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Posted on July 16, 2014

Bright Whites

White garments are essential in summer wardrobes.  A common complaint we hear is that the crisp bright look of new white garments, over time, becomes dull, dingy, and even yellowish.  Why is that?  There are a variety of reasons, many of which you can control.  So we’ve compiled a list of the most common reasons with solutions.

  • Dull, dingy looking whites could be caused by not sorting your clothes properly.  Throwing dark color items in with white items increases the chances that garments will bleed onto others.  Be sure to sort your laundry properly to help keep your whites and colors bright.

  • Be sure to wash your white garments as soon as possible after wearing. If you let a stain on a white item set, or allow it to become very dirty, it becomes very difficult to restore it to its original state.

  • Store your white items separately. When light garments are stored next to dark garments, sublimation of dyes occurs.  This is when nitrogen gas causes dark dyes to redeposit on light garments, creating stains.

  • Avoid overloading your washing machine.  When your washer is overloaded, the detergent and water cannot reach all the surfaces so dirt remains on garments.  Check the owner’s manual on your washing machine and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on load capacity.

  • Remove our plastic poly bags before placing your garments in your closet – whether white or any color for that matter.  Plastic bags trap the humidity and gases around clothes, causing them to yellow.

  • Avoid using chlorine bleach as a general brightener; it does not make things whiter.  It actually breaks down the optical brightener in white dye and causes things to turn brown or yellow.  Chlorine bleach should really only be used to eliminate germs and bacteria.  It can be used on white cotton and cotton blends to remove a localized stain that remains after washing.

  • Check to see if your antiperspirant contains aluminum chlorohydrate.  It tends to clump in cotton and damage fibers and never completely washes out, leaving that yellowish ring under shirt arms.

We hope this information helps you keep your summer whites crisp and bright for this season and for seasons to come.  If you have a white garment in need of some special attention, drop it at one of our locations.  We can help.

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