How to Care for Your Summer Whites

We’re so excited to finally be able to fully welcome warmer days filled with light, fresh blooms, spring break vacations, and fun fashion.  For us, one of the ways we transition our style to spring and summer is by wearing noticeably more white.  Blouses, jeans, dresses, or shorts, it seems nothing better represents the change of seasons.  White garments can be tricky to keep looking their best, so we thought you might appreciate a little tutorial on how to care for your white clothing, either from past seasons or brand new.  

Our first tip has to do with how you store your offseason whites.  If you’re like many of us, closet space is at a premium, so you may pack up some of your spring/summer clothes during the cooler months.  And whether you store them in a guestroom closet, your attic, or under your bed, HOW you store them is important.  First, be sure they are clean before packing them away.  Freshly washed clothes are less likely to discolor, so plan on washing and thoroughly drying your whites before putting them away. And old stains, body oils, and dirt are much more difficult to remove if not treated promptly. Storing white garments in plastic tubs or zippered plastic bags doesn't allow airflow and may contribute to yellowing and discoloration. Use cotton garment bags or fabric storage containers to protect all out-of-season clothing from dust and grime.   

One tip to keep your white clothes in tip-top condition is to wash them after each wearing. Whites are prone to visible stains and discoloring, and frequent washing (if done correctly) will help keep them looking fresh. 

First, separate whites from the rest of your laundry. Thoroughly separate.  Like, not just lights and darks, but WHITES, light colors, bright colors, and dark colors.  Washing white clothes entirely separate from the rest of your laundry will prevent color bleeding and transfer from colored clothes, which leaves white fabric looking dull.

Avoid overloading the washer. Filling your washer to the brim with clothes is tempting, but it won't get you the cleanest results. When the washer is overloaded, there isn't enough space between items for the water to flush away the soil, so it redeposits the dirt on fabrics, leaving them looking dull.

Does the type of detergent you use matter? Indeed it does. Find a detergent that contains optical brighteners. While you may feel skeptical, optical brighteners bend ultraviolet light waves to showcase blue light while minimizing the yellow light you see, making fabrics appear whiter. And always be sure to use the proper amount of detergent. Excess detergent can remain in the fabric fibers and actually attract dirt.

And we realize that mishaps while wearing white are unavoidable. Always follow stain removal guidelines for fabric and stain types. Chlorine bleach like Clorox can whiten and removes all but the toughest stains, but it may/will damage fabrics if overused. An oxygen-based bleach is usually safer and can be applied to all washable fabrics, except wool and silk.

Use hot water—or the warmest water recommended for the fabric—to help remove body oils and grime that can dull the material. If fabric content allows, wash on a normal or heavy-duty setting, depending on the severity of the stains or discoloration. Another handy tip that maybe your grandmother used, is to add a cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse instead of a fabric softener. The vinegar helps ensure that all detergent residue is stripped away from the fabric.

If possible, air dry either outdoors or on an indoor drying rack.  The ultraviolet rays from the sun will help freshen and whiten. If drying outside isn't possible, dry garments with a dryer on a lower heat setting. Remove clothes from the dryer while slightly damp, and air-dry. Use special care not to overdry as excessive heat can cause stains and residual soil to yellow. 

And the same goes for ironing your white clothes. Avoid using heat that's too high. An iron that's too hot can scorch your clothing and leave marks that could be permanent. Keep the setting at a lower temperature, and use steam or water as needed to relax wrinkles. We each have a professional-grade steamer at home and wouldn’t think of using a conventional iron on any of our clothes. 

So there you have it, all the important details to keep your whites looking their absolute best. We realize the process may seem arduous, like wearing white is too labor-intensive for you.  But really, it’s not. A little extra care goes a long way. Keep that crisp, white blouse looking brand new season after season.  We like to think of it as protecting your style investment. 

Thanks for reading along.  Next month we’ll talk about our favorite ways to spend Mother’s Day.


Evan and Ronnie

Source cited:

Leave a comment