Here at Classic White Shirts we know that is hard to find the perfect white shirt, which is why it’s a real bummer when you realize your favourite t-shirt has seen better days. But before you toss or donate it, follow the advice below from our Team on how to refresh faded clothes.
There are a few simple rules that you should follow to keep white shirts looking bright and clean. And, if you spill something on them or they happen to get a bit dull, grey or yellowed, you can learn how to restore the brightness to white washable clothes. Since they're prone to discoloration, whites should be washed after every wear and should never be mixed with darker colors in the washing machine. Use a stain remover product if necessary. Chlorine bleach can be helpful on 100% white items, but it's not the only answer for cleaning white shirts—there are several other techniques to try first.
How to keep your White Shirts White!
Even if you can’t see it, invisible body activity and even your anti-perspirant can turn white fabrics yellow or gray over time. You want to wash them out before they build up.
Food spots like ketchup or coffee are a given, but things you can’t see, like sweat marks, should be treated to prevent build-up too. To do this, rub a full-strength liquid enzyme detergent (or hydrogen peroxide diluted in water) on the underarm area, then let your white shirt sit 15 minutes before throwing it into the wash. Another trick is to pop an aspirin or two into the washing machine (wait until it’s full of water). Skip commercial fabric softeners that can leave residue on white fabrics: instead, add one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle to ensure that all detergent is stripped away from fabrics.
Sure, it seems obvious, but it really makes a difference: this is a must! If you wash your white shirts and lights together, use a dye-grabbing cloth to attract loose dye in your load and keep the color from setting on your whites.
Or better yet, bleach alternatives. These products generally get your white shirts whiter during the washing cycle. Another cleaner that you might want to try is a bluing agent, which makes fabrics look blue-white instead of yellow-white. Bleach is strong and should only be used as a last resource when other methods have failed.
Overuse or underuse of detergent can leave fabrics gray and dingy. That's because suds cushion fabrics and dirt, so stains get trapped and don't wash away like they should. Bottom line: just follow the instructions on your bottle.
We know, when there's space at the top it's hard to resist throwing in a few more shirts, but you should: clothing needs to circulate to get clean. If you fill your washtub to the top, there isn't enough room for the detergent to interact with soils and give an optimal cleaning performance.
The hotter the water, the more germs you kill. Higher temperatures also remove more soil, which is what causes white shirts to fade over time. But to prevent shrinkage and damage to clothes, check the care label to see just how hot you can go. Be very careful with this as shrinkage could occur, but sometimes it is appropriate. Generally wash clothes in warm or cool water.
Over-drying will make your wardrobe look more worn over time, so pick your setting according to the label. Another option? Use the auto cycle so the dryer stops when it senses the clothing is dry, not just when the time is up. And always lay your favorite cotton items flat to dry! Many of your favorite new shirts have some stretch material in them that also responds best to laying flat to dry. Spandex and Lycra should also be laid flat to dry.
Dry-cleaning chemicals interact with the Lycra and can make white shirts look grey.
When you have a good plan for washing your clothes and you keep the right tools on hand, even hand washables become an easy part of your routine. Enjoy your white shirts! Over and over!