How do I keep white shirts looking white?

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macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
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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:
 

annk

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 18, 2004
13,828
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Somewhere over the rainbow
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.

...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
 
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killerrobot

macrumors 68020
Jun 7, 2007
2,220
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127.0.0.1
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.
 
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carbonmotion

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2004
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0
San Francisco, CA
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:
dry cleaners
 
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Leareth

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2004
1,569
6
Vancouver
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.
 
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Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
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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.
 
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Ariez

macrumors regular
Jul 20, 2007
138
1
Wash seperately and use bleech. Also deodorant will discolor the underarm parts...so be careful with that.
 
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mgguy

macrumors 6502
Dec 26, 2006
479
1,155
Don't use bleach on synthetics; it turns them yellow. Best to use bleach only on cotton apparel.
 
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Macky-Mac

macrumors 68030
May 18, 2004
2,606
1,205
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
 
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jng

macrumors 65816
Apr 6, 2007
1,012
0
Germany
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.
you might damage the shirt or erode the fabric.
just dry clean them if you really have a sweat stain problem...
 
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wickedpapercut

macrumors member
Jul 17, 2005
81
46
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.
 
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ctsport

macrumors newbie
Oct 28, 2007
27
0
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.
 
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emmawu

macrumors 6502
Jan 19, 2005
277
0
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?
 
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Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
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.
 
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geekgirl

macrumors regular
Sep 26, 2007
138
2
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.
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.

So:

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
 
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ipedro

macrumors 601
Nov 30, 2004
4,805
5,292
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!
 
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