How to Clean White Shirts

Nathan Shepard/Demand Media

It’s not easy to keep white shirts looking as clean and white as the day you bought them. White tends to show wear and stains more than darker colors, making it a challenge to clean white shirts to your satisfaction. If your shirts are starting to look more gray than white, it’s time to take steps to restore them to their original appearance. Following proper laundry techniques and promptly removing stains will ensure that your white shirts look brand new no matter when you bought them.

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Wash white shirts in a separate load using hot water. White clothes can pick up some of the colored dye from darker clothes if you don’t separate your laundry before washing.

Nathan Shepard/Demand Media

Add ½ cup of water softener, borax or washing soda to your load of whites if you have hard water. Using these additives will increase the effectiveness of the laundry detergent.

Nathan Shepard/Demand Media

Use extra laundry detergent if your clothes are very dirty, you have hard water or if you are using chlorine bleach in the load.

Nathan Shepard/Demand Media

Use chlorine bleach only if the shirt’s care label states that chlorine bleach can be used. Dilute 1 cup of bleach in 1 quart of water before adding the bleach to the washing machine.

Nathan Shepard/Demand Media

Use non-chlorine oxygen bleach on types of fabric that cannot withstand washing in chlorine bleach. MarthaStewart.com recommends using oxygen bleach rather than chlorine bleach if your water is high in iron, as the combination of iron and hot water can make your white shirts look yellow.