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

How to Wash White Clothes

White is a colour almost all of us have in our wardrobes – it’s classic, it goes with everything, and it helps to keep us cool in the hot mid summer months. Unfortunately, there is one big problem with white clothing – discolouration! Whether it’s baby drool on our shoulder, a grass stain on our trousers, or those dreaded sweat marks under our arms (well, us matic Moms do lead hectic lives!), it can be difficult to keep those white garments looking bright.

Before we realise it, our clothes are a horrible shade of grey. But they don’t have to be. Learn how to clean white clothes, and you can wave goodbye to dull, lifeless clothing. It’s time to say hello to dazzling white tops once more with these great hints and tips:

Wash White Clothes Separately

The first lesson when it comes to how to wash whites is to understand how to sort your laundry properly to reduce the risk of discolouration. When you wash your clothes, the warm water in your washing machine can flush some of the dye out of your darker garments, and this dye has to go somewhere.

In most cases, it’ll spread to three places – the drainage pipe (great!), the walls of the drum (not ideal, but easily sorted), and your clothes (bad!). This is why you end up with pink-tinted shirts and baby blue jackets when you wash your whites with brighter, bolder colours.

The trick is to only wash whites with similar items, such as other whites, creams, and beiges, for example. If you don’t have enough whites for a full load, use your washing machine’s half-load option, which uses less water and is more environmentally friendly. Many top loading machines such as this Samsung model offer a ‘small load’ setting which is great.  

Top washing tip from one of our matic Moms: “Wash white clothes after every wear to stop yellowing from perspiration or skin oils. Try adding in half a cup of baking soda to the dispenser drawer to prevent staining.”  

Washing White Clothes Regularly is Best

Do you ever have a quick smell of your clothes to decide if you can get away with wearing them again, without washing in between? Don’t be embarrassed – we all do it. While this is actually a great way to conserve water and energy, it may not be the best idea for white clothes. Notice those yellow stains in the armpits of your white tops? That’s a buildup of salt and oils from sweat, and residue from your deodorant.

Each time you wear a top without washing, you’re just adding to this buildup, and enhancing the yellow colour. Washing regularly with a good detergent is the best option for white clothes. Use a detergent such as Surf excel Liquid Detergent in your top-loading machine; this detergent is specially designed to cut through grease and oils, and remove any unsightly stains.  

One of our matic Moms recommends: “White clothes often turn yellow with constant wear. Don’t leave them lurking at the bottom of your laundry basket, make sure you put them in the wash after each wear.”  

Keep Your Washing Machine Clean

As we looked at before, dye that’s been flushed from dark clothing can settle onto the walls of the washing machine’s drum. The dye will hang out there until the next time you use your machine, when it will transfer onto your clothes through the movement and agitation of the drum. Keeping your drum clean is one of the best things you can do for white clothes, and it’s so easy to do.

Simply run your machine on an eco wash (or express wash) without any clothing, but with a small amount of detergent. Express washes can take as little as 15 minutes to complete, and it will flush out any remnants of dye, leaving you with a clean drum that’s ready to be filled with your whites load. Some of the newer machines on the market even have an automatic ‘drum clean’ setting – what could be easier?  

Sun’s Shining? Dry Outdoors!

If the sun’s shining, make the most of it. Sun acts as a natural bleach which can just give the finishing touch to white clothing. While it isn’t strong enough to cover stains and dirty marks like chemical bleach, it is excellent at creating a brighter, livelier tone, adding a touch of sparkle & shine to your clothes. Just remember not to do the same for your dark clothes, as direct sunlight can cause them to fade, and always be sure to check the care label as some fabrics may be vulnerable to high heats.  

Top tip from a matic Mom: “Never dry a garment that still has a stain. This can set the stain, causing it to become permanent.”  

Be Wary of Bleach

Bleach –  you either love it or hate it! Bleach can actually be the best way to wash white clothes because it covers any dirt, stains, and discolouration, but just be careful to follow the directions on the label, and not to use too much. If you overuse bleach, you could actually turn your clothes yellow, rather than white. Remember that you should never apply bleach directly to a garment; instead dilute it with water to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you would like more information about how to use bleach safely at home, check out this informative article.  

Here’s a handy hint from one of our matic Moms: “Use lemon juice as a natural bleach for your white cottons.”  

Stay Bright!

Follow these white clothes washing tips and you should see a big difference in the colour of your clothing. Many mums don’t even realise that their whites aren’t really white until they see the difference! Washing whites is simple once you know how, so there’s no excuse for walking around in dull, grey clothing. Matic Moms are bright, in more ways than one!   A final tip from one of our matic Moms: “It’s better to attempt spot stain removal before washing white clothes to remove stubborn stains during the wash cycle.”  

Check out our article on how to remove stains from white clothes here for more tips!