How to Keep White Clothes White

Updated July 20, 2017

When you have clothes that are white, you want to keep them that way. The problem is that if whites are not properly cleaned and cared for, they turn yellow and stain. If washed with other coloured clothes, they absorb the coloured dye. Fortunately, steps exist to ensure your white clothes remain white. Just follow a few instructions -- and you'll be pleased to see the crisp and clean look your white clothes keep.

When a white piece of clothing gets dirty or stained, take action immediately. Carry a stick of instant stain remover with you at all times so you will be prepared no matter where you are. Use it as needed. As soon as you return home, pretreat the stain with a combination of pretreating solution product, which contains an oxygen-based solution and some dish-washing liquid. Soak the garment in the solution as per the product instructions.

Remove the garment from the solution and wipe the stain thoroughly with a clean, dry washcloth.

Place your whites in the washing machine, including the pretreated garments that are still wet with solution. Use a regular washing powder and add a non-chlorine-based whitening solution to the machine, as well as fabric softener. Do not add garments to the machine that are not purely white.

Set the washing machine on a warm-water and short-cycle setting, then start the machine.

When your wash reaches the rinse cycle, stop the machine and add 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice directly into the washing machine. Turn it back on to return it to the rinse cycle. Alternate this with adding 1/4 of a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Both of these will help to brighten the whites.

Hang white clothing outside in the sun to dry, as the sun aids in naturally bleaching clothes, without the use of harsh chemicals.


Never wash whites with other coloured items, as they will fade onto the white items. Avoid using chlorine bleach, as it will cause fabrics to turn yellow or even grey.

Things You'll Need

  • Pre-treatment oxygen-based solution product
  • Washcloth
  • Bleach
  • Dish-washing liquid
  • Lemon juice
  • White vinegar
  • Washing powder
  • Fabric softener
  • Stain-stick product
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About the Author

Based in Saint Louis, Diana Smith has been writing online articles on a multitude of subjects since early 2007. Her articles specialize in health, autism, decorating, nutrition, philosophy, politics and many other subjects. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Missouri and has done many years of independent research on autism spectrum disorders.