When we go shopping for white clothing, be it a white T-shirt, or a white dress, we search for the best, going for the brightest and whitest material we can find, and then going home feeling accomplished. Then, after wearing it for some time, the brightness fades and the whiteness vanishes.
If you are unlucky, the white gets yellowish on your very first wear. Luckily, bleach can help you brighten your clothes and there are a few tricks you can use to bleach these clothes without hassle.
How to bleach your clothes
Bleaching can help return the brightness and whiteness of your white clothes, making them look as though they were new. Here are seven ways you can bleach your clothes.
1. Use Chlorine bleach
A chlorine-based compound called sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient in chlorine bleach and it is effective in fighting tough stains in clothes. To use a chlorine bleach two methods are recommended; spot treatment and soaking treatment.
Spot treatment is recommended when the stain is at a spot on the white cloth. So instead of bleaching the whole fabric, you handle just the spot of the stain. To do this follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Place a clean cotton rag on your working table; ensure that the rag is thick because you will need it to absorb the excess bleach.
Step 2: Place the cloth on the rag with the stain facing the rag directly. If the stain is on a shirt, then you will have to place the rag in between the shirt’s two layers.
Step 3: Make a solution of bleach and water, and since it’s a spot treatment, you will need a small quantity — one teaspoon of water to two cups of water should do.
Step 4: Dip in the edge of a clean white cloth you don’t mind using or a ball of cotton wool into the mixture and apply it to the stain. Rub it gently inwardly to prevent the stain from spreading. Wash the cloth as normal once the stain disappears.
In soaking treatment you are dealing with a bigger stain than spot treatment can’t handle. Here’s how to go about it below:
Step 1: Separate the soiled white cloth from colored clothes. Bleaching colored clothes together with white clothes will transfer color from the former to the latter.
Step 2: Check the cloth’s tag to know if bleaching is allowed on that fabric. Because the cloth is white doesn’t mean bleaching it is allowed. Bleaching might end up destroying it.
Step 3: Turn up the washing machine to hot if your machine comes with that feature. If it doesn’t, boil some water. Bleaching clothes with hot water helps activate the bleach for better performance.
Step 4: Add detergent to the water you have prepared. Measure 3/4 cup of bleach and add to your water or your dispenser if you are using a washing machine.
Step 5: Stock in your white clothes and turn on your machine. If you are washing by hand, allow the clothes to soak for about 15-20 minutes before washing. Then rinse and dry clothes as usual.
Note: Don’t mix chlorine bleach with vinegar or any substance containing ammonia; they produce dangerous fumes bad together.
2. Use Distilled Vinegar
Distilled vinegar has proven to not just belong in the kitchen, but also in the laundry room. Distilled vinegar whitens and brightens clothes and also softens fabric. Follow these directions to use vinegar as a bleach: add 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar to a basin and stir. Soak your white clothes and leave for some hours, if possible overnight. Wash and rinse clothes as usual, and then dry them.
3. Use Baking soda
Like vinegar, baking soda is another effective household ingredient that you can use to bleach your clothes. All you have to do is follow the instructions below:
Step 1: Pour your normal amount of detergent into a bowl of water. Mix in 1/2 cup of baking soda and make sure it dissolves
Step 2: Soak in your cloth and wait for a few minutes before washing as usual
4. Use Lemon
Lemon contains acid just like vinegar and provides the same natural bleaching action. They can brighten and whiten clothes just like vinegar does. All you need to do is:
Step 1: Cut 1-2 pieces of lemon into slices, put the lemon into a pot of boiling water, and turn off the heat.
Step 2: Soak your white clothes in the water and allow them to sit in for a few hours if possible overnight for the best action.
Step 3: Check the cloth tag to make sure clothes can handle hot water. Then rinse and wash clothes as usual.
5. Use Oxygen bleach
Oxygen bleach is one way you can bleach. To use Oxygen bleach, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Make a solution, mixing oxygen bleach with warm water. Soak the stained clothes in it for at least four hours or overnight.
Step 2: Rinse the cloth with water and dry.
6. Use Hydrogen peroxide
For this method, you need to take a short trip to your first aid box because in there lies a powerful bottle with hidden abilities. Hydrogen peroxide can whiten and brighten clothes. All you need to do is:
Step 1: Add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to your washing load through your washer’s dispenser and wash as usual.
Step 2: If you are washing by hand you might need to pour it in before soaking your clothes so that it dispenses evenly. Rinse the washed clothes with warm water
Hydrogen peroxide can be mixed with baking soda for an even stronger result.
7. Bluing Liquid
Bluing liquid is an old-fashioned product used to brighten and whiten white clothes. Bluing liquid contains Prussian blue or ferric ferrocyanide, and water combined; it keeps the clothes sparkling white.
Bluing adds a trace of blue iron pigment that makes the fabric appear whiter to the human eye. It can be added during the washing or rinse cycle of your laundry. To add to your laundry, add 1/4 teaspoon if you are adding it during the washing cycle or 1/8 teaspoon for a rinse cycle.
How to bleach colored clothes
Any of our clothes can get stained be it white, red, pink, or blue. As colored fabrics contain dyes, not all methods listed above would be appropriate for bleaching, and following them might damage your cloth by fading its color.
However, to bleach-colored clothes, you can use non-chlorine bleach, also known as oxygen bleach. This bleach doesn’t contain sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient in chlorine bleach. They are less aggressive to clothes and therefore safe for some colored clothes.
Before using a non-chlorine bleach on a piece of colored fabric, test a bit of the bleach on a hidden part of the fabric to make sure it doesn’t bleach. After a few minutes, if the color is still intact then, it is safe; to use non-chlorine bleach, follow these instructions: add a 3/4 mixture of the bleach to a bowl of water with some laundry detergent.
Sock your clothes and leave for a few minutes. Non-chlorine bleach works slower than chlorine bleach so you might need to be patient. Once the stain is gone you wash and rinse as usual.