Share Crafts

Solutions for Dingy Clothing

Dingy Clothing on a Clothing Line

Dingy clothing is a common complaint and one that can often be resolved. This is a guide about solutions for dingy clothing.



Here are questions related to Solutions for Dingy Clothing.

Question: Whites and Light Colored Clothing is Dingy After Washing

I have a Bosch front loader (about 5 years) and recently most of my whites and light colored shirts are coming out dingy and with stains under the arms. I have tried using less detergent, more detergent, pre-wash solutions, baking soda paste, just about everything and they still come out with the stains. Is there a filter or something in this thing? The manual doesn't say anything about it. I do have three dogs that shed a lot and I wash their bedding in it. Possibly something is clogged? Help!

By RKS from Grants Pass, OR

AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


Most Recent Answer

By Patt 3 25 06/05/2011

I had a front loader for years and loved it. The causes of some problems may be
1. Putting too many clothes in at a time. I had a friend with a top loader and wondered why her clothes were grey only to watch her cram it full of clothes. It is like taking something really dirty and trying to wash it in 1 cup of water...
2. You may have a build up of detergent. To check it wash a load of clothes with nothing in the water and check the window for suds.
3. I always use a second rinse and vinegar in the rinse cycle.
4. If you get too many suds generously pour vinegar in to cut the suds. Then rinse again. I never had problems with dingy clothes especially because I use a double rinse and vinegar

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Question: Brightening Up Dingy Laundry

I washed a yellow t-shirt in cold water with dark colors. It is now looking a little dingy. I was wondering if there is a way to get it back to it's original brighter color.

By Doug from Pompano Beach, FL

AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


Most Recent Answer

By Amy3e 1 89 04/24/2010

Clorox all fabric bleach is another good alternative. Dry in the sun. Should be good as new. Make sure you don't use the regular clorox bleach. Use the one that is safe for colors.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Question: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

I moved and the washer I am using is leaving my colored clothes dingy, I can't get them clean. I read to use Iron Out on whites. Can you also use it on colored clothes? What would be best for soaking my colored clothes? They are mostly my 4 year old daughter's clothes.

Cass from KS

AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

Most Recent Answer

By Louise B. 6 2,520 02/12/2009

Since your problem is a washer that is not working properly, I would just try washing as usual when you get a new washer or have this one fixed. It may be that they come clean with a good wash cycle.

If not, try one of the many things suggested until you find one that works. I would start with the baking soda, maybe Borax if that didn't work. good luck.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Question: Cleaning Dingy Towels

I have some off-white hand towels that while they are still in great shape, have gotten dingy looking over time. I was ready to throw them out because even straight bleach (as well as other cleaners) didn't seem to make them look clean again.

However, I decided to try a combination of Soft Scrub with bleach, Clorox bleach pen, and Vivid. I put all three products on the problem area and used a little scrubber brush to work it into the fabric, I let the towel sit overnight and then washed it.

On the worst towel, I had to do this several times but it now looks like new! I love the towels and now I don't have to buy new ones to replace them.

By Carol from Iowa

AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

Most Recent Answer

By Laura 154 01/25/2010

Oxyclean is all I use on my dish towels and they are bright white all the time. Even the blue and green ones are bright. Just make sure you use really good hot water and then I let them soak for a while then through in the detergent and the rest of the towels. They all come out beautiful.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Question: Dingy Wash

I noticed after several years our towels and wash cloths are more than dingy. I've washed in hot and cold water, no change. I guess after electric dyer the stains are set in.
Is there a remedy for this?

By Lee M. from Magnolia, AR

AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

Question: Brightening a Man's White Suit Jacket

I have a man's suit jacket that is now a dingy white (with rhinestones on the collar), and I am wondering what the best approach to whitening it is?

By Heather W.

AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

Question: Whitening Dingy White Clothing

Everything, white sweaters, blouses, etc. becomes dingy.This happens even though I wash whites only loads. What can I do to whiten them again?

By Phyllis from Newark, NJ

AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

Solutions: Solutions for Dingy Clothing

Do you have knowledge about this guide topic? Feel free to share a solution!


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

Why do my clothes get dingy-yellow-brown-like after I wash them? Granted, I have washed them many times, but it looks like I have washed some of my clothes in dirt! Even whites. Even though I use tons of bleach. Please help!

