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Monday, December 12, 2011

Things I Wish I'd Known Earlier: Whiter Whites in the Laundry Basket

Photo: Randy Robertson; Click for license
If you want perfectly arctic-white, spotless whites, you'll have to:

A) Find a better homemaker than me to tell you how to do it.
B) Create a clothing budget that allows you to replace them every time your family blinks.

Assuming that "B" is not an option, here is what I have learned about keeping whites "whiter":

Never put whites with an average level of "dirtiness" in with heavily soiled whites such as cleaning rags.

When you wash your whites, first put them through a cold water rinse and spin, with no soap or additives.  This rinses out the dirt, perspiration, etc., without "setting" it in the fabric.

Then, wash as usual with the highest temperature your fabrics will accept, and, laundry soap and additives, according to manufacturers instructions.

Photo: Mike, Click for License
Bleach is great for whites, but it can also yellow fabric over time.  Every other washing or so, use baking soda (about 1/2 cup), instead, if the whites aren't very dirty.

Generally, items with white in the pattern should be washed with whites, or together in one load.
Washing items with white areas in the pattern can lead to dinginess in the white areas when they are washed with solid colors.  When a fabric contains white in the pattern, the colors in that garment are not likely to run, or, they would run into the white parts of the garment.  However, always follow manufacturers instruction and use your own good judgment.

Finally, sometimes you've just got to throw the clothes in the washer and get the laundry monster tackled, especially if you have young ones at home.  Clean clothes for your family are more important than crisp whites.  We do the best we can...and sometimes...occasionally...not even that, and, it's okay.  While keeping the good of your family, and your own physical and mental health, in mind, choose YOUR OWN priorities,  not someone else's...and set about making them happen.

Friends, please leave any tips you want to share on washing whites in the comments section below; we would love to hear them!  You can comment anonymously; you don't need to have a Google account to do it.

Oh, and if you find that incomparable Titus 2 homemaker, who can teach you to have perfect whites, please send her my way...I want to learn too!

Pax Christi!
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Pax Christi!