Removing the Yellow Cast from Stored White Clothing

How does one remove the yellow caste that develops on older white clothing, like my tuxedo pleated shirt, that sits in my closet for a long time between wearings. My friend said try soaking it in ammonia, but that product has a yellow dye in it after looking at different versions of it at different grocery stores.


By Richard from Austin, TX

January 7, 20110 found this helpful

Hey Richard, there used to be a product called "liquid bluing". I found a reference to it on Wikipedia but have no idea if it is still available for purchase. It was a laundry product that could be used on yellowed, white clothing with a hint of blue dye that somehow canceled out the yellow and made the fabric bright white once again. I remember my grandmother using it in the 60's and early 70's and it really did work on cotton based fabrics.

Best I remember it could be found in stores that sold clothing dyes, right next to the dyes. I honestly don't know the different types of fabrics it worked on, but back in the day it worked well on anything with cotton. If you can find it, it might help with your problem. (?) Wish I could offer more, but that's all I can remember! Happy researching and good luck! :-)

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January 10, 20110 found this helpful

You can still find liquid bluing, probably where the clothing dye or laundry soap is at the store, at least the last time I bought some a couple of years ago. I used it to make crystals with my kids & Cub Scouts. I also have used it to make my whites brighter, don't worry when you7 open the bottle & see the bright blue color, it really won't turn your whites blue,but it does make them whiter.

As for the ammonia, if you get the plain ammonia, (I think it's the sudsing ammonia?), it is clear, no yellow. And it also works to get clean whites. You could also just use bleach, unless the shirt says 'no bleach',in which case it will yellow the fabric if you do use bleach.

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January 10, 20110 found this helpful

People are way to scared of bleach. Take your shirt, add 1/4 cup of laundry soap fill the sink with hot water add 1 1/2 cups bleach, swish with big spoon to mix all evenly and soak your shirt turning every so often to check. Rinse well then let soak in fabric softener. Works every time.

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Anonymous Flag
January 11, 20110 found this helpful

A question: Does anyone smoke cigarettes or burn incense in your home? The yellowing could simply be the smoke and oils that accumulate from them even when closet doors are closed. In any event, try 'non-chlorine' bleach (safer for your health, environment and your clothing) according to container instructions but also keep in mind what the fabric cleaning instructions on the shirt says.

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January 11, 20110 found this helpful

I have had success with soaking them in a bowl of warm water with dissolved dish washing detergent. The longer the soak the better even a day or two.

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January 14, 20110 found this helpful

If you can't find bluing in the stores, the Vermont Country Store sells liquid bluing: Mrs. Stewart's Bluing, $10.90 for 2 eight-ounce bottles, plus a laundry instruction booklet. Just go to the website: and put "bluing" in the search box.

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January 14, 20110 found this helpful

When I copied and saved info on this tip, I discovered another tip posted on 12-29-10 that I had saved: a TF member used a product called Zout to remove blood stains, and also to remove red dye that had transferred to another item. It sounds like this might also work to remove the yellowness from the white items.

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