How should white clothing be washed?

With all the pre-reading and pre-treating finished, we can get down to proper washing.

Washing regular white clothes: A step-by-step guide
When we say “regular” whites, we’re talking about shirts, pants, jackets, sweaters, and any other day-to-day clothes. (We’ll get to towels, sheets, socks, and delicates later.)

Here are some basic steps to washing white clothes:

Pre-treat stains: Like we mentioned above, using either a stain remover, chlorine-free bleach, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide to pre-treat stains before washing is usually a good idea. Gently rub the solution into the stain.

Most regular white clothes can tolerate warm — but not high — heat. Check your care tags to set a temperature your entire load can tolerate. When in doubt, go with a cool or cold water wash.
For light wear and grime, your standard detergent will do just fine. If you’re dealing with particularly worn whites, add a laundry booster — or use a stain-releasing detergent instead.
After the washing cycle is finished, check and see if any clothes are still stained. If you spot any stubborn stains, spot-treat them, then wash those garments again.

Washing white towels, sheets, and socks

Towels, sheets, and socks can generally handle higher heat than most regular clothes. You’ll still want to check their care tags to be safe. Otherwise, wash these items as you would your regular white clothes. A hot-water wash is ideal for these items, since it’ll kill bacteria and odors.

Washing delicate whites

Delicate whites require a bit more TLC than the rest of the bunch. For one, check your care tag to see if your delicates must be hand washed. If you can machine wash them, you should stick to a cool- or cold-water gentle cycle. If your delicates have buttons, hooks, or straps, use a mesh laundry bag to protect them from snags and other damage.

Drying white clothes is an often-overlooked, but crucial, part of ensuring a bright final product. Over-drying can actually cause stubborn stains and yellowing, and that’s the last thing you want after all that hard work washing them.

How to dry white clothes

The best way to dry your white clothes is to hang them in the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet light will help brighten and whiten your white garments. If that’s a no-go for you, machine drying is a reliable backup. Here are some easy steps for machine drying white clothes to get the most out of your dryer.

Machine drying regular white clothes: A step-by-step guide

Step 1: Mind the heat

When machine drying white clothes, it’s important to use low-heat and delicate settings. High heat can cause stains and dirt to discolor even more. Excessive heat can even scorch your whites.

Step 2: Avoid overdrying

Set your dry cycle for a lower amount of time than usual. Remove your whites before they are completely dry. Removing them while they’re still slightly damp helps to prevent excessive over-drying and the resulting stubborn stains and discoloration.

Step 3: Finish with some air drying

To finish the drying process, hang-, air-, or flat-dry your white clothes. This gentle finish helps prevent any final discoloration, and it saves some energy too.

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