more often than not) makes clothes look worse rather than better. It also eats away at the fabric and makes it thin and flimsy.

I'm going to try the vinegar suggestion! Thank you!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Vinegar helps. :)
I assume you are referring to the stains in the pits? That is from the chemical reaction associated with the antiperspirant/deodorant. Vinegar can help with that. If you are referring to just general staining or grunginess, then maybe swap to a Tshirt with a higher percentage cotton. My husband's are 100% cotton and the only staining his have are where he spills things on them before they get washed, lol.



answers from Philadelphia on

try some of the tide products like the tide boost or even oxy clean.. they are less abbrasve than bleach.



answers from Denver on

I recently heard about a product called "White Bright" (found near the laundry detergent) and it is supposed to work. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to soon. I never use bleach because we are on a septic system and it destroys the good bacteria. And it is also very hard on fabric and is a known carcinogen.

My mom has always sworn by adding liquid water softener such as Calgon water softener (found near the laundry detergent) helps when you have alot of minerals in your water (iron) to prevent your clothes from picking up the color from the minerals. She also used Rit Color remover on white sports uniforms to keep them white...this was 50 years ago. These days, Rit has a "white wash" laundry booster for whites.

You can also use peroxide. There are many "recipes" for homemade oxyclean using peroxide and baking soda.

Just found this on Pinterest...don't know if it works for the entire load but supposedly works for "pit" stains. Cheap and worth a try at least.


answers from Houston on

100% cotton t-shirts are good for about 6-9 months if worn as an undershirt everyday. No matter how you wash them. And since you can buy a pack of 6 at Walmart for around $7.00....... that's the way we go.


answers from Minneapolis on

Vinegar and blueing. I used this on my husbands because he yellows his up with sweat. He doesnt like the look if he is wearing white work shirts.



answers from Baton Rouge on

If they're undershirts, does it really matter if they're white? Who's going to see them?



answers from Provo on

When I have used bleach in the past, it just seems to accelerate the grunginess on the cycles you don't use it. I use it for all my whites and they stay white for a long time -- whether I wash in cold or hot.



answers from Seattle on

Are your percents backwards, perhaps? I've yet to come across undershirts with that ratio. Technical fabric (at like $40-$80 a pop, yes, but those have to be washed with Tek-Wash).

My dad has white undershirts well over a decade old, some that are honest to god from the 80's (navy req white undershirts). I did time in the laundry room as a kid, and here's my mum's rules. I've followed them in my own house:

- Never wash with any other color, ever. Whites washed with Whites, only
- Wash on Hot
- Tide Detergent
- Bleach

My son will occasionally throw his whites in with other colors, and white just absorbs other colors. It's subtle at first, but they pick up either a bluish, greyish, or yellowish tinge. Wgen that happens, only colorsafe bleach poured straight on has helped them.

it's weird, but color safe bleach removes colors that have bled IF they haven't been dried too many times. We use regular bleach (each and every load) for whites loads.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I wash in hot water with a good quality soap and always use bleach. I have very white whites. Maybe your water is hard and the minerals are building up in the fabric.



answers from Great Falls on

Baking soda and/or Borax with vinegar!



answers from Amarillo on

Perhaps you can add the Oxi-Clean to your detergent and hot water.

I have a soap that I buy exclusively for whites that keeps them white. I am from the old school of separate by color and use the correct water temp.

Vinegar distilled will help.

The other S.

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