With each wash, it seems like clothes, including underwear, always lose their brightness. Colors fade, and whites get less white. Fortunately, you can easily combat this latter problem. There are many tactics you can use, both to save your whites, and rescue whites that have already lost their look. If one technique doesn't work, keep trying different methods until you get your clothes back to their original brilliance.
Things You'll Need
A Variety of Methods
Bleaching is the most commonly thought of method of whitening clothes. Bleach can be effective, but is actually a bit of a risk. Bleach has been known to weaken the integrity of the fabric, and can even cause yellow spots to form. While bleach is definitely an option, it is important to handle it with moderation in mind. More bleach does not necessarily mean whiter clothes.
Don't wash your white underwear with colors. An obvious fact, but still a forgotten fact. If you are washing new white underwear, do not mix them with your colors. Even if the colors do not bleed into the white fabric, they can cause the threads of the fabric to slowly darken. Over time, you will lose your white color much quicker. It may seem like a good way to save money, but washing all your clothes at once can lead to aggravation later on, and even more washes.
Using a product known as "bluing agent," can make your whites come out much more vibrant. It was used many years ago, and can be found on the Internet. Many stores may not carry it, so it could prove a slightly more difficult method, just for the fact that you have to track it down. Many swear by its effectiveness, though. Bluing agent is essentially a blue dye. Because whites often acquire a yellow tinge after wash, the bluing agent dyes the fabrics slightly with a blue color. This blue color, mixed with the off-color tinge of the damaged fabric, creates the appearance of whiter clothing.
Purchase a variety of whitening products at your local store. There are a whole host of products that boast the ability to whiten your white underwear. OxiClean powder is a popular product, and a very effective one. A mixture of hot water and OxiClean is a great method to use. Downy Fabric Softener Plus Whitening is another popular item. This is a dual-action fabric softener and whitening agent. Whitening agents act similarly to bluing agents. They bond the fabrics, increasing the strength of the fibers. They also bleach areas of the fabric, creating the appearance of overall whiter clothes.
Follow the instructions on the label. This seems like an obvious answer, but many people fail to do so. Washing clothes in cold water lets you wash all your clothes at once, but unless the label specifically calls for cold water, you are only weakening your fabrics. Weak fabric loses its color, and can cause you many unplanned washes trying to regain the color, or else cause you to have to buy new underwear altogether.
Give your underwear time between washes. If you try something, and it doesn't work, don't rewash the underwear right away. Give them a day to settle, before trying something else.
Follow all instructions when dealing with chemicals, or whitening agents. Misuse can cause staining, and some chemicals can be harmful if mishandled.