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How to whiten curtains

Updated February 21, 2017

White curtains can sometimes become a little grey or yellowed over time. When the curtains are too good to become rags, or they are a perfect fit for the room or window, there are ways to brighten white curtains. Dingy white curtains that have collected smoke from normal cooking or dust from the air can be made to look like new again. Products for whitening curtains can be found in grocery stores or home improvement centres.

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  1. Remove yellowing caused by water deposits with Iron Out or Yellow Out. Both products are recommended for white laundry and will remove rust and iron deposits from fabric.

  2. Remove stains from white fabric with Rit dye remover. Rit dye remover reduces colour from fabrics before dyeing, but can also remove stains that have been washed into fabric.

  3. Soak your curtains in hot water and lemon for a bleach alternative. Select a pot large enough to hold curtains and water. Boil water and sliced lemon and remove from stove. Use a wooden spoon to immerse the curtains into the water. Soak the curtains for one hour and wash as normal. Hang the curtains in the sun to dry if possible or dry in the dryer. Check the label for washing instructions before using hot water.

  4. Soak the curtains in the washing machine with bleach, baking soda and washing powder. Use the recommended about of bleach for the water level that you choose, add ¼ cup of baking soda and laundry soap. When the washer starts to agitate, turn the washer off for one hour. Turn the washer on and let it complete the wash cycle. Hang the curtains in the sun to dry if possible or dry in the dryer.

  5. Wash curtains in warm water, washing powder and 1/4 cup of dishwasher detergent. Dry in the dryer or hang in the sun to dry.

  6. Wash curtains in the washing machine with laundry soap and 1 cup of white vinegar. Vinegar will also help to remove built deposits of soap from the fabric. Dry curtains in the dryer or hang in the sun to dry.

  7. Warning

    Always check the washing instructions on the label for water temperature before laundering.

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Things You'll Need

  • Iron Out
  • Yellow Out
  • Rit dye remover
  • Bleach
  • Lemon
  • Baking soda
  • Washing powder
  • White vinegar
  • Dishwasher detergent

About the Author

Emma Lee owns a photography website and also works as a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, animals and photography. Her work can be found on various websites. Lee attended Charles County Community College located in Maryland.

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