Things You'll Need
Water-softening laundry detergent
Hard water contains dissolved minerals, usually calcium and magnesium, which tend to cause mineral buildup in water pipes. Washing white clothing with hard water can cause dingy stains on the clothes. Before you assume your white clothes are ruined, realize these stains can be removed with basic household cleaning products, such as vinegar, detergent and bleach. Hard water stains can be removed by washing the clothes three separate times in different cleaning solutions. A water softener can prevent rust and calcium buildup, thus reducing hard water stains on white clothing.
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Place the stained clothes in the washing machine, and fill the washing machine with warm water. Pour a generous amount of vinegar into the machine, and allow the clothes to set in the solution for two hours.
Turn on the washing machine to wash the clothes. Once the entire wash load is complete, you will need to wash the clothes a second time. With the clothes still in the washer, pour in water-softening laundry detergent according to the manufacturer's directions.
Wash the white clothes as you normally would. When the entire wash load is complete, you will need to wash the clothes a third time. With the clothes still in the washer, add bleach according to the manufacturer's directions.
Wash the clothes in the bleach solution. Once the cycle is complete, inspect the clothes for remaining stains. If stains remain, repeat the entire process; otherwise, dry the clothes as you normally would in the dryer.
Install a water softener to prevent hard water stains on your white clothing.