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Picture of jeepdarla
posted
What is your favorite product or method for keeping your whites white in the laundry?

I have always used Clorox and a hot water wash. My whites still get dingy over time and the bleach does rot the fabric. I would like to try something else since my husband just bought new socks and underwear.

Need something for towels,socks, husbands underwear,hankies.

Any advice?
 
Posts: 3100 | Location: kentucky | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of lady of shallot
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You can use washing soda. Just like baking soda and made by Arm and Hammer but called "washing" difficult to find sometimes but you can get it through Amazon.

My method for using bleach (which I do for every white load and have all my life) is to put about a 1/2 inch layer in the bottom of an old plastic bottle which is the same size and shape as a quart bottle of milk. I then add water to the bottle, put it in the machine as it is filling and add my detergent at this time. A little bleach often is better than a lot seldom.

But for drastic stains, I use a strong solution of bleach in a small basin, watch it closely (never leave more than a couple of minutes) the second the stain is gone, I yank the material out and rinse copiously with clear water.

Drying in the sun helps everything.
 
Posts: 12496 | Registered: Jun 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Becky56
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For some whites such as 100% cottons, such as socks and underwear, I have never found an acceptable substitute for chlorine bleach. Everything gets dingy over time, but these items will get dingy much faster if you don't bleach them.
 
Posts: 3255 | Location: Bama G.R.I.T.S. | Registered: Jun 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of still tryin
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Borax added along with detergent and not using too much detergent. I wash whites in warm water and use a detergent that doesn't have optical brighteners.
 
Posts: 2647 | Registered: Jan 08, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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Local water supplies vary as far as minerals, and that can cause graying of whites too.

I also use 20 mule team borax with every white load, stopped using chlorine bleach a decade ago. It never got things whiter, just caused the fabric to deteriorate. Since using the borax and warm water washes (with HE detergent) in HE washers, my DH's older whites show no difference from a brand new opened package of white t-shirts or white crew socks. That is what I have found anyway and hardly ever have a use for Chlorine bleach any more. (except to kill algae in the birdbath)
 
Posts: 9595 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Have to agree with Conrad ~ gave up on the bleach some years ago and switched to the old 20 mule box. Not sure if it really cleans any better but it sure smells better.... Cool
 
Posts: 6492 | Registered: Jan 01, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of lady of shallot
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quote:
Local water supplies vary as far as minerals


I wanted to say this too but forgot. In my hometown of Syracuse new york you could not work up suds no matter what you used (bathing etc or laundry) Here I can use very little detergent and/or soap.
 
Posts: 12496 | Registered: Jun 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of KeepYouInStitches
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I HAVE to use bleach in the husband's tidy whities. I just canNOT not use bleach...not just for whitening, but also for germs.

I've heard before that bleach rots fabrics. I was also told that starch rots fabrics. I have dresser scarves and doilies that my great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and aunt made - as well as a few of my own. They were not only bleached, but also starched time after time after time. When my mother died last year, she still had sheets that were used on beds when I was growing up - I'll be 60 in August. (ARRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!) They were bleached weekly.

I personally think the key is rinsing thoroughly. If in doubt, rinse again.

One of BFFs favorite nostalgic 'aromas' is bleach in freshly laundered linens. She said it reminds her of her mother's sheets - and knowing that everything is CLEAN.
 
Posts: 16918 | Location: Daingerfield, TX | Registered: Feb 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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Chlorine bleach is especially hard on elastics and blends in fabrics, and deterioration of the cotton fabrics can depend on the actual concentration of bleach and soaking time too. I am sure adequate rinsing has something to do with the whole thing also. The front loading or top loader HE washers seem to do this better with multiple rinses, at least in my experience. My DM used bluing in the rinse (I still have an almost full bottle from 20 years ago) to help retain the bright white.

But that is a whole other thread, we won't go into.

Sunlight is a natural bleaching and deodorizing agent also, but not very many clothes lines hung any more.
 
Posts: 9595 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of lady of shallot
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quote:
but not very many clothes lines hung any more.


They do at my house Conrad. Just took a load off the line this morning. DD got me a retractable clothes line for Xmas so our yard can still look nice when not in use.

Laundry/ironing are my favorite chores and I love the smell of line dried sheets etc.
 
