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Even the most conscientious clothes washer will need to be armed with the occasional secret weapon to take the dinginess out of white clothes. Everyone knows about the whitening power of chlorine bleach, but several other products will also get the job done. Grab the proverbial bull by the horns and get your white clothes looking their best.
Chlorine bleach gets the job done, but it also contains harsh chemicals that aren't as safe for your family as other alternatives. This is especially true if you (or your little ones) have allergies or sensitive skin. If these issues don't apply to you or your family, simply add a cup of chlorine bleach to the wash cycle. Use a steady hand to avoid messy splashes that can and will bleach colored fabrics in a flash. Make sure to check labels on the clothes you wish to bleach since some types of fabric should never be bleached (such as spandex, wool and silk).
Oxygen bleach is a mild bleaching powder that is safe on all fabrics as well as colors. If you aren't sure about the safety of oxygen bleach on all of your clothes, look on the back of the container for uses and warnings. To use, simply pour a scoop (about 2 oz) of oxygen bleach into your washer when adding detergent. Wash your whites on the hottest setting possible to get the best results; oxygen bleach dissolves more thoroughly in warm or hot water.
Hydrogen peroxide naturally bleaches fabric and is often used to remove stains from white clothes. In addition to being used as a spot treatment, you can also use hydrogen peroxide to brighten and whiten a whole load of whites. Add 1 cup hydrogen peroxide to the wash cycle, the same as you would chlorine bleach, and dry your clothes as usual.
Light from the sun naturally bleaches most fabrics. If you've ever left a shirt or towel out in the sun for a long time, you already know the effectiveness of this remedy. This approach works well if you have a clothesline that gets full sun in the morning or afternoon. If you don't have a clothesline, you can simply lay out your wet clothes on a white blanket or towel where they will get a lot of sun. When the clothes are dry, you'll be pleased with the results.