The Ultimate Guide To Bleach Your White Clothes

White clothes are so bright and white when first bought, but after a couple of washes, they lose their natural whitening, and they end up looking, most of the time, yellow.  Whites can attract stains leading to discolouration and getting dull and dingy. 

A white tshirt hanging on a blue background

Did you know that you should wash your white T-shirts after wearing them a couple of times and that you don’t have to toss them when they lose their brightness? There are simple and safe ways to keep them from turning yellow and make them whiter using, apart from harsh chemicals, other whitening agents that you have probably never thought of using this way.  

Can I bleach all kinds of white items of clothes??

Bleach is a harsh chemical that can damage clothes; that’s why it can’t be used in all kinds of white garments. Some types are very sensitive and can be ruined. Being white doesn’t mean that it can be bleached. You should always read the care label of the fabric before applying any cleaning method.

A woman washing her white clothes

Fabrics made of silk, wool, mohair and spandex or some flame-retardant finish (found on children’s nightclothes) can be ruined when you wash them with bleach. Using bleach is absolutely safe on 100% cotton fabrics and only!

What’s the best way to bleach whites?

A yellowing shade can be caused on whites clothes due to ageing or perspiration or because you accidentally washed them with dark clothes. You can apply, though, a few methods to decolourise your whites. 

Method 1: How to bleach my white clothing with a washing machine?

Turning your whites into their former condition with a washing machine is probably the easiest way. You just load the machine, add the bleach and set the wash cycle

In case you’re wondering if you must use it only or you can combine it with the detergent, here’s what you should do:

    1. Clean your clothes from any solid stains. You may use a spoon or a paper towel. You can also apply a paste of soda and water to get rid of any stubborn items. Scrub the soda paste on the stain using a toothbrush.
    2. Use some laundry detergent on the stain and scrub it. 
    3. Check the care label of your clothes. Not all fabric can be washed in hot water. Thus, before popping them into the device, check the tags for instructions.
    4. Load your machine and add the detergent.  
    5. Add bleach into the right drawer.  If your appliance doesn’t have a special dispenser, you can add it directly to the machine. Pour a ¾ cup of the agent if the load is more than half of the device. In case it’s less than ¼, then pour less than a ¾ cup.
    6. Set the hottest temperature of the wash cycle
    7. Run an additional rinse cycle to be sure that there’s no scent of bleach left. 
    8. Dry your clothes. After the cycle finishes, dry your clothes either outside or in a tumble dryer

Extra tip: If you dry your clothes in the dryer, use the lower heat setting because too much heat can turn stains yellow. 

A woman being shocked with her white clothes that have stains

Method 2: How to bleach my white items of clothing by soaking them?

The second way to bleach your whites is by soaking them in bleach water. 

For this method, you’re going to need:

  • A bucket
  • Cold water
  • Bleach (the amount depends on the brand and type)

Once you have gathered all the tools, follow the below steps:

  1. Fill a bucket with cold water and soak your whites. Make sure the water covers your clothes and the bucket is big enough to stir them. 
  2. Add chlorine bleach. Check the instructions labelled on the bottle to know how much you should add. Generally, a cup of it is enough if you wash more than one piece.
  3. Stir your clothes and the mixture.  By stirring every couple of minutes, you’ll achieve an evenly soaking of your garments. 
  4. Let them soak for 10 minutes. Keep in mind that soaking too long, this product can ruin the fabric. 
  5. Rinse your clothes with cold running water.  Remove them from the bucket and rinse them with clean water to eliminate smell and residues. 
  6. Dry them very well. After rinsing them, wring them to remove the excess water and dry them. Opt for drying them outside, but if that’s not possible, use a drying machine

A woman soaking a white cloth

Method 3: How to sun-bleach my whites?

Have you ever forgotten something colourful outside in the sun for a while? Have you noticed how it has been whitened?  The sun is a supernatural cleaning agent. Its ultraviolet rays freshen and whiten fabrics without smell and danger.

Here’s how you can sun-bleach your white garments:

  1. Wash your whites as usual. Don’t use any bleaching agent, just your regular laundry detergent.
  2. Hang them outside to dry. Just make sure to do it on a warm and sunny day. 
  3. Leave them to dry. Take your laundry in when it’s dried.  

