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A woman checking her lacy knickers as she removes them from the washing machine.

Dirty Secrets: Tips for Washing White Clothes

That awful moment: white shirt, red sauce… you just know what happens next. Or maybe it’s a white jacket and blue ink; a white tablecloth and a beaker of orange juice; white jeans and a muddy puddle. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be your job to try to get that stain out. Time for some tips on washing white clothes! 

Removing Stains from White Clothes

One cunning laundry-science trick for washing whites is to use a lemon to help remove stains. The juice is a mild, natural bleach – good news for sensitive young skin. Squeeze the juice of the lemon onto the stain and leave it to work for about 15-30 minutes before rinsing out.  

Bring Me Sunshine

You can intensify the bleaching effects of the lemon juice by leaving the garment in the sun for a couple of hours while the juice gets to work (the UV rays will help the stain fade further).  

Other Bleaches for Washing Whites

Blackcurrant juice spilt right down the front of a party dress? Pen leaked in a shirt pocket? White items can also be soaked in a solution of 20% volume hydrogen peroxide (available in chemists), diluted 1 part to 6 parts cold water. This solution is ideal for bleaching stains. Or you could use a small, concentrated amount of Surf excel Liquid Detergent directly onto the stain, and then leave it for 15-30 minutes to work its magic.  

Finish with a Wash

Once you’re happy that you’ve got as much of the stain out as you can, rinse the garment well then wash as normal – by hand or in a machine with Surf excel Liquid Detergent If the stain is still visible after washing, repeat the process straight away. It is much, much easier to remove a loose, damp stain than one that has dried deep into the fabric.  

Everyday Whiteness

For many moms, the challenge of keeping the family’s whites really sparkling in spite of the daily grime they are exposed to can be a point of pride, a feat for which they deserve a medal. To maintain everyday whiteness, and send your children out in t-shirts that do you proud, we recommend washing whites using Surf excel.

And remember to always wash whites separately from coloured items so they can’t be contaminated by other colours or end up looking a bit grey. If you use a washing machine, make sure you keep the machine clean too otherwise build-up of dirt inside might end up being transferred to the clothes.

Find out how to clean a washing machine here. And if it’s convenient, try to hang clothes up to dry as soon as possible after washing – damp clothes can attract bacteria, and even mould, causing discolouration and a musty smell.

For more expert laundry tips on how to get stains out of white clothes, visit our stain removal section.