My husband's white t-shirts have turned yellow from using bleach. How can I get them white again?
Karen from Dallas, TX
By Karen Kelly
By (Guest Post) 03/31/2008
I used to work in the garment industry and know that most modern white fabrics are not made from white cotton, but from "greige" goods and are later dyed white and cannot be bleached without removing the white dye. If you check your labels before laundering, you will find very few of them that recommend bleach. Way back when (I'm dating myself here) in the fifties, they made colorfast fabrics which could be bleached no matter what color they were (except navy or black), but that seems to have gone with the nickel candy bar and the twenty-five cent quart of milk. Sigh.
In regards to Post By (Guest Post) (03/31/2008)
"most modern white fabrics are not made from white cotton, but from "greige" goods and are later dyed white and cannot be bleached without removing the white dye." If this is the problem, can't you just re-dye them white or another color he might like. GG Vi
By Mary (Guest Post) 04/06/2008
If you live in the country, sometimes there is enough rust and iron in the water to cause a reaction to bleach in laundered clothing. I used to use Iron Out for some of the whites, but our water was so bad that I evenatually steered away from buying whites.
Later on, an old neighbor taught me that using my conventional washer, the wringer type, was the most economical and efficient. I would fill the machine with HOT water, and then add about two tablespoons of Lye, wait for the rust and iron to surface and then skim off the gunk. I could then wash whites first followed by other clothes according to color and how grimey they were. I actually went back to buying whites again since I could get them clean.
The problem is that Lye is sometimes difficult to find in the stores and it must be treated with care, since it can be dangerous.
By maureen (Guest Post) 05/31/2008
Clorox will eventually turn your whites yellow, so use it sparingly. Spray the shirts with Awesome. Let sit for a hour, then I soak white t-shirts in hot water, with baking soda. Put in wash cycle. If still yellow, try soaking them in bluing (add the bluing to the water and mix) then add shirts and wash again. It may take a few times, but they will get white after a few washings, sometimes I have added oxy-clean to the wash with a little detergent after I try everything else.
By becca (Guest Post) 01/04/2009
How do you avoid them turning yellow in the FIRST place, thanks!
Hi, This has also happened to me. I have a white embroidered shirt with a bit of stretch in, its 5% elastene, 95% cotton. I put some ariel stain remover and whitener powder in the wash that was a certain % chlorine bleaching agent. I didn't realize this at the time as I was doing the washing in zombie mode. The shirt has come out of the wash with a yellow tint and I'm really upset. It was my favourite shirt not to mention it was expensive. Does anybody know how to restore this?? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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I soaked a white shirt in a bleach solution to remove some mud and the shirt turned yellow instead. Does anyone know what I can do to turn it white again? I don't want to bleach it again.