How To Keep Your Clothes Whiter For Longer

Whether it’s deodorant marks or just general signs of wear, we all want to keep our whites white for as long as possible. Here, the teams from Vanish, Ariel and Persil share their advice.
KAROLINA GRABOWSKA/PEXELS
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Take It Back To Basics

It’s not necessary to pay for professional help when it comes to keeping your whites white. “Although most people assume dry cleaning is the best way to treat whites, it's actually better to wash them yourself,” explains the team at Vanish. “A good cotton shirt needs a 40°C wash, for example, but check the label for the information unique to your garment. Fashion whites often have certain details or embellishments that can affect the way you need to wash them. Also, never wash your whites with colours – it's a sure-fire way to leave them looking dull and tired.”

Avoid Bleach

It’s a bit of an old wives’ tale, so it’s worth noting bleach might not be the cure-all solution you’ve been led to believe. “Avoid using bleach in a wash as it can turn your favourite shirts or bras yellow,” warns the Vanish team. “Adding a scoop of a reputable brightening product like Vanish Oxi Action Crystal White is a great way of keeping your whites bright as when you first wore them. It has a special formula that not only gets rid of tough stains and dirt but also leaves your whites up to three shades whiter without damaging the fabric.”


Check The Temperature

Different items require different temperatures – especially when it comes to shifting stains on certain garments. “Much of the end result depends on whether you wash your whites in hot or cold water,” explains the Ariel team. “For the most part, in case of heavily soiled clothes, towels and bedding, whites should be washed in warm or hot water, but there are some exceptions. Sheer or delicate fabrics, such as lingerie and swimwear, require lower temperatures, while stains like blood, wine and coffee might set if washed in warm or hot water, so you’re safer using a cold wash, coupled with Ariel Gel, our powerful cold-water detergent. Another advantage of a cold-water wash is your clothes will get a longer lifespan, plus you’ll have a smaller utility bill, since it requires less energy per cycle.”

Group Certain Items Together

When it comes to temperature, it’s worth grouping certain items together which can tolerate a similar heat to get the best results with minimum effort. “Gather white towels, sheets and socks that can tolerate hot washing,” suggests the Ariel team. “Wash any items that are prone to mould stains, fungus and mites in hot water and adjust your water level for the correct volume. If you have a dryer, dry all of these items on high heat, or dry the sheets separately if you don't want excess towel lint on them. You can also try Ariel Original Washing Powder, Ariel Washing Gel Original or Ariel All-in-1 Pods Washing Capsules Original on your whites for bright results at all temperatures.”

Use A Steam Iron 

Ironing might be one of those tasks you’d rather ignore, but it can have a significant impact on the lifespan of a garment, and how bright the colour looks over time. “Invest in a good steam iron if you want the best results with minimal time and effort,” agrees the Vanish team. “The steam gets into the fabric and helps to moisten stiff creases, so they are easier to remove. Delicate items are also best treated with a steam iron as you can use a minimum temperature setting with a maximum steam setting. If your shirt is made from a stretch fabric or has a lot of give in it, avoid using the iron on too hot a temperature.”

Avoid using bleach in a wash as it can turn your favourite shirts or bras yellow.
– the Vanish team

Inspect Your Storage

Storage might not be the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to keeping your white items looking bright, but the experts say it matters. “Try to group whites together in your wardrobe so you don't get any colour rub from dark clothes,” suggests the Vanish team. “If you are running out of space, try to look for any items that could go in drawers. Remember, having clothes too tightly packed can damage the collars and sleeves.”

Tackle Deodorant Marks

Deodorant is the one thing we all use daily – but it can wreak havoc on your favourite white pieces, be it t-shirts, poplin shirts or even bras and camis. “First, wait until your deodorant is completely dry before getting dressed to ensure as little transfer as possible and then wash whites and light-coloured clothes as soon as you’re done wearing them to stop the bacteria found in sweat from mixing with the ingredients in your deodorant to form those pesky yellow stains,” advises the Persil team.

If that fails, you could always try a few home remedies. “Try rubbing nylon stockings, a dry towel, or even a clean sock on the stain, then pop the item in the washing machine with a colour-safe detergent that's designed to help clothes stay vibrant, like Persil Colour Washing Capsules,” advises the Persil team. “Alternatively, make a paste out of three parts bicarbonate of soda to one part water, rub onto the stain, allow to sit for a couple of hours, then wash on a hot water cycle. This method is ideal for dried, yellowish deodorant stains.”

If all else fails, you could reach for the white wine vinegar. “Soak the stain in white vinegar for about an hour and brush the deodorant stain with an old, clean toothbrush,” explains the Persil team. “Then pop the garment in the washing machine with a biological detergent.”

Treat Bigger Stains ASAP

“Naturally, it's impossible to avoid stains altogether,” admits the Vanish team. “Whether it's an accident with some sauce or the inevitable yellowish sweat stains that come with wearing whites in hot weather, there is plenty you can do to treat them. Vanish Gold Oxi Action Whitener + Stain Remover Powder is indispensable when it comes to treating those ugly marks on collars, cuffs and underarms. Simply apply some of your stain remover to the affected area with a toothbrush prior to the wash – just don't rub too hard or you could end up damaging the fabric.”

Take Care 

“It seems like common sense, but you'd be amazed at how many garments are damaged through carelessness,” laments the Vanish team. “If you are cooking a meal with oil or enjoying a glass of red wine at home, remember to put on an apron or a jumper to protect your whites. The same goes for looking after your whites on the go. If you're travelling on the bus or the train, consider throwing on a lightweight top that won't make you too warm, but will protect your whites from unwanted dirt and stains.”

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