How to whiten white polyester

Made with durable woven fibres, polyester is a synthetic fabric that is typically stain and mould resistant. Everyday life can take its toll on white polyester, causing it to become dull and dingy. Most of the time, people will grab chlorine bleach to help brighten whites. However, this may not be the best approach to take with polyester. According to former Baylor College of Medicine biologist Paula Burch, chlorine bleach can irreparably damage synthetic fibres such as polyester. Instead, try a few alternative methods to help whiten white polyester.

Set your washing machine to the hottest water temperature available. Let the washer drum begin to fill with water.

Add 1/4 cup of washing powder to the detergent receptacle. If no receptacle is present, add the detergent directly in the washer drum.

Pour 1 cup of oxygen bleach in the water-filled washer drum. Submerge the white polyester clothing, and shut the washer lid. Let the washing machine complete a full cycle before removing it from the washer. Either air dry or tumble dry on low heat.

Fill a bucket, sink or tub with 1 gallon of warm water. Add 1 cup of liquid dishwasher detergent and swish the water and detergent together with your hand.

Submerge the white polyester in the mixture, and let it soak overnight. Remove the polyester from the mixture and launder as you normally would.

Remove the damp white polyester fabric immediately from the washing machine, and dry as you normally would.


Use an oxygen bleach that states "safe for all fabrics" on the packaging.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing powder
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Bucket
  • Liquid dishwasher detergent
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About the Author

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.