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Old 12-20-2010, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Rural, frozen tundra, thru the holidays...
2,616 posts, read 2,276,000 times
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I have 1/2-dozen white shirts I haven't worn for 10-yrs (they had minimal use back when I purchased them), but would like to wear now for work. Most are 62% cotton, 34% poly & 4% spandex... 1 is 95% cotton & 5% nylon. All the tags say to machine wash, no bleach, tumble dry, light iron.

After 10-years of just taking up closet space, they've really yellowed. I didn't realize how much 'til I bought a new white blouse & next to these, wow... comparing lemons to snowballs. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but has anyone had success with whitening cotton/poly blends? I'd like to hear from those who have actually done this successfully, rather than just gathering a list of suggested products to buy & try... that gets very pricey as I'll likely not use them for anything else.

Thanks very much. Merry Christmas, All!
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
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I bleach cotton blends all the time and honestly it does not seem to cause any problems. Start with 1 cup bleach for an average size load and make sure you have only whites in the load. After your shirts have reached the desired whiteness (one wash should probably do it), I'd add a little bleach ( 1/2 cup) to every white load of wash and your whites hould stay white that way. Give it a try - if you haven't worn those shirts in 10 years, you have nothing to lose :-).

Last edited by Cattknap; 12-21-2010 at 07:35 AM..
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,360 posts, read 10,442,961 times
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Electric Dishwasher Detergent. The cheap powder kind. I am an RN and the old days we had to wear white. I found that bleach will yellow clothes if used with every washing. Electric Dishwasher Detergent will take out the yellow. Wash the shirts in hot water and add a cup of powder dish washer detergent with the laundry dtergent. They will come out white white. Even clothes that you usually wash with bleach can be whiter if you wash them once in a while with dishwasher detergent.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
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I disagree completely that bleach with every load will yellow clothing....it is the amount of bleach that you use that yellows clothing. Using bleach will get your clothing white for sure. Dishwashing detergent has lye in it...not sure if I want to use that with anything that is delicate or that goes next to my skin.
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Rural, frozen tundra, thru the holidays...
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Some great info here, thank you both.

Shane, my mum worked in a nursing home, I was too young to remember what she did to special treat her uniforms & she doesn't remember details... but, I do remember the extra care she had to give those polyester demons. One thing she said is never dry them in a dryer (the heat yellows poly, she said... not sure if that's true, because funnily enough, we never have a clothes dryer) but place them on hangers to dry. I still handwash most shirts & hang them to dry.

She'd have separate buckets with some sort of chemicals in water with uniforms soaking, sometimes overnight & it seemed every couple of weeks she had to spend 1/2 a Saturday just treating & washing uniforms. Not sure if it was for stains or yellowing, but I guess wearing all white in a rainy, snowy northeastern town is always a challenge. Also, 30-yrs ago, we didn't have the products we had today, so her methods were probably kitchen remedies. I will give your dishwasher detergent suggestion a try... may I ask, do you also use laundry detergent with it or just the electric DD?

Catt... I do remember my mum saying bleach sometimes yellows whites (I never knew what she meant, because it's a whitening agent, no??)... again she doesn't remember any more, but maybe that's what she was referring to in using too much? I never use bleach as I'm a migrainer & can't stand the smell, but many of my whites are yellowed, maybe as I don't use bleaching agents... I recently bought some. I put 1-C in with a load of whites & some whitened amazingly well & others are the same. I checked labels to see if it was the 100% cottons that whitened & the blends didn't, but there was no pattern & some tags are also long gone.

Perhaps, as I hadn't worn many of the shirts in so many years (nothing wrong with them, just worked tech jobs where I didn't need to wear suits/white button downs any longer) that they just stayed in the back of my closet. My mum recently said I should have periodically washed them, but I had no idea air could yellow whites & I needed to wash unworn clothes??

My mum said if they don't whiten to dye them black... I've done it before with success, but since most of my wardrobe resides in the dark, wool vampire-ish realm because I lived in freezing environs for many years, I'm now living in CA so I'd like to lighten up my look a bit... I scare the old ladies at Ralph's when I shop after dark. Dying darker will be a very last resort.

