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How to make white clothes white again

Here you'll find tips for removing stains from white clothes and how to make clothes white again.

Updated

make white clothes white again

It can be harder than we would like to keep our white clothes bright and clean, especially as white is such an easy colour to stain. This guide will help you learn how to make white clothes white again and keep them looking great wear after wear.

White clothes look great when they’re brand new, but almost seem to attract stains. After removing stains from white clothes, use quality laundry products to take steps to keep your white laundry clean and fresh.

Key Steps:

  • Pre-soak as a first step in how to make white clothes white again.
  • Use products like Persil to wash your white laundry and keep it bright, clean and fresh.
  • Use lemon juice or distilled white vinegar to lift colour stains from your white clothes.

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How to make clothes white again

When it comes to understanding how to make white clothes white again, the best way is to pre-soak them. There are three key soaks you could try.

  1. Laundry detergent: Adding ¼ cup of detergent powder, like Persil,  to a sink full of warm water and soaking your white clothes for two hours before a normal wash works to whiten them.
  2. Baking soda: Dissolving one cup of baking soda in four litres of warm water makes not only a great whitening solution but also an effective deodoriser. Soak your white clothes in the solution for around eight hours before popping them in your usual wash.
  3. Lemon juice: Boil two sliced (not halved) lemons in a large stockpot of water and then remove it from the heat. Then add your white clothes to soak for an hour. The lemon juice works as a great whitener.

Removing stains from white clothes using white vinegar

If your white clothes just need a little bit of brightening and you haven’t stocked up on detergent, you can try washing them with white vinegar:

  1. Add half a cup of distilled white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine.
  2. Using your usual detergent and of course following any appropriate instructions on the care label. Have a look at our article if you’re not sure what the washing symbols mean. 
  3. Wash your whites in your washing machine.

The great thing about this method is that vinegar doesn’t bleach anything with colours in them. It also won’t leave a smell behind and will get rid of any remaining alkalinity from your detergent in the last rinse.

How to remove colour stains from white clothes using detergent

White clothes are so easy to stain, especially if a red sock or a blue shirt has found its way into a white wash. Here’s how to deal with colour stains using a good detergent:

  1. Pop a capsule in your washing machine, then put your white laundry in there.
  2. Wash on a normal cycle at 40°C.
  3. Let the clothes air-dry, preferably in sunlight as the sun’s rays can help bleach the stains.
  4. Spot-check for any remaining stains. If you find any, you can pre-treat the stains with a little Persil Bio Liquid for 15–30 minutes before washing again.

Alternative methods to removing colour stains from white clothes

These steps using lemon juice or distilled white vinegar will help remove colour stains from your white clothes.

  1. Dab the lemon juice or distilled white vinegar directly onto the stain.
  2. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the stain for a couple of minutes.
  3. Leave the liquid to soak for up to ten more minutes.
  4. Rinse out the liquid.
  5. Wash your clothes as normal.

Alternatively, if you have a stain that is still wet and fresh you can rub a little salt into it, which will help to absorb the moisture and lift away the stain whilst still in its liquid state.

Now you have all the tips you need for removing stains from white clothes and steps for how to make clothes white again you will be able to rejuvenate your wardrobe and keep your white laundry as bright as ever from wash to wear.    

Frequently asked questions on making white clothes white again

How can I make pink clothes white again?

Remove the colour-bled garment from the washing machine. Put the pink stained clothes back into the washing machine and add one cup of non-chlorine bleach to your wash cycle.

How can I make baby clothes white again?

Soak your clothes in white distilled vinegar and bicarbonate of soda overnight before washing them normally.

Can you get pink stains out of white clothes?

Adding a cup of non-chlorine bleach or white distilled vinegar to your wash cycle, with your regular detergent, should remove any pink stains. If this doesn't work, soak the stain in oxygen-based bleach and cold water overnight.

Can I make white clothes white again without bleach?

Yes! Using white distilled vinegar in your washing machine will work the same as bleach.

What will make dull white clothes white again?

You can use white distilled vinegar in the fabric conditioner compartment of your washing machine with your regular detergent. Alternatively, soaking your clothes in two slices of lemon and hot water should naturally brighten white clothes.

Originally published