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Homekeeping · Laundry · This Is The Most Effective Way To Whiten Dingy Fabrics

This Is The Most Effective Way To Whiten Dingy Fabrics

This truly miraculous method may just be my favorite laundry hack of all-time!

Even though folding laundry is one of my least favorite chores, I do enjoy the challenge of the washing stage. There’s no better feeling than the sense of accomplishment of having successfully restored dingy, formerly-white fabrics to a clean and bright white state!

And when it comes to whitening whites, there’s no more effective method than the one I’ll be sharing with you today. I’ve been using this method for years now to brighten white shirts, bedding, and towels, and it never fails to produce astounding results. (And get this—you don’t even need bleach to do it!)

Today I’ll be showing you exactly how to whiten whites using this simple method. I used one of my son’s dingy pillow protectors to demonstrate (and you can see what a difference it made at the end of this post!)

How To Whiten Whites Without Bleach

You’ll need:

1 cup laundry detergent
1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent
1/2 cup borax
Hot water


Step 1 – Soak

Place the item you want to whiten in your washing machine, then add the laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and borax. Fill the machine with hot water—the hotter, the better—and allow it to soak for several hours or overnight.

(If you have a front-loading or high-efficiency washing machine that isn’t conducive to soaking, you can do this step in your sink, bathtub, or a large bucket instead.)

Two of the most important variables in this step are how much water you use and how hot the water is. Using only as much water as is necessary to cover the items will make the treatment more effective, as will using extra hot water!

Step 2 – Wash

After soaking, transfer the item(s) to your washing machine if necessary and start a hot water wash cycle. (You don’t need to add any additional detergent if you did the soak in your washer, but you’ll want to add your usual amount of laundry detergent if you did the soak somewhere else.)

Once the wash cycle is complete, you’ll be astounded at what a difference this whitening treatment makes!

Just take a look at these before and after pictures. It went from dull and dingy to bright and clean! 🙂

How This Method Works

In addition to hot water, this method relies on three other powerhouse cleaners to help dissolve those stubborn, grimy residues. The inclusion of laundry detergent in this method is self-explanatory, but what about dishwasher detergent?

Dishwasher detergent is highly alkaline, which is one reason why it’s so effective at cleaning fats, oils, and proteins from your dishes. The dinginess that plagues white fabrics is often protein-based, making dishwasher detergent a perfect candidate for helping to dissolve it.

The third cleaner in this method is borax, which is often marketed as a “laundry booster.” That’s exactly the role it plays here, helping to boost the effectiveness of both the laundry and dishwasher detergents.

Want More Laundry Methods And How-Tos?

If you’re interested in more useful laundry solutions, be sure to check out my eBook How To Wash Everything! You can buy it in my shop, or download it for free if you’re an OGT Plus member!

Do you have clothes or linens at home that could use this whitening treatment?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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