Effective household item brightens heavily discoloured white garments

Lynsey Queen of Clean shares her laundry tip

White socks, shirts and t-shirts are prone to becoming discoloured, especially if they’re older garments.

Brightening these laundry items can be tricky but homeowners don’t need to resort to bleach.

With this in mind, Fantastic Service’s domestic cleaning expert and supervisor Petya Holevich has shared the most “effective” household item for brightening “heavily discoloured” white garments.

White garments can sometimes turn grey after repeated washing cycles in the machine and this can happen for various reasons, such as using hard water, mixing white clothes with coloured ones or unsuitable detergent.

Petya said the best course of action to avoid discolouring garments is prevention. However, that’s not always possible.

READ MORE: Quick and cheap method helps clothes dry faster while preventing wrinkling

In these cases, there are certain steps homeowners can take to “brighten” their clothes and “restore their original brightness”.

Separate clothes

The number one rule to remember is to always separate white garments from coloured ones to prevent colour bleeding and wash white items together to avoid any potential transfer of dyes.

Use the right detergent

Choose a detergent specifically formulated for whitening or brightening clothes.

These detergents often contain additives that help lift stains and brighten fabrics.

Consider a whitening agent

Petya said: “If your white garments are heavily discoloured, you may want to add a whitening agent to the wash.

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“Oxygen-based bleaches, such as hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach powders, can be very effective for that, but make sure to follow the product instructions for proper usage and safety precautions.”

Add vinegar

White vinegar can be found in most homes but it’s also cheap to buy online or from most local supermarkets. The cleaning product is often used to remove limescale, clean windows and remove stains from clothes.

Petya said the handy item can also be used to “brighten” discoloured white garments. They said: “Adding distilled white vinegar to the wash can also help brighten white garments.

“About half a cup of vinegar added to the rinse cycle can help remove residue and restore its brightness. Besides that, it’ll also help soften them.”

Avoid overloading the machine

Overloading the washing machine can prevent proper agitation and rinsing, resulting in dull-looking whites.

To prevent that, make sure to follow the recommended load size for the washing machine and leave enough space for garments to move freely.

Wash with hot water

Hot water is generally more “effective” at removing stains and brightening whites. However, before doing that, homeowners need to check the care label of their garments to make sure they can be washed in hot water safely. Delicate fabrics, for example, may be damaged in hot water.

Time the wash cycle

For white garments that have turned grey, it’s better to use a longer wash cycle. This allows clothes to soak in the detergent solution for an extra 30 minutes which can help lift stains and restore the clothes’ brightness. Alternatively, the white garments can also be pre-soaked in hot water and two cups of baking soda before washing.

Hang clothes in the sun

Sunlight has been known to bleach and lighten items. After washing, air dry white garments outside in direct sunlight.

Petya added: “The sun’s natural bleaching properties can help further brighten their fabric. However, be mindful of any delicate items that may be sensitive to sunlight.”

Repeat washing if necessary

If the greying is still noticeable after one wash, homeowners may need to repeat the process or try a different whitening method.

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