Note: Don’t let your whites in the sun for too long because the sun can make weaken fabrics.



whitening clothes in the sun light

Method 4: How to bleach my whites with a bluing agent?

Are you familiar with bluing? Bluing is a whitener agent. It can turn your dull white garments into bright white again. How can it do it? Just by turning your yellowish whites blue. Don’t panic! This is what we want. Adding the agent to the yellow clothes will make them look bright white. 

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Dilute ¼ teaspoon of the agent into 4 cups of water.
  2. Add the solution to the final rinse cycle. If you own a top load washer, add it directly into the drum. In case you own a front-loading machine, add it to the detergent drawer.

Method 5: How to bleach my white items of clothing with baking soda?

You may use this magic powder to eliminate odours and general household cleaning purposes, but it can help white clothing maintain its brightening. A pinch of soda to the appliance will remove smells and stains, soften your clothes, and boost the detergent. How can you make your clothes white with soda? Just load your machine with the whites, add your detergent and then add ½ cup of soda. Now let the washer wash your clothes as usual. 

Extra tip: For stubborn stains, make a paste of water and baking soda and apply it directly to the stain.

A woman using baking soda to whiten her white clothes

Method 6: How to bleach my white items of clothing with white vinegar?

White vinegar is a powerful, natural cleaning agent overused in most households. Here’s another property: It can whiten, soften, and freshen textiles. Here’s how to use it: Add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar to your laundry detergent and wash your clothes as usual. We promise your whites will be bright, shine with no vinegar scent! 

Method 7: How to bleach my white items of clothing with Borax?

Using Borax and your regular washing liquid can help boost and bring back the colour on clothes. Boric acid is a colour-safe agent which can deodorise and soften hard water.  Just add a ½ cup of Boric acid to the drum of your machine and wash as usual. 

Method 8: How to bleach my white clothes with Hydrogen peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide isn’t chlorine bleach. It can still, though, make your garments white. Add ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide to your detergent and wash your laundry as always. 

Method 9: How to bleach my white clothes with lemon juice?

Lemon is another brightening agent. ¼ to ½ cup of lemon juice added to your washing powder will turn your white-yellow clothes white again.

But lemon can be applied differently as well. You can also boil your clothes with lemon. 

  1. Fill a pot with water and add lemon slices
  2. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.
  3. Add your clothes and let them soak for an hour
  4. Then, wash as usual

A bowl of lemon juice next to some lemons

Can I use baking soda while getting bleached my white clothes?

Both bleach and soda can be used along with the washing liquid. But can you combine these two cleaning agents? The answer is YES! This magic powder can boost bleach.  

Combine ½ cup of the lightning agent with ½ cup of soda to wash your whites. This super powder will eliminate some of the unpleasant odours and will make bleach more powerful. This combination will brighten your white load and make it whiter.

Can I remove mould from white clothes by getting bleached them?

Mould on garments is a common issue, especially if you don’t let them dry completely before storing them. Mould appears on clothes as a discoloured, blotchy stain. It’s quite easy to get rid of mould from any type of fabric. There are enough cleaning products that can remove it, like stain removers, borax or baking soda

However, if you want to remove mould from your clothes, you can wash them with bleach in the washing machine. Just prefer washing them with hot water instead of warm or cold waterHot water will kill and remove mould.

So, while washing your whites with bleach in the machine, follow the next steps:

  1. Add your washing powder to the detergent drawer as usual, and set the hottest temperature
  2. Once the cycle has started and the detergent is foaming, add 1 cup of chlorine bleach to the drawer. If your device has a dispenser, add up to the fill line. 
  3. Run the cycle

If your clothes have still mould, don’t dry them because the mould won’t be removed. 

Note: Don’t try to use bleach on colourful clothes because, as you can understand, it won’t remove the mould stains only, but the colour as well.

A white cloth full of mould

 It’s very difficult to maintain your whites bright and shine forever, but there are a few methods you can achieve. Along with the above techniques, you can apply some things to prevent them from fading, like: 

a) washing more often than all the other clothes
b) clean up stains ASAP
c) wash whites separately from dark and colourful ones
d) always wash them with hot water (to be sure about the right water temperature, always check the care label).

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