How to Brighten Dingy Whites

I have for years endured shared public laundry facilities in which the machines were old, dingy and overpriced. Not to mention all the weird washing liquid people used which would often discolour my clothes or leave me with a rash from all the chemicals. For mostly everything but towels and bedding, I hand washed so that I could keep better care of my clothes and use organic detergent without wondering what would be mixed in.

When I purchased Kenmore machines for my house , they changed me from a hand washer to a lazy washer as they made even my delicates beautiful and my whites? Very white. Thanks to it’s own hot water tank, it sanitized and whitened clothing using hot water and not bleach. It turned some yellowing old lace into new without one snare and a white dress I thought was forgone into a brand new spring staple. That’s why, despite being in a flat that doesn’t have hookups, I still have these units in storage.

But until I can use them again, I’ve been wondering how to get whites white in an easy, organic way. Leave it to Martha to have the answer in her February 2008 Martha Stewart Living Magazine “How To” issue.

So armed with my new favourite product – the organic Earth Friendly Products Oxo-Brite, a large pot, a big plastic tub and wooden spoon, I began the process of getting some dingy whites, white. And in an hour (the same amount of time the Kenmore took) the results were perfect, making the pining for my washer and dryer a little easier to bare.

Here’s a reprint of Martha Stewart’s “How to Brighten Dingy Whites”:

1. Heat 2 gallons of water over high heat, bringing it to a boil. Use several pots so that each is light enough to lift off the stove.2. When the water comes to a rolling biol turn off the heat. Let the pots stand for 5 minutes.3. Put a plastic wash or dish tub in the sink. Carefully pour hot water into it.4. Add 8 ounces of powdered oxygen bleach ( I used Earth Friendly Products Oxo-Brite). Never substitute chlorine bleach. Also, never add oxygen bleach or whites to pots on the stove; doing so can cause a dangerous boil over. The mixture may bubble and foam. Sir with a wooden spoon reserved for this use to ensure that the oxygen bleach has dissolved completely.

5. Add whites to the tub. Don’t overfill.

6. Let whites soak, periodically agitating them with the wooden spoon, until the water has cooled enough that you can handle the clothing. This may take an hour or more.

7. Drain the bu and rinse each item well in plain water.

8. Launder as usual.

7 Comments

  1. A natural way to brighten whites is baking soda. Soak the fabric in hot water and baking soda for 1/2 hour. It will do the trick.

  2. My mother uses lemon juice and the sun to get stains out as well-works every time. Which Kenmore Elite washer and dryer do you have? I checked their website and there are so many to choose from in the Kenmore Elite category!

  3. I have a cashmere, white, originally, that now has a greyish caste. Cannot use the hot water always recommended. suggestions?

  4. I have the Kenmore Elite HE3 washer/dryer, and I can honestly say without a doubt…it is the greatest washer and dryer I have ever owned. I never enjoyed doing laundry until I bought the Kenmore Elite a few years ago. It makes everything so much easier.

  5. What a brilliant product. It is easy for whites to turn yellowish over the years, so an effective and easy to use whitener (not to mention organic too mind you) is definitely sought after in the market. Although this article focused on the product as a whitener, it works just as easily on coloured materials. I used to have a light blue mat by the door that has collected stains over the years. I soaked it for 5 hours in a solution of Oxo Brite and the stains easily disappeared.

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