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Old 03-07-2004, 11:11 PM
BrianS BrianS is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Kansas
Posts: 158
Best way to get "whiter white" clothes without damaging the fabric?

What's the best way to get "whiter whites" when doing the wash?

My mom swears against bleach, saying that it eats the elastic out of socks and hurts the fabric in general.

I've tried using Oxy Clean, which didn't do squat. I've also tried Clorox 2, but that didn't do much either.

Help would be appreciated.
Old 03-07-2004, 11:32 PM
Askance Askance is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 7,037
Here in Oz we swear by Napisan, originally developed for nappies (= US daipers) but now in general use. Certainly works well for me.

Soak in one lidful and hot water for at least a day, then do a normal wash. Voila!

I don't know if there's a precise US equivalent but you can get Napisan here .
Old 03-07-2004, 11:35 PM
Squink Squink is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Yes
Posts: 20,327
If you have hard water, a scoop of Borax will do wonders for the effectiveness of regular detergents.
Your mom's right about bleach and elastic, but the stuff is OK for occasional use on many whites. It takes a while for fabric to build up a dingey look, so once every ten or so washes should do the job.
Old 03-07-2004, 11:40 PM
Askance Askance is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
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A better link for Napisan, including directions and usage tips, here.
Old 03-08-2004, 12:02 AM
Maryellen Maryellen is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 75
Sometimes the cleanest whites will look gray or yellowed, even though they're spotless. Bleach can't help you at that point. A "laundry bluing" product will make the the grimy, gray, or yellow undertones disappear and the white looks really whiter and brighter. It's a blue-rinse that actually DOES deposit some blue onto the white, and makes the white...whiter. Maybe try some out with old socks or a t-shirt to see how it works first. Don't overdo the measurement they recommend, or the blue will be noticeable.

I've used this product a lot (got it from a catalog), but I'm sure there's something similar at the supermarket.
Old 03-08-2004, 03:53 AM
Hunter Hawk Hunter Hawk is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 3,615
Originally Posted by BrianS
I've tried using Oxy Clean, which didn't do squat.
ISTR that Oxy Clean has a surprisingly low amount of the active ingredient, so you might want to try a similar product from a different company (if you do a web search, you'll find some pages that rate the different products). I've used this stuff and it seemed to work pretty well. Not perfectly, but a heckuva lot than my standard detergent-with-bleach.
Old 03-08-2004, 09:25 AM
Lambo Lambo is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Morris, MN
Posts: 368
In high school, I played football. We had white practice (and game) pants, which would, naturally, get extremely dirty during an average practice, especially as it got later in the fall and there would be more rain and snow. While all my teammates would just wear the pants every practice without washing, my mother wasn't into it. Every week, after the Friday game, I would bring home all my game clothes to wash. We would soak all my whites (pants, socks, etc) overnight in a bucket of warm water with a healthy dose of Cascade dishwashing powder dissolved into it (I never measured how much I put in, but it was a good amount, and it was into a 5 gallon bucket, so it was probably a pretty high concentration). After a good soaking overnight, we would throw everything into a warm wash with regular detergent. Everything would come out very bright and clean.

Also, the elastic in the socks held up very well, as did the spandex in the tights I wore in cold weather.
Old 03-08-2004, 09:47 AM
Amp Amp is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 4,348
I use Mrs. Stewart's Laundry Bluing. Hard to find but it makes the clothes look whiter. As a side benefit you can use it to grow a crystal garden.
Old 03-08-2004, 12:08 PM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: California
Posts: 8,088
OxiClean IS NapiSan, more or less. Both are sodium percarbonate bleaches, with some other stuff. If you're just not getting enough percarbonate in your wash, you can buy it and add it yourself:
Old 03-08-2004, 01:12 PM
j666 j666 is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Away for a while
Posts: 6,362
Are they yellow (problem is hard water) or grey (problem is really dirty clothes)?

Soak clothes in room teperature water with detergent and borax; rinse, with borax if the clothes are really dirty.

Re-wash (put do NOT soak) with very warm/hot water and chlorine bleach and borax; rinse with borax; then rinse with Mrs. Stewarts (the only blueing I've ever seen in stores).

Do you want a white shirt that looks dingy for a really long time, or a nice new white shirt every year?

On the other hand, do you care if your underwear is very white?


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