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Whites Aren't White After Washing

Category Laundry
Distressed woman looking at white towel in laundry room
Even if you use bleach, sometimes your whites are dingy and gray after washing. This is a guide about whites not looking white after washing.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
August 8, 2010

I am using a homemade laundry powder. It works very well, except my whites are starting to look very dingy. I use a chlorine bleach and I do the whites in hot water. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Any solutions?

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By Patricia from Mountain Grove, MO

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August 8, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

My only guess is that commercial laundry detergents contain other ingredients besides soaps like optical brighteners which makes the whites look better. You could try hanging your whites out in the sun to make them whiter or maybe just use purchased detergent on your whites and use your homemade stuff on darks and colors.

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August 12, 20100 found this helpful
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Try laundry bluing. That is what people used in previous times. It should be in the laundry section of your store, and this is what it is for, to whiten your whites. 4H kids use in on the white hair on their show calves. If it works on those stains, it should work on laundry!

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August 12, 20100 found this helpful
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My 80-year old Aunt had the whitest undies and I asked her how she did it and she said baking soda.

I gave up using bleach in my whites because some whites would get yellow. I just add detergent + some baking soda and voila! Very white. For added whiteness, you can also stop the machine in mid-cycle and let the clothes soak in the baking soda for 20 mins or so. The only downside is that it takes away any nice smell from the laundry detergent since baking soda also removes smells.

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August 8, 20100 found this helpful

I recently requested help with my cloudy coffee which I still have. Now I need to know why all of my whites are a dingy yellow or brown. I use bleach, but that doesn't help. What should I do? I want my white clothing and towels back!

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kathleen48 from South Portland

Answers:

Whites Aren't White After Washing

Sounds like your pipes/or area! Contact your city's office for water and they should give you information on what is going on. Try Oxiclean on your whites, I have heard from others that may work, if it isn't your own pipes. I would contact Rainsoft or Culligan about looking in to installing a system, especially with reverse osmosis (that gets rid of any bad microbes/nitrates). (03/09/2006)

By camo_angels

Whites Aren't White After Washing

You probably need a water softener, but they are expensive and sometimes that is just out of the question, as with our family. What I use is a product called "20 Mule Team Borax" in with my laundry. It sure seems to help. Also, if there is ever a time when things come out all rusty or dingy looking, I can go to my city water department and they have a product that they will give me that will take the crud out. I do have to re-wash the items, but unfortunately, this is what comes with living in a city with extremely hard water. If ever there is only a small amount of rust on an item, all I do is use a product called Wink. It takes the rust out right before your eyes. It works great, but don't get it on your skin! Good luck. (03/10/2006)

Whites Aren't White After Washing

I don't know if you know this or not but bleach and laundry detergent don't mix when you put them in the water together. You should let your washer agitate 5 minutes with the soap before you add bleach. Just put the bleach in a container and dilute it with water before you add it to your clothes. I'm sure you will see a big difference in your whites. But adding the bleach and soap together will make your clothes dingy. I also add oxi cleaner to my clothes, and 1 cup vinegar to my rinse. Hope this helps and good luck. (03/10/2006)

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By Sheila

Whites Aren't White After Washing

Sounds like you have really hard water with a lot of calcium in it. Use a Brita water pitcher and filter for your coffee, for your wash use washing soda. It really seems to help boost your bleaching power, etc. (03/11/2006)

Whites Aren't White After Washing

I use a product called Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing and my whites come out really white. I get it at the grocery store (Kroger) on the detergent aisle, a little ways down the aisle from the detergents. You wouldn't believe it, a product that turns the water blue, makes your whites really white. (03/11/2006)

By Rubyred

Whites Aren't White After Washing

We have "iron bacteria" in our district water. The iron bacteria reacts with chlorine bleach and will really stain your clothes, sometimes bright orange! You can buy a product called "Iron Out". I find it at our True Value Hardware store and I used to buy a similar product from my neighbor who sold Amway products. It gets expensive if you have to do this very often.

I learned to not use liquid chlorine bleach. I now use Tide with alternative bleach, Clorox II, Biz (an enzyme cleaner), or an all fabric bleach instead. I really like the "oxi-clean" type additive too. Dollar Tree sells a container of it by Awesome for $1 and it works great. That same size will cost $3 + at WalMart. I wash my whites in the hottest water and usually add half cups of any 3 of the favorites I mentioned earlier. I may let them soak for an hour to 4 hours and then I do an extra rinse at the end. I do this about every 2 or 3 weeks. I guess it works because folks are always asking "how do you keep your whites so bright?"

Another trick I learned along the way is if you have pastels, yellow, pink, blue, or green, you know the pale baby colors, they can start to look dingy so fast. I always wash them with my whites, no chlorine bleach remember and they will come out bright and pretty again. (01/17/2007)

By Grandma Margie

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