Posts: 12496 | Registered: Jun 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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Our clothes line unfortunately came down with a large locust tree we lost. So I agree with the wonderful smell of sheets hung out on the line, and miss that a lot. Because we plan to sell/move hopefully sooner than later, we have not put up another, seems young buyers think the lines are very old fashioned. My DD thinks sheets hung outdoors smell funny, (she prefers dryer sheet smells). Heard that many home owner associations even have covenants against outdoor clothes lines?

In CO, the storms and wind can often come up suddenly, so the sheets may be in the next 20 acres, if you don't take them in in time! But stuff dries so fast here, I may have to put up one of those collapsible umbrella types (well anchored), and just be sure to watch it. Wink
 
Posts: 9595 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of jeepdarla
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Thanks for the suggestions. I will look for both the borax and the washing soda and give them each a try.

I am one that dislikes the smell of bleach. It seems like when I smell it...it stays in my nose. I believe I will still have to use it on dish cloths and dishtowels. They do need the germ killing!

I had clothes lines (and used them) for many years. I always enjoyed spending a few minutes outside hanging out a load before going to work.
I wouldn't mind doing it again but it seems like some things - like socks and underwear,tee shirts - need the heat of the dryer to sort of shrink the cotton back in to shape after washing.

My mother quit using bleach because she couldn't get the cap off the bottle when they went to the safety caps
 
Posts: 3100 | Location: kentucky | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Bozie
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quote:
Need something for towels,socks, husbands underwear,hankies.


I like Oxyclean for those things. I put a scoop of it in a plastic bucket - add hot water to the approximately one gallon mark and stir. Then sort the laundry and toss any of the white/light stuff that needs it into the bucket to soak. Wash the dark stuff first. When the first load is finished (about 1 hour) I dump the contents of the bucket in with other light colored stuff and do a load of white/light. The whites come out really white and I don't see fading of colors or disintegration of fabric as I have seen in the past with chlorine bleaches. Maybe I wasn't using them correctly. In any case this works well for me. Smile


Martha

 
Posts: 7073 | Location: Montana | Registered: Mar 25, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was going to say oxyclean, too, tough I swear they've changed the formula within these past few years and not for the better.
 
Posts: 6082 | Registered: Feb 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of nettiejay
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quote:
Originally posted by Charcoalsmom:
... I swear they've changed the formula within these past few years and not for the better.

It's my theory that mnfr's sometimes reduce the amount of active ingredients as a way to save production costs, so you get a diluted product for the same or higher price.

I've never been a fan of Oxyclean. I prefer Clorox 2 color safe powder over Oxy for presoaking stained whites and colors. I ran the math years ago and found Clorox much cheaper per use than the heavily advertised Oxy. Not sure if it still is as cost effective, but now I'm in the habit and too old to change. Wink

Also, I know that some white fabrics are simply inferior quality foreign cottons that will never stay white no matter what you do. I have some little-used white bath towels that I throw in the white undies load. The majority of the whites - including some much older white wash cloths and towels - comes out looking fine, but these newer towels become yellower with each washing. It clearly isn't anything I'm doing or else all the whites would be off.
 
Posts: 4476 | Location: zone 6b, Missouri | Registered: Sep 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nettie, oxyclean put something blue into their mix. It foams more than it used to and the bubbles are bluish in color and they LEAVE a stain. Plus, it just doesn't seem to work as well as it did in the past. I used mine mainly for cleaning spots off the carpet--it was just fabulous--and now, often the spots aren't gone like they used to be.
 
Posts: 6082 | Registered: Feb 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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Did a bit of research on oxyclean. Sodium Carbonate (washing soda) and hydrogen peroxide are mixed to create what seems to be the active ingredient in the original oxyclean, if I understand the chemistry.

I often use wound dressing type of hydrogen peroxide to remove unknown or dried protein/organic stains from fabric (blood, meat juice, egg, etc) Apply it straight and let it set a bit, then wash. (First learned it here on these boards, btw)
At first I was afraid to use it on anything but white fabrics, but I have never had it bleach out any colorfast clothing.
 
Posts: 9595 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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CM, there are recipes on-line to make your own. You might want to try that.
 
Posts: 6960 | Location: North MN & Northern AR | Registered: Oct 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Conrad, I too use bleach in the birdbath, but i also keep a couple of 2-3 inch copper piping in it, stalls the formation of algae and gives the birds an extra perch
 
Posts: 482 | Location: Cape Cod  | Registered: Oct 24, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of conrad
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Thanks, I have been meaning to try the copper tubing too. I believe I still have some around here somewhere?
 
Posts: 9595 | Location: Plains & Mountains | Registered: Jun 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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