Erin in TN

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

Do you have well water? Maybe some harsh stormy weather? Do you live in an area that has red clay? You might want to test your water with a kit. (01/13/2005)

By homeschoolin_mum

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

We have something called "iron bacteria" in our water (district water not private well). If I use liquid chlorine bleach it reacts with the iron bacteria and turns my whites beige, sometimes ORANGE! I now use a non-chlorine bleach. Maybe you have a similar situation with your water. The packets of product put out by Rit dye to whiten "dingy" whites did help get my things "white" again. Hope this helps! (01/13/2005)

By Grandma Margie

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

"Heavy" water or water that is rich in minerals can cause dinginess. Also, using too much bleach can lead to a yellowing or dinging of clothing. (01/13/2005)

By Heather

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

We had problems with red water in the city where i live and they gave us some kind of powder to get it out. Check with the city, as this seemed to be a well kept secret for us. (01/14/2005)

By Jeanie

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

I had this same problem and when I started to learn to be Frugal I noticed that many of the lists I joined said to use Borax in the wash as it was inexpensive and did a great job. Well let me tell you I would never ever be without borax again. All my whites are WHITE and I do not use bleach. 20 mule team borax is in a green box in the grocery isle. Wal mart price this week for a good sized box was $2.67. Hope this helps. By the way it also makes a good hand cleaner and is what they use at the garage where my husband works as a mechanic. (01/15/2005)

By Lisa Pfusch

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

I think my mom told me once that if you use bleach and it doesn't get rinsed out completely, it can leave a yellow stain. Maybe the "tons" of bleach you are using is not getting rinsed out completely. (01/15/2005)

By Allison

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

You may be using too much bleach which can actually cause yellowing. Your water may have mineral deposits, etc., that contribute. Wash your clothes in as warm water with your usual detergent but add 1 cup borax (I use 20 Mule Team Borax sold at KMart and Kroger). Follow up with 1 cup of vinegar added to the rinse cycle. I also have had extremely good luck with using Simple Green (available at Home Depot). I've used it on every fabric except silk and dry clean only. You will be amazed at the stains it removes. (It's especially good for baby stains and those unidentifabale husband working outside stains.) It may take a few times for the yellowing to go away, but it should eventually.

Also, have your washer checked if it continues. I don't know why or how, but older washers sometimes have rust deposits that come in with the water. I do know that it usually means the washer has to be replaced. (01/15/2005)

By Christine

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

It's probably not your fault. If you are on a water system the pipes may need to be flushed occasionally. Our township fire department schedules flushing the system numerous time thru out the year, where they come and open the fire hydrants in the area to flush the rust and mineral deposits from the system. Contact your water supplier and see if they do this, maybe they do, but need to do it more often, and if not than a complaint may get them to do it. Good Luck (01/15/2005)

By Ruth Justice

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

If you are using hot water, your hot water tank may need flushed out. (01/16/2005)

By jeangnome46

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

Most detergents require warmer water to yield best results. Also, I have a new washer and still get the rust stains so it isn't the washer that causes the problem. It's the water source or something in the pipes as others have suggested.

I often use a product called "Yellow Out". You can get it at Wal-Mart next to the Mr. Plumber-type stuff. I have used it mostly on whites and it will work on some colors. It also gets rid of rust stains.

I have also found the using the "oxygen" stain removers makes this problem worse. Bleach is o.k. but don't use it on every load. Over time it will cause yellowing if you have a hard water problem. (06/19/2005)


RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

I added some baking soda to a load of whites and man did they come out bright and white. I used my normal amount of detergent and just shook in some baking soda. I didn't measure it. I had heard the Borax was good and bought a box. Just haven't tried it yet but am planning to. The big box at Wal-Mart was probably 3 bucks or less. I use bleach but do feel that over time it is hard on clothes and they wear out sooner. (02/09/2006)

By Debbie52

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

At Walmart, they sell Iron-Out. We use it since we are on a well, and you can tell the difference, not just with the clothes but also the washer drum. You can also use this if your tub and area around it also turns orange. Just use ventilation, as this is some strong stuff. (02/10/2006)

By Ashley

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

As an owner of a laundry service I can tell you that your problem is most likely the bleach. Discontinue it for a bit and only use the borax and vinegar suggestions until your clothes are white again. They may at the point of no return though. (02/11/2006)

By Andre

RE: Why Is My Laundry Dingy?

I have to agree with the "Iron out" solution. I started using it and even my oldest white undershirts look new again. Lowes and Tractor Supply carries it in the section that they keep Drano and liquid Plumber. It is well worth the price and a bottle lasts a long time. (01/23/2007)

By Greg1796

Archive: Dingy Towels

I recently bought beige towels and wash cloths for my main bathroom. My problem is; after just a few uses and washings the wash cloths are becoming VERY dingy. I would appreciate any suggestions as to how to brighten them back up again. They were so beautiful, I didn't think of practicality... OOPS!

Judy from Birmingham, AL

RE: Dingy Towels

Same in Rifle CO. So, I did what Mom did - plain white vinegar in rinse water. Wash the dingy towels in hot water, any temp rinse water and 1 cup + a good slosh of vinegar. It worked for my G.I family all over post WWII Europe in 1950-59. Luck (08/13/2006)

By JK Finnell

RE: Dingy Towels

I add borax and it seems to give everything a lift. (08/15/2006)

By mef1957