How do I keep white shirts looking white?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Abstract, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    There's got to be a secret. I can't keep my white shirts looking white. This includes "dressy" shirts that should be worn with a suit. What should I do? Should I just buy cheap white dress shirts and just buy a new one after 5-10 uses? It would certainly be a convenient option.

    Instead of ruining the collar of my expensive white shirt with my sweat-induced stains, should I just buy a new shirt? How about using bleach? I already use a "stain remover" on the collar and under-arm regions before throwing my shirt into the laundry machine. But apparently, that isn't enough. :confused:
  2. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    wash whites separately from all other laundry - and i mean PURE WHITE only, even a white tshirt with a picture on it goes into darks or lights; and use HOT water.
  3. annk Administrator


    Staff Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    Somewhere over the rainbow

    ...and use a detergent designed for whites, and use a stain remover on the collars if you need to (the kind you apply a few minutes before you put the clothes in the wash).

    This is how I do it, and all my whites are white, even after repeated washings. You too can achieve this. :D
  4. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    We use this stuff. Works well if it's available where you are :)
  5. scotthayes macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Birmingham, England
    I use that all the time on my white work shirts and of course a really hot wash. Sadly for white shirts you have to say "sod the environment" and wash as hot as you can.
  6. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    I would use bleach. I do that and my shirts stay white (also as said, in very hot water and only with pure whites).
    Someone told me the problem with doing that repeatedly however, is that it wears down the fabric strength, but I've been using the same white dress shirts for over a year.
  7. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603


    Aug 20, 2005
    Thank you Jah...I'm so Blessed
    Indeed, the right amount of bleach and washing separately in hot water does wonders.

  8. tkidBOSTON macrumors 6502a


    Aug 14, 2005
    The Hub of the Universe
    Try wearing undershirts with your dress shirts.
  9. takao macrumors 68040


    Dec 25, 2003
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    and for drying i may recommend using a spot in the sun as it also have a bleaching effect to some time
  10. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    dry cleaners
  11. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    Good quality shirts
    Hot water and good detergent
    occasional bleach use.
    with cheap cloth I have noticed that white shirts get this translucent grey look. ick.

    I have used OXYclean powder on my white socks to get them uber white again but I dont wear white clothes otherwise.
  12. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    So if a shirt already has sweat stains around the collar, can I "revive" it by using bleach and washing it all again and again in hot water?
    I knew that hot water was better for washing whites and washing things really clean, but I figured I'd listen to manufacturers instructions and use cold water. :mad:

    Actually, I think every shirt you buy in Australia has a tag that recommends a cold wash. Ok, so I'm never listening to the tag and using common sense from now on.
  13. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    I think the only difference between detergent for whites and regular detergent is that whites detergent contains indigo ("bluing" to some) to make whites appear whiter. Probably won't help with that ring around the collar.
  14. Ariez macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2007
    Wash seperately and use bleech. Also deodorant will discolor the underarm be careful with that.
  15. mgguy macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2006
    Don't use bleach on synthetics; it turns them yellow. Best to use bleach only on cotton apparel.
  16. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    and don't let those white shirts sit in the laundry basket for days and days before you wash them!! It's much easier to prevent discoloration and staining if you don't let them get set in the fabric
  17. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    you might damage the shirt or erode the fabric.
    just dry clean them if you really have a sweat stain problem...
  18. wickedpapercut macrumors member


    Jul 17, 2005
    HOT HOT HOT HOT water!

    I heard an interview with a manager of a pro baseball team and someone asked him how he was able to get the uniforms white after the players slide in the red clay of the infield. He said that they use water that is almost boiling hot.

    Good luck.
  19. ctsport macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2007
    buy more clothes so you don't have to wash them so often. the more wash cycles your clothes go through, the faster they deteriorate.
  20. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    Best advice yet. I have some nice Brooks Brothers white dress shirts and I don't trust myself to wash them properly, so I let the local dry cleaners do it for me. They come back all clean and nicely starched. Plus you get a free hanger... :)
  21. emmawu macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2005
    Wauwatosa, WI
    My husband only wears cotton dress shirts and he has a few white ones. We have discovered if we soak them overnight in hot water with good laundry detergent (not generic) and one half cup of oxyclean, they come out great! If you have collar or cuff stains, treat them with Shout. We generally put whites in on Friday or Saturday nights just before bed and run them first thing in the morning.

    Also, dry the white shirts separately for only five minutes. Hang up immediately with the buttons buttoned and smoothe with your hands. Saves a lot of (ugh) ironing. I know this sounds like a lot but once you get in the routine it goes pretty fast. After all, how many white shirts do you have?
  22. Abstract thread starter macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    ^^^I have only 1 white "dress" shirt, and two, short sleeve shirts with a collar and buttons running down the front. These are actually more casual. I have a few white t-shirts and a polo-style shirt.
  23. geekgirl macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2007
    You may not be able to revive it. The advice given is great, but you have to do that all that from the start to keep things white. Once you've dried a shirt that has stains, it is even harder, if not impossible, to get the stain out.


    1. Stain stick the soiled areas
    2. Wash in hot water, with detergent for whites
    3. use bleach if the fabric is natural, not synthetic (this was a new one for me)
    4. line dry if you are at all uncertain that the stain is gone

    or skip all of that and dry clean. :D
  24. ipedro macrumors 68040


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Funny how I was searching for this very question and it comes up in the forum I visit every day... about computers :p

    I too am thinking of starting to wear white shirts more often but I'm weary of having to dry clean them every time to keep them looking white and pristine.

    So the secret is wash pure whites with only other 100% white shirts in hot water and in detergent meant for whites. I've also looked around my apartment and figured that Oxyclean should help keep shirts white as well. Wish me luck!
  25. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    A dry cleaner can do a great job, but it can get expensive.

    I actually quit wearing white dress shirts for this (and other) reasons.

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