Tips for whitening and brightening fabrics
The following are some of the items you can use to whiten and brighten your fabrics, as well as some tips for use:
Use baking soda: This is great for cleaner, deodorizing, and softening fabrics. This is very useful if you want to remove grease stains, and works as a great whitener and brightener. Apply as a paste.
Use bluing: This is a liquid you can add to the wash and rinse cycle during laundering, it will help keep whites white, and stops them from yellowing. It really does not actually whiten, rather the blue just adds a subtle hint of blue to the fabric, which makes it appear whiter and brighter than if it had a yellow or red tint. If you use this method, be sure to dilute bluing with water before adding it to the washer.
Use bleach: you can use chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach to whiten clothes, but they can't be used together as they cancel out each other's effects. However, be sure to read labels before washing, if the label says no bleach, you do not want to use either kind. They are both good at whitening.
Use borax: This is a naturally occurring mineral that you can buy that has water softening and whitening properties. It helps your detergent to clean better, and can help neutralize odors, and acts as an antibacterial.
Use chlorine bleach: This is best in liquid form. It is safe for whites only. It can help maintain whiteness, and lift stains, but will not restore whiteness. It is a great disinfectant, and can weaken fabrics, and if mixed with fabric softener, the fabric will stain and discolor in that spot. So, be careful. You want to dilute chlorine bleach before using it. If your water has a lot of iron, do not use this kind of whitener, as it will have the opposite effect and turn your fabrics yellow.
Use oxygen bleach: you can get this a liquid or powder. It is gentler and less toxic than chlorine, but is still get at keeping whites white, though, once again, can not restore whiteness. It is especially effective if used with hot water.
Use an enzyme presoak: These are made for tough stains, but are also great for whitening and brightening because they remove stains like sweat that causes yellowing. If you add them to your load of wash, not just use them as a pretreat, they will boost the effectiveness of your detergent. They can help whites appear whiter, and can also remove stains.
Use washing soda: This is a mineral that has a degreasing power. So, it is great for cleaning grease stains, but it also great for making your laundry detergent more effective. You can do this by simply adding a couple of tablespoons to your detergent.
Use white vinegar: this cuts grease, soften waters, and thus will whiten fabrics, but should be added during the rinse cycle of the washing process.
These are all great ways to get whiter brighter clothes. Most of them are actually just great stain removers, but not getting stains on your clothes helps them to stay whiter and brighter. Always be sure to check care labels so that you do not use a whitening agent that can damage your clothes. And, remember that clothes only get so white, and restoring white is difficult. So, do not over use or start mixing remedies.