Brighter Whites, Happier Wardrobe: Preventing Yellowing in Your Laundry

Pile of white laundry

There is nothing better than a crisp white shirt. Yellowing, dingy-looking whites don’t quite have the same effect. After a few trips through the wash, white clothing tends to turn yellow. If you’ve ever wondered why your white clothes turn yellow in the wash, look no further! In this article, we’ll look at the causes of yellowing whites and some ways to keep it from happening.

Causes of Yellowing Laundry

To prevent white clothes from turning yellow, you need to know what causes it. Here are a few of the things that cause white laundry to turn yellow:

Sweat and Body Oils

One of the most common causes of white clothes turning yellow is sweat and body oils. When these come in contact with the fabric, it can lead to discoloration. Over time, they can build up in the fabric’s fibers and create a yellow tinge. This is most common where sweat accumulates, such as around the collar and the armpit area. 

Too Much Detergent

The type and amount of detergent you use can either help with yellowing or make it so much worse. If you use too much detergent, it won’t be rinsed out completely in the wash. This leftover residue will cause your clothes to turn yellow and might even make them feel stiff. Take care to measure your detergent and use the smallest amount possible to clean your clothes. You should use a detergent meant for white clothes if yellowing has become a serious issue for you.

Hard Water

The quality of your water affects the appearance of your white clothes. If you have hard water, a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium can cause yellowing. They bind to the fabric and cause discoloration. If you can, installing a water softener can make a big difference (not just in your clothes, but also in your skin and hair). However, since this isn’t an option for a lot of people, you can also add a water conditioner to your laundry. 


Yeah, seriously. Ironically enough, bleach can sometimes cause white clothes to turn yellow. Specifically, chlorine bleach. It can weaken the fibers in the fabric over time and lead to yellowing when misused. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully and not use bleach excessively. Try to only use it every few times you wash your whites so they last longer. 

Sun Exposure

Sunlight can help remove stains and brighten whites, but too much of a good thing can cause problems. Prolonged exposure can break down the fibers and weaken them, causing them to yellow. If you line-dry your clothes outside, try to limit their time in direct sunlight. 

Preventing Yellowing: Tips and Tricks

Okay, we get it; a bunch of things cause white clothes to turn yellow. Now, how do we keep it from happening? Here are a few easy tips to keep your white clothes white:

Separate Your Whites

Always separate your white clothing from colored items to avoid color bleeding.

Use the Right Detergent

Choose a high-quality detergent and use the smallest amount possible to clean your laundry.

Pretreat Stains

Pretreat stains with a stain remover before washing them, and never dry the clothes until the stain has come out completely.

Wash in Cold Water

Washing white clothes in cold water is gentler on the fabric and helps keep them bright.

Avoid Overusing Bleach

Use bleach sparingly and always follow the instructions on the bottle. 

Consider Oxygen Bleach

Opt for oxygen bleach, which is easier on fabrics than chlorine bleach.

Clean Your Machine

Ensure your washing machine is clean and free of detergent and mineral buildup.

Rotate Your White Clothes

Give your white garments a break between wears to prevent excessive sweat and oil buildup.

Store Properly

Store your white clothes in a cool, dry place and avoid leaving them in direct sunlight for extended periods.

If your white clothes are turning yellow, you’re not alone! Fortunately, a few minor adjustments to your laundry routine can keep your whites bright and beautiful for longer. By understanding what causes your laundry to yellow, you can find ways to prevent it from happening in the first place. So, say goodbye to dull clothes and enjoy your white clothing for longer!

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