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How to whiten whites without bleach?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi there
I have a bunch of clothing that used to be white, but is now yellowish and not-white. How do you all whiten stuff without bleaching with nasty chemicals. The clothing in question is mostly cotton (business shirts etc) and is in good condition otherwise, so I don't feel like throwing out or giving away.
TIA
post #2 of 17
Have you tried vinegar? Or peroxide?
post #3 of 17
and a few days of sun.
post #4 of 17
I've heard lemon juice works, but haven't tried it..
post #5 of 17
Sunshine does work wonders! Since it is summer for you I bet you have plenty (and I'm only a little jealous lol)
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK I will give vinegar a try. It's through not lack of sunlight anyway lol I only ever line dry and my biggest problem is destruction of fibres from too much UV I think. My clothes pegs shatter at regular intervals
I would like a little more of this..: just quietly then I could hide my icky yellow clothing under nice woolly knitted items
post #7 of 17
what's wrong with using bleach? it's good. but don't use too much coz it will damage the clothes.
post #8 of 17
What about oxygen bleaches? Oxyclean type stuff. Or good Borax?
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger21 View Post
what's wrong with using bleach? it's good. but don't use too much coz it will damage the clothes.
Chlorine is a pretty nasty respiratory toxin and is linked to asthma and heart problems. It's best to avoid. It's listed in the Clean Air Act as a hazardous pollutant.
post #10 of 17
I like OxyClean too (is that toxic?) and also use Borax sometimes. I just read online today that 1/2 cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle can help whiten whites and brighten colors too. I haven't tried that myself though. Let us know what you find out! Hey, you could do an experiment with different alternatives to bleach and report back!
post #11 of 17
I've been using peroxide and have had good luck with it.
post #12 of 17
I'm a huge peroxide fan. I use it on al o four stains. It is great on colors. DD gets chocolate on almost every shirt she wears!
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I tried vinegar with no noticeable improvement. Is peroxide nasty? i have no idea. it sounds like it means business lol....
I wonder if my problem is too much sunshine making things yellow? I leave things out all day in direct sun, with a great big old hole in the ozone layer right over them.
post #14 of 17
I ditto the peroxide.
post #15 of 17
I found this tip online:

Get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in the articles. Let soak overnight.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
oooh ok hot vinegar. i'll give it a go next week. ummmmm *domestically challenged alert* boiling hot water won't kill a cotton shirt? I only ever wash in cold so get nervous around hot water. Oh well, they're not really wearable anyway so if they die so be it.....
post #17 of 17
I read a thing in Martha Stewart Living last night on this- she said to bring a large pot of water to a boil, then to put the water into a basin in the sink and add 8oz of oxygen bleach powder (she recommended Bi-O-Kleen's version). Then add your clothes and let them soak until the water is cool enough for you to handle (maybe an hour). Then wring them out and launder as usual.

There's also this tip on her site that is similar:
http://www.marthastewart.com/article...ing-clothes_p3
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