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A woman adding a liquitab to a colourful load in a washing machine.

How to Wash White Clothes

If you’re a parent, keeping your family’s white clothes bright and clean is a top priority. We all know that white shirts can fade over time and that kids – and spouses – will come home with stained clothes once in a while, so it’s good to be prepared when it comes to running them through the washing machine. From advice for how to treat white shirts so they stay in top condition, to ways to remove stain on white shirts, read on for great white clothes washing tips!  


How to Treat a White Shirt

Week to week, work shirts and your kids’ school uniforms will see a lot of wear. All parents want to try to keep white shirts clean for as long as possible. So, what are the best ways to treat white shirts? Firstly, always make sure you separate white shirts from your coloured garments. Even older clothes can transfer colour, or just make the white cloth look grey and dingy.

Remember to also separate the heavily-soiled garments from the lightly-soiled ones – you don’t want that muddy t-shirt spoiling your child’s pristine school shirt! Ideally, you should wash white shirts after every wear to stop yellowing from perspiration or skin oils. Try adding in half a cup of baking soda to the dispenser drawer to prevent staining. It’s just as important to keep your washing machine clean. Clean the drum regularly and leave the door open when not in use to prevent odour build-up. Remove the filter and clear this of any lint. If necessary, run an empty cycle.

Chlorine bleach can help to brighten white shirts, but too much can actually cause discolouring. It’s also not advisable to use too much bleach when children are around, as the harsh chemicals can irritate skin. Instead, try putting half a cup of lemon juice in your washing machine to really get those shirts dazzling! Also, always remove your washing from the machine immediately after it finishes, and leave to dry in the sun – the ultra-violet light will naturally brighten whites and leave them smelling fresh as well.  


Ways to Remove Stains on White Clothes

Life is full of surprises and your kid’s white shirts will inevitably gather some stains as they learn, play and live life to the full! As long as you follow these tips on how to wash white shirts, you shouldn’t ever have any problem keeping them mark-free. Try to treat stains as soon as they occur, as older stains can dry and permanently mark white clothes.

Though it might seem strange, a cold water wash in the machine is generally actually better for removing stains from white shirts, as hot water can seal it in. Make sure you use the correct detergent for the fabric and amount of staining: enzyme detergents like Breeze with ActivBleach are very effective at breaking down stains. For heavier staining, it’s best to pre-treat with a solution of oxygen bleach or a little detergent; rub in and leave for 10 – 30 minutes.

Use a stain-removal product according to the type of stain – there are many available for stains that are oil-based, from blood, food or drink, so check what treatment will be best for the job. Drying a stained shirt can also make any marks harder to remove, so if your shirts aren’t clean after the first wash, treat them again while they’re still wet.

And don’t forget to check the labels on new shirts for any specific instructions; there’s nothing worse than purchasing crisp new white shirts for school, only to have them dull within a few weeks. By following these simple white clothes washing tips, however, and giving your garments a little care and attention, you can be sure of load after load of dazzlingly clean white shirts to keep your family happy!