I had a robe from Bath and Body Works that had become dingy. I didn't want to buy a new one- I was ready to try anything. So, I decided to go a little bleach-crazy- I had nothing to lose, I was about to throw it out anyhow! And so I learned how to ACTUALLY whiten clothes with bleach! (Fun fact- I wrote this article nearly seven years ago- and I STILL have this robe- no holes, tears or other issues! I don't recommend this method for weak fabrics, but for sturdy fabrics!? What do you have to lose?)
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-Gather all of the clothes you want whitened (make sure they are sturdy and not delicate fabrics and that they don't have any colors at all, threads, etc.)
-Throw them in the washer on HOT and wait until it has been filled with water- then STOP the washer
-Add (believe it or not) 4-5 cups of bleach
-Allow to soak for a few hours
-Add laundry detergent and wash
You'll be shocked that what seemed un-whitenable actually turns pure white!
***If you are using CONCENTRATED bleach, please use the following directions.
-Start your washer on the hot cycle and wait until the tub has filled with hot water
-Add 2-3 cups of bleach (2 for medium load, 3 for large load)
-Allow washer to agitate for 30 seconds (allow the bleach to mix into the water)
-Add clothing you want whitened and regular detergent
-Run on the longest cycle you have available but DO NOT allow your clothing to soak in the water.
I have been using this method for YEARS now and each time I do it, I'm like "MAN! Miracle whitening and cleaning going on here! So glad I know how to do this!"
Sidenote: A few weeks after I wrote this, I started using
that I just made at home- and while bleach is good to freshen up and whiten clothes, this DIY OxyClean just blows it out of the water in terms of stain remover. DEFINITELY check it out, especially for delicate fabrics.
(As I added to the comments below, please note that this method of using bleach really is only for sturdy white fabrics, not
delicate or old fabrics. If you are in doubt, put a small piece of the shirt in
the bleach water and let it sit to see how it stands up to it. If you have any
qualms about the fabric, boil it instead in the DIY OXYCLEAN from above.)