One Star Fails

Brightening Whites

Everyone has one.  That used to be white shirt hanging in your closet just waiting to be resurrected.   Unfortunately I had several.  I pulled them all out of my closet, and looked up different ways to get them white again.

Test #1 The Hydrogen Peroxide/Baking Soda/Water Mixture

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For the first test I used 1 part water, 1 part baking soda, and 1 part hydrogen peroxide.  I did one cup of each since I had several shirts that needed work.  I mixed them all together in a large stainless steel bowl and poured the mixture on the stains.  Next, I got to work scrubbing it in with an old toothbrush.

If  you look closely at the shirt in the first picture you can see the yellowing around the collar and front of the shirt.  I noticed while working on this particular shirt that it had spots of foundation on it too from when I was applying my makeup.  It looked more like a tiny polka dot shirt than a plain white one.

The second shirt was a white button up collar shirt that I wear to church.  It had dirt marks around the sleeves and yellowing around the collar, so I scrubbed that one with the mixture as well.

I could tell that the mixture was working right away at the dirt around the cuffs.  It came off almost instantly without much scrubbing.  After I thought I had scrubbed enough I let the shirts sit on my counter for about 20 minutes to soak in the mixture.

I had a couple of towels that used to be white and thought I’d throw them in with the batch since they needed some whitening as well.  I read that you can add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to your load of whites, use your regular laundry detergent, and let it run until the rinse cycle. When it is time for the rinse cycle you add a cup of vinegar.  This is supposed to whiten towels similar to what you’d find in a hotel.

Okay people, I don’t know about you, but ain’t nobody got time to sit and wait for the rinse cycle to just happen. I put the load in with regular detergent on a hot water cycle and added the rest of the baking soda/hydrogen peroxide mixture in for good measure. I tried to be vigilant and keep checking, but I got to doing something else, and the load finished.  So I added the cup of vinegar after the load was done, and set it on another rinse cycle.  When it was done I added it to the dryer like usual.

Here are the results…

These are the towels before I added them to the wash.  The washcloth was white once upon a time, but it has definitely seen lots of wear and tear.  I added a piece of white paper so you could see the difference in whites.  It’s tricky showing whites in pics, so hopefully this will give you an idea.

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And here is the after picture.  The washcloth definitely did not get any whiter, but I was expecting that to be a long shot.  The towel was so so.  It was maybe a tad whiter, but not anything like hotel towel white.  So I think I’d give the baking soda vinegar rinse a 1 star rating. Darn!  I was really hoping it would work.

Here is a before and after shot of the shirts using the water/hydrogen peroxide/baking soda mixture.

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I apologize that it’s really hard to tell 100 percent in these pictures, but here’s my two cents. The mixture got some of the yellowing beneath and around the collar out; however, it did not get out the small foundation spot as you can see above.  There is also a smaller patch of yellow off to the left side that is still there.

Here is the before and after shot of the white button dress shirt…

Honestly this one looks pretty much the same to me.  The collar may be a tad bit whiter, but not enough to bother scrubbing the mixture all over it for this result.  What a disappointment! I was really hoping one of these would work.

My final thoughts:  I was really excited to try this project and was disappointed that it didn’t work better.  There are a few other tutorials online using Borax which I didn’t have this time, but may have to experiment with in a future post.  I will say as a disclaimer that I have hard water.  I’m wondering how much of a difference this would make if I didn’t have that factor.   I’d give this project one star out of five over all.

Have you tried this before?  Let me know if it worked for you.