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Cleaning Clothes That Have Yellowed

Older clothing can sometimes yellow with age. This guide is about cleaning clothes that have yellowed.

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Cleaning Clothes
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March 31, 2011 Flag

I have an "old age" discoloration on a sweater. That "old lace" yellow type of color where it was folded. How can I remove it? The sweater is ivory colored and is a cotton/ramie blend.

By Joan from Chesapeake

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April 1, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would hang it out in the sunshine for a few days, a week, or whatever it takes. The sun will draw the stain out. I have a cleaning business and wear alot of white, because of the bleach that some people use. The furniture polish stains appear during the months that they are packed up for the season. This works great especially for light colored clothes.

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January 26, 2015 Flag
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I recently received three dress shirts. As nearly as we can determine they are from the late 1800s or very early 1900s. They have removable collars and cuffs, bibbed fronts, etc. The problem is that they are stained with orange spots and what isn't orange is very yellowed. They are beautifully made and although I have no idea what to do with them, I would like to restore them. The cotton is very smooth and sturdy. Any suggestions would be welcomed!

By Lynda T

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February 7, 20150 found this helpful

I have used lemon juice and the sun. If that didn't work I used hydrogen peroxide and the sun. J

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March 25, 2010 Flag
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What's the best way to get white and colored clothing clean after it's been hanging in a closet for ages and has yellowed? I don't want to use chlorine bleach. I am afraid of using bleach full strength.

By Gayle from Rochester, NY

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March 25, 20100 found this helpful

Best thing would be to hang the clothes in the sunshine to dry. Never use bleach full strength--it will burn holes in some fabric. But a little bleach may help brighten yellowed clothes--start with a small amount like 1/2 cup for a full load of laundry but just use bleach on whites. Try borax or washing soda for colors.

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March 27, 20100 found this helpful

I used to wear white uniforms. The best way to brighten and clean is to run through the washer with Lestoil. Then you'll have to wash again to get the smell out. Works wonderfully.

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March 27, 20100 found this helpful

Try Oxyclean or any of those products with the word Oxy in it. They really whiten!

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March 31, 20100 found this helpful

Oxyclean is great for whites. You can leave things soak for days if necessary. I soaked a 50 year old tablecloth for 3 days and the stains finally came out. Unlike bleach, it does not dissolve the material.

For colors soak (follow directions) in "Clorox 2, Stain Fighter & Color Booster". It's pricey, but gets out grease and blood from clothes. It is the best I've ever used on colors in 60 years of doing laundry.

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November 3, 2013 Flag
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What is the best way to clean clothes that have yellowed?

By Cristina

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November 5, 20130 found this helpful

Put the clothes in a container with extremely hot water, and a scoop or two of Oxy Clean. Close the container (we use a small cooler). Let them sit for at least 20 minutes, open it, stir/look to see how much they've whitened. The longer you leave them soak, the more it works. Then dump them into the washer (those clothes only is best) and wash like normal. That should work.

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October 2, 2013 Flag
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What can I do to prevent and remove those stains that appear on your pants after being on the hangers for a while? It's like a straight line across the top pant leg that's been exposed on the hanger? I have this issue all the time and it really bugs me! I have a job interview in the morning and the nicest professional looking pair of pants that I plan on wearing has that one line across one pant leg.

Will machine washing it alone work or is there any pre-treating secrets you can reveal to help me so I look nice for my interview? I really want to make a good impression and not look silly or too cheap to afford a descent pair of pants (although I really can't afford a new pair of pants LOL). Any advice you can provide me is so greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much! :)

By Jennifer P.

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February 2, 20150 found this helpful

Try wetting a pressing cloth with white vinegar & press the crease. I have used this method on skirts when I let the hem out.

Syd's 2 cents

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July 10, 2011 Flag
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How do you remove the yellowing on clothing articles left hanging on hangers too long?

By Cheryl

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July 12, 20110 found this helpful

I have successfully removed rust stains by saturating the stained area with lemon juice and setting out in full sun for a few hours, this would probably work here, too.

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July 12, 20110 found this helpful

If the stains are rust from the hangers there is a product 'Whisk", a brown bottle found with the laundry detergent in your grocery store. When you put it on you can see the stain disapear right before your eyes. Then you will need to launder immediately.

If the stain is just age yellowing try soaking in Oyxclean-found also in the laundry detergent area. Directions are on the box. Unlike bleach Oxyclean will not remove the color from colored garments. After soaking and washing be sure to check for all the stain removal before putting the garment into the dryer. If stain is still evident then soak again in oxyclean.

I have left things soaking in Oxyclean for more than a week and they were not damaged.

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April 13, 2004 Flag
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I have a dry cleanable seersucker jacket that has yellowed over time. is there any remedy to return the white areas, white? now it just looks dirty and dingy and is unwearable.

Paulette from Tennessee

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April 14, 20040 found this helpful

Here's an article about cleaning antique clothing.

http://www.lonestarts.com/Fashion/antique-garment-care.htm

I don't know what a seersucker is, maybe someone else knows more.

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October 13, 20050 found this helpful

I had several blouses that I sent to the cleaners and they became yellowed, I could not wear them at all. I thought what the heck, and through them in the wash and they came out with as snow. It has something to do with the cleaning solutions. hope this helps.

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