How to Get Yellow Stains Out From White Laundry

Updated February 21, 2017

Even if you are careful to keep your whites clean, light-coloured clothing often can acquire a yellowish appearance over time. Certain soaps, detergents and deodorants contain substances that can make your whites look dingy. Regular washing may not remove the stains. Luckily, you don't have to get rid of your white laundry items if they start turning yellow. You can use some simple, inexpensive products and a few easy steps to restore the brightness to your whites.

Begin filling your washer with water as warm as the clothing can handle; check the tag for washing instructions. Add your regular washing powder plus 1 cup of bleach.

Add the whites that you wish to clean once the washer is about half full of water. Be careful not to overload the washer as the laundry items need to have room to circulate during the wash.

Allow the whites to soak in the detergent and bleach solution for 30 minutes before continuing the wash cycle.

Remove the laundry promptly and dry with a scented fabric softening sheet in order to soften any remaining bleach smell.

Fill your washer with warm or hot water plus 2 cups of plain white vinegar and the regular amount of washing powder.

Allow the laundry items to soak for approximately 30 minutes before completing the wash cycle.

Inspect the laundry after washing to see if the yellow tinge has been removed. If items appear bright and white, dry as usual. If not, continue with the following steps.

Soak each item in a solution of 1 part vinegar, 1 part lemon juice and 2 to 3 tbsp of salt. Allow the items to soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Hang the whites up to dry outside in direct sunlight. The laundry should remain in the sunlight for at least 8 hours in order to achieve best results.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing machine
  • Washing powder
  • Bleach
  • Dryer
  • Fabric softening sheet
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Sunshine
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About the Author

Charlotte Johnson is a musician, teacher and writer with a master's degree in education. She has contributed to a variety of websites, specializing in health, education, the arts, home and garden, animals and parenting.