Getting Whites White?

I live in New Zealand so I don't have as much access to products as the rest of the world. How do I get my whites, white? They accumulate grease stains, food stains, and sweat stains. I've tried bleach and soaking and the prehistoric cleaning method as well (the one with the wooden board) and still the stains stay there.


Just putting it through the wash gets it cleaner than all the other methods but not as white as I want. That's why I'm asking you guys for help. I am particular about getting it white because I am the supervisor in the kitchen so I have to set an example you know. So how can I get my whites as white as possible?

By peter from Rotorua, New Zealand

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Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 65 Requests
August 14, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

This may not help much because it only refers to stains, but put fresh lemon juice on the stain after you wash the garment BUT before you dry it. Putting stained cloths in a dryer will set the stain. Put the wet garment with the lemon juice on the stain out in the sun and the stain should come out.


I've heard that stains from oils on the skin can be washed out using ordinary hair shampoo because shampoo is made to dissolve hair oil, body oil. I'd use a 'clear' type of shampoo not one with conditioners in it.

There are homemade recipes on this site for Fels Naptha Soap - I think that's how you spell it. But I don't know if you can buy it in your area. You can try to find it on line. But I'd search this site first if I were you. Good Luck!

March 26, 20200 found this helpful

Dawn dish washing liquid works well. Saturate the stain and wash. For coffee on whites, or other stains I'll rinse in cold water so not to set the stain.


For example, I spilled 16 oz coffee on my favorite white rugger shirt. When I got home I rinsed it in copious amounts of cold water, applied Dawn, washed in very hot water. Came out nice. I then applied Walmart automotive carpet cleaner to the residual brown fade, and washed again. Looks like new. Hope one man's experience helps. Cheers! Jack from USA.

P.S. I now use Dawn on my shirt collars and sleeves. It works beautifully.

August 21, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have been in the restaurant business all of my life--inherited it from both parents. Mom was a bakeress & daddy was a Chef. I myself am a retired Chef. When working, I was very picky about my white coat & pants. My solution was to use just a dot or 2 of Dawn dish washing liquid on any spots I thought would stain-scrub them for just a minute with a fingernail brush. Then I would fill my washer about 1/4 of the way with straight hot water & add a 1/2 c. of automatic dishwasher soap to the tub--the cheaper the better because most cheaper brands have more phosphorous. I'd swish the water around, turn the temp. to warm, & put in my whites when the tub was about halfway full.


Then I'd add about half the amount of detergent to the tub that I would normally use.

I rinsed my whites in cold & added a cup of baking soda. Baking soda seemed to freshen the fabric because--as you know, even washing sometimes doesn't remove the food or grease odors from your whites. I also took my Chef whites from the dryer before they were completely dry. Complete drying seemed to make them feel stiff & scratchy against my skin. Then, because I was such a fanatic about looking right, I ironed them whether they needed it or not. A light coating of spray starch somehow seemed to keep the whites from staining so badly.

September 16, 20170 found this helpful

Not very environmentally friendly. The phosphorus may whiten the clothes but how about the environment? Not a good idea!!

March 20, 20230 found this helpful

The best way to keep whites, white is to not use too much detergent. I use either home made powder or liquid laundry soap. Powdered store bought has a lot of fillers in it.


I do use vinegar in my rinse water. I also treat stains when they first occur. For greasy stains, I use Dawn.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
August 14, 20090 found this helpful

Have you tried SUNSHINE? It will bleach clothing... For natural "organic" stains use hydrogen Peroxide.

ALSO: have your ever heard of Bluing?
In the olden days (back until the 1960's) I remember my grandmother using something called "bluing"....pronounced blue-ing. It turns whites REALLY white!
You can order it from the URL below.


August 14, 20090 found this helpful

My grandma always swore by a good washing, then laying the clothes out on the grass over nite. She said the combination of dew and sunshine will make them white.


I am not sure if it works, but it can't hurt! Best of luck to you!

August 18, 20090 found this helpful

If you are using pure cotton fabric you can boil the tea towels etc. in lye. That is what was used in the old days. Be sure you have an open window or do it outside.

August 18, 20090 found this helpful

Try washing the items in dishwasher detergent. That's what the chefs here in the United States do.

August 18, 20090 found this helpful

I wash my whites with bleach and electrosol (which is dishwasher soap). I've done this for years, I put about 1/4 cup for a large load.

September 5, 20090 found this helpful

Try the product white bright or white out for laundry. We have what is called red wells here in the south and if you add bleach to the wash it turns red and the clothes are dingy. I can't seem to find it now but until a week ago I bought it in the laundry aisle at the wally world (walmart).

February 1, 20151 found this helpful

There are several methods that you can use to get your whites white again. Let's start with adding a cup of white vinegar to your regular wash. Fill your washer, add your detergent, and the vinegar before adding your clothes. The smell of the vinegar will disappear.

Another method is to use a large stock pot, add 3 tablespoons or detergent and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Add the items you want to whiten and boil for about half an hour. Let cool, wring out the clothes and toss in the washer just to rinse, and dry as usual.

A third method is hanging your clothes on a clothesline and drying with "good old sunshine." That's nature's way of bleaching your clothes naturally, without doing damage to the fabric and it's also great for brightening all your color clothes as well.


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