How to Use Dishwasher Detergent for Whites


White laundry is naturally difficult to keep white. Whether it's towels, bed sheets, tablecloths or curtains, if they're white, they are easily soiled and even stained. Wash whites in hard water that contains iron or lime, and they will turn yellowish or dingy white over time. Even washing whites in bleach can turn them gray. The bleach breaks down the color brighteners in the fabric over time. For a new approach, try using dishwasher detergent to restore the whiteness.

Things You'll Need

  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Laundry measuring cup
  • Washing machine
  • Vinegar
  • Use up to 1 cup of dishwasher detergent to clean a full load of "heavy-duty" light- to medium-soiled whites in the washer. These include sheets and towels, but not clothing, which is typically too delicate for this process.. The amount will be determined by the size and type of the washer, how soiled or stained the laundry is, and whether the water is hard or soft. Because hard water contains minerals, it usually takes a little more detergent to get the job done. Err on the side of using less, as dishwasher detergent gets quite sudsy.

  • Run the whites through a normal washing machine cycle without the addition of laundry detergent. Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to help remove stains and impurities and whiten the load.

  • Remove tough stains. Prepare the load of whites in the washing machine per Step 1 , except use a full cup of dishwasher detergent. Allow the washer to fill with water and agitate a few minutes. Shut the washer off. Allow the whites to soak overnight.

  • Turn the washing machine back on to finish its cycles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a good-quality dishwasher detergent. Cheaper brands don't work as well.
  • Use either warm or hot water to wash whites in. Use the hottest possible for the best results. Check the care tags for specific instructions.
  • Don't use dishwasher detergent on delicate whites because it contains bleaching agents.
  • Only use dishwasher detergent now and then to whiten whites. Using it all the time will break down the fibers in the material.

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