How to Get White Towels Really White Again

Updated February 21, 2017

Nothing is better than a set of brilliant white, fluffy towels to brighten up a bathroom. And, of course, nothing is worse than a set of dingy, grey towels to throw a shabby shadow over a bathroom decor. If your white towels have lost their lustre, don't fret. Bring them back to life by employing a few simple, household remedies. These time-tested treatments are sure to make your towels brilliantly white again.

Fill washer with water.

Mix ¼ tsp. Mrs. Stewart's Bluing with 1 qt. cold water.

Add bluing solution to washer water.

Add towels to washer.

Launder towels in regular washer cycle.

Soak towels in vinegar and hot water for two hours at least; overnight is best.


Hang towels in direct sunlight to dry.


Mrs. Stewart's Bluing is a helpful remedy to make towels white again. However, it does not actually restore the white to the fabric. Bluing creates an optical illusion by adding a tint of blue and absorbing the colour yellow in the light spectrum. This makes the towels, or any clothing, appear white again. Add Mrs. Stewart's Bluing to the washer during the wash or rinse cycle. If you have hard water, the rinse cycle may be adding mineral deposits to the towels, causing them to grey and lose their brightness. Vinegar works to combat this by dissolving the mineral deposits. Soaking towels overnight is ideal to restore them to bright white, but to keep them white add ½ cup vinegar to the rinse cycle whenever you wash a load. Fabric softener also works well in hard water, and you can add it in both wash and rinse cycles. The sun is another natural whitener. Hanging towels to dry in the sun works wonders to restore their bright white colour. The sun is a natural bleacher, using violet and ultraviolet photons to strip stains and whiten fabric.


When using Mrs. Stewart's Bluing, always dilute it first in a qt. or more of water. Do not add to washing load while towels or clothes are present as this may cause spotting. Do not use bleach with hard water as it can sometimes react with the minerals and cause fabrics to yellow.

Things You'll Need

  • ¼ tsp. Mrs. Stewart's Bluing
  • 1 qt. cold water
  • ½ cup white distilled vinegar
  • Hot water
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About the Author

Robyn Murray is a journalist based in Omaha, Neb. She has reported for national and international media including National Public Radio, Public Radio International and Business Day in Johannesburg. Murray holds a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.