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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keeping Whites White

To me there is just something about the plain white t-shirt. I have lots of them – crew neck, scoop neck, split neck, v-neck….you get the idea. They just go with everything and when they are nice and bright and white they provide such a crisp clean look.

Unfortunately, all white cotton and cotton blend shirts eventually start yellowing around the neck and under the arms. While there isn’t anything you can do to completely stop this, you can do a few things to slow the process. Below is a list of suggestions from Mike Feudale, District Manager for A Cleaner World.

• Wash white garments (for that matter all garments) as soon as possible after wearing.
• Never use chlorine bleach on whites as a general brightener. Chlorine bleach should really only be used to eliminate germs and bacteria. It can, however, be used on white cotton and cotton blends to remove a localized stain that remains after washing. Chlorine bleach does not make things whiter. In the long run it actually breaks down the optical brightener in white dye and turns things yellow or brown.
• If you can, use deodorant instead of antiperspirant. Antiperspirant contains aluminum chlorohydrate which tends to clump in cotton and damage the fibers. It never completely washes out and will build up over time.
• One way to brighten your whites is in an overnight soak. Start the wash load with a normal amount of soap and hot water. Allow it to agitate for a minute or two. Then add up to double the recommended amount of non-chlorine bleach. Agitate for several minutes and let the load stand overnight. Complete the cycle the next morning and tumble dry on medium.
• Avoid high drying temperatures. Medium works just as well and reduces wrinkling. Or if you’re inclined, hang your whites on a line outside until dry. Your great grandmother was right; sunshine can function as a brightener.

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