Thank you both. I'll give your suggestions a try & see how it works out... Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:27 PM
 
43,017 posts, read 50,400,919 times
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I vote for Cascade authomatic dishwashing detergent. Soak with it first. Then wash with a cup of it plus regular Tide in warmest/hottest temperature possible for the fabric instructions.

Bleach can yellow white synthetics. Sorry Cattnap. It might depend on the water composition---hard or soft water. But I've put whites in bleach and they have come up yellow. The OP can test it with one shirt to see how it will work.
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:31 PM
 
43,017 posts, read 50,400,919 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatanjaliTwist View Post
Perhaps, as I hadn't worn many of the shirts in so many years (nothing wrong with them, just worked tech jobs where I didn't need to wear suits/white button downs any longer) that they just stayed in the back of my closet. My mum recently said I should have periodically washed them, but I had no idea air could yellow whites & I needed to wash unworn clothes??
Does anyone in your house smoke? It might be nicotine.

If not, here's a "how to" on how to prevent clothes from yellowing in storage for future reference:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5612275_prev...g-storage.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatanjaliTwist View Post
My mum said if they don't whiten to dye them black... I've done it before with success, but since most of my wardrobe resides in the dark, wool vampire-ish realm because I lived in freezing environs for many years, I'm now living in CA so I'd like to lighten up my look a bit... I scare the old ladies at Ralph's when I shop after dark. Dying darker will be a very last resort.
It doesn't have to be black. You could dye them different colors, like purple, navy, etc. You could try pastels too.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:17 PM
B4U
 
Location: the west side of "paradise"
3,563 posts, read 4,168,001 times
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I use dishwashing detergent also. Works great.
Back in the "olden days", before dishwashers, both my mother and I used "blueing". It's still around, works good too, but can't tell you exactly what it is. Try googling it.

For the life of me though, I don't know what this thread is doing in "HOUSE" cat.??? I'm just sayin'.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:05 AM
 
Location: Rural, frozen tundra, thru the holidays...
2,616 posts, read 2,276,000 times
Reputation: 3052
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
I vote for Cascade authomatic dishwashing detergent. Soak with it first. Then wash with a cup of it plus regular Tide in warmest/hottest temperature possible for the fabric instructions.

Bleach can yellow white synthetics. Sorry Cattnap. It might depend on the water composition---hard or soft water. But I've put whites in bleach and they have come up yellow. The OP can test it with one shirt to see how it will work.
I'm allergic to Tide, but I'll buy the dishwashing detergent tomorrow & use it with Era. I did see Clorox II online & OxyClean at the market this evening when I was attempting to find dishwashing detergent. Not sure if anyone has used them before & had success? I've heard stories both ways. I never did reach the isle... there were 100 grandmas looking for confectioner's sugar for Christmas cookies, so I'll try again tomorrow, early.

Thank you, Hopes.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:15 AM
 
Location: Rural, frozen tundra, thru the holidays...
2,616 posts, read 2,276,000 times
Reputation: 3052
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
Does anyone in your house smoke? It might be nicotine.

If not, here's a "how to" on how to prevent clothes from yellowing in storage for future reference:

How to Prevent Clothes From Yellowing in Storage | eHow.com
No smokers, or I'd have figured that out before. My mum did say that nylon yellows over time. She also felt that dryers "burned" the threads (not sure if it's an old wive's tale, but...) so never to dry them... I don't.

Quote:
It doesn't have to be black. You could dye them different colors, like purple, navy, etc. You could try pastels too.
Navy = black to me & purple is dark, too. I'd have no need for a purple work shirt... I don't want/need more dark clothing. Unless you have some secret (& please share), I haven't seen too many pretty colors in the Rit Dye. I remember dying a white shirt yellow many years ago... it came out mustard yellow, which I didn't like, so I bought black Rit, which made it khaki green. Not sure if mustard yellow was worse than khaki green, but that shirt became my house cleaning shirt. Maybe the colors are improved, but honestly, all I need are some nice, white shirts. I'm hoping the brightening methods will work. I don't mean this to sound silly, but is there a white Rit dye? Maybe I can just dye the shirts white??

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.
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