How to remove yellow tinge from white cotton

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There are many reasons why white fabrics yellow: Storage in dark places, body oils, or simply the ravages of time can turn bright whites into grungy garments. To whiten them again, try this simple bleach-and-hot-water method.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chlorine Bleach
  • Enzyme Presoak
  • Clotheslines
  • Clothespins
  • Laundry Detergents
  • Color Removers

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  1. 1

    Check care label to make sure the fabric is bleach-safe.

  2. 2

    Soak overnight in an enzyme presoak, which will immediately go to work breaking down organic materials to augment the cleaning process later.

  3. 3

    Set washer to as hot a temperature as tolerable by the fabric (see care instructions on clothing).

  4. 4

    Use twice as much (bleach-safe) detergent as usual.

  5. 5

    Add chlorine bleach 5 minutes after the wash cycle has begun.

  6. 6

    Hang in bright sunlight to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Before use of chlorine bleach, dilute as directed on the product's label.
  • Chlorine bleach can end up yellowing fabrics such as wool, spandex, nylon, silk or leather, often permanently - the opposite of the desired effect! Try a color remover on these bleach-sensitive garments instead.

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