how to wash white clothes

How to wash white clothes? There are a few simple rules that should be followed:

  • Washing whites with colors is always a no-no;
  • Use a powder laundry detergent with bleach for all whites except patterned whites;
  • The correct temperature to wash whites in is the warmest water temperature the fabric can tolerate;
  • Dry white delicates on low heat, or hang outside to dry.

Not too difficult, right?

Here's how to wash whites - from regular-wear clothes like shirts and pants to towels, socks and bed sheets - safely from start to a bright, clean finish.

choosing what temperature to wash whites in.

The wash temperature for laundry is important: it will have a direct affect on how clean your whites get and is key to keeping the fabrics looking like they did when you bought them.

The best temperature to wash whites in is easily determined by the fabric itself:

  • use hot water for white clothes including towels, bed sheets, socks and sweatshirts;
  • wash whites in warm water if they're cotton, rayon, or other manmade fabric; or if the garment is a combination of natural and manmade fabrics;
  • use the cold wash cycle for delicate items like sheer blouses and shirts, undergarments, and swimsuits.

wash white clothes in hot water if they're made of sturdy fabrics.

Wash white clothes in hot water if they're made of sturdy fabrics - such as towels, sheets, socks, and sweatshirts. Check the care label if you're unsure. (A hot water wash is 130 degrees F. and above; 54 degrees C.)

Washing clothes in hot water is essential for those items that are heavily used, or are prone to mold and mildew growth (such as towels and wash cloths.)

Detergent and bleach together are key to fully removing these along with any stains on your laundry.

The chlorine in bleach helps remove stains by converting soils into colorless, soluble particles which are easily removed by detergents, then carried away in the wash water. 

Bleach can also brighten and whiten dingy clothes and help remove stubborn, older stains.

The single exception to bleaching white clothes: patterned whites.

For these, you'll want to use an alternative bleach or none at all to keep those patterns bright. 

wash white clothes in warm water if they're moderately soiled or are synthetic blends.

Wash white clothes in warm water if they're moderately soiled, are lined, and if they're made of synthetic fibers or natural and synthetic blends. (Warm water wash temperature is 90 degrees F.; 32 degrees C.)

Use a laundry detergent with bleach alternative, which doesn't contain any chlorine bleach so it is safe for all washable fabrics, and is designed to keep white clothes white.

The easiest way to do this is to choose the permanent press cycle. What is a permanent press wash cycle?

It is a setting that will wash clothes in warm water and rinse them in cool water, maintaining a mild agitation and spin. A warm machine wash will also help relax creases, while the slower spin cycle prevents new wrinkles from forming. 

It's gentler than a regular cycle, making it a good choice for synthetic fibers like polyester, rayon, and knits. Because it doesn't use hot water, a permanent press cycle will also reduce shrinking and color fading. 

choose the cold wash cycle for delicates like sheer blouses, undergarments and swimsuits.

Choose the cold wash cycle for delicate whites, such as sheer blouses, shirts, undergarments, and swimsuits. (A cold machine wash temperature is 80 degrees F.; 27 degrees C.)

Be sure to read the care label on delicate fabrics to check whether the manufacturer suggests machine washing. (Otherwise, you'll need to wash these items by hand to be safe.) 

Use a gentle laundry detergent without additives.

Wash sheer whites in your machine's delicate or gentle cycle. Dry delicates in the machine on a low setting - or lay flat to dry.

If possible, hang or place white delicates in the sun. It will help keep your delicates as white as possible.

› How to Wash White Clothes


Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below.