Keeping your whites white (and other laundry tips)!

First up I have to say that I am in no way a laundry expert. If I see something that needs treating before I wash it, I will do that. But if I miss it, well, there’s always next week. And if there is a stain I can’t get out because I have no idea what it is, or I’ve missed it a couple of times and it is now set, that’s too bad. As long as our clothes are washed I am happy. School shirts that get the odd paint or pen stains on them are fine. But clothes that we may wear out to a function or some other special event need to look good. So it’s best to get into a routine that keeps your clothes looking their best.

I am going to focus on keeping your whites white, because my son’s school shirts are white and I tend to wear mainly white t-shirts (which of course I jazz up with a fantastic necklace from Something special by Fiona, aka me!).

Here’s a teaser for you:

 White shirts

White school shirts

At the beginning of this year I bought new school shirts. So they have been worn a handful of times each. I also bought some at the beginning of last year. They have been worn a lot more than a handful of times. The photos above show four new and four old shirts, can you tell whether the new ones are on the left or the right? Answer at bottom of post.

Here’s an example of how the sports shirt often ends up looking after a play in the park on a Friday afternoon:

school shirts

dirty school shirt

Looks good, doesn’t it!!

In my laundry I have a bucket of water with some generic laundry soaker. All white shirts get thrown in here during the week. On the weekend I spray any stains that I have noticed with my homemade pre-wash stain remover, and throw into the washing machine. I wash generally at 40C, as I read somewhere that you need the water to be at least body temperature to cut through sweat stains. Seems a fair call to me. Towels and bedding I wash at 80C. Then I hang outside in the sunshine (hopefully there is some!). Sunshine is a natural bleach, and often if there is a hint of a stain still on your clothes, it will be gone once it has dried in the sun.

Now, back to the laundry soaker. Most people have a preferred brand that they believe works better than anything else. I read a hint that it pays to look at the active ingredients of these products. So when I went shopping this week I did a little investigating:

Laundry soaker

This is a random selection from my local Aldi and Woolworths. You may not be able to see terribly well, but the active ingredient in all these laundry soakers is Sodium Percarbonate, with a concentration ranging from 25.7% (Napisan Vanish OxiAction Crystal White) to 34.6% (both White King Triple Enzyme Stain Remover, and Woolworths Select Boost). And the price ranges from around $2.50 up to about $10. Remember that this is a just a small selection of products, however I know how much I would prefer to be paying!

For those with sunscreen stain issues, I have found that my stain remover does work on those. Another hint I saw recently was to soak in 1 litre of water with 2 tablespoons of citric acid AFTER washing, not before, then hang to dry. I haven’t tried this one, if anyone has please share if it worked for you 🙂

For other stubborn stains that you need help with (that my stain remover doesn’t remove), I’ve found Shannon Lush to be rather an expert, so do a search for one of her books.

As for the laundry liquid I use in the washing machine – keep watch for my next post!

PS For those still wondering, the four shirts on the left are new, the four on the right are old. While you may have been able to work that out, I was still impressed at the whiteness of the ‘old’ shirts compared to the new.

What are your tricks for keeping your clothes clean?

* Linking up with A Tray of Bliss

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One thought on “Keeping your whites white (and other laundry tips)!

  1. Pingback: Three Ingredient Homemade Laundry Liquid That Works! | Saw it, pinned it, did it!

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