By Patricia from Mountain Grove, MO
Sun will whiten and remove stains if left out long enough (with lemon juice to hasten the process).
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.
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!
An old wash woman years ago told me not to wash clothes any longer than 7mins., otherwise dirt just goes back on the laundry. I also add about 3/4C. of baking soda to my whites in the wash cycle and I don't use hot water any longer for laundry. When my whites were dingy I filled the washer with warm water, added about 1C. of bleach, agitated it a bit, then added my whites and let the soak for awhile. They looked brand new. If you have a clothes line good old sunshine is wonderful for whites. :)
Sometimes if whites are not 100% cotton, they will turn dingy yellowy or gray. Chlorine bleach doesn't work, nor does hot water on these types of clothing. You can check out some of the Rit dye products that are made for whites, and a product that helps with iron in the wash water, for whitening. We live in an area where it is usually caused by the water supply, and as a nurse, I have quit wearing white uniforms due to that reason. But it still affects my socks, I just wear them until I can't stand the color anymore, give them to hubby for rags, or use around the house as rags, and then buy new ones.
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.
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!
kathleen48 from South Portland
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 Wal Mart. 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)
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