Over time, any white t-shirt can start looking dingy and dull. Some may even turn a shade of yellow or gray. Some end up having a brown tinge because of age. Though it is normal for this to happen over time, there is no reason to live with a dingy t-shirt. There are several ways to brighten a white t-shirt and to make it look more like it did when it was brand new, clean and white.
Bleach is the most obvious answer for brightening a white t-shirt. However, bleach is a very strong substance and can be extremely harsh on fabrics. If you want to use bleach, use it sparingly and not very often. Perhaps use a small amount of bleach in the wash every other time you wash your white t-shirt. This will brighten it up without making the fabric brittle. One way to keep the amount of bleach that you use low is to add both baking soda and bleach to the laundry. The baking soda will give the bleach a boost and allow you to use less of the bleach.
Hydrogen peroxide is another chemical that is very effective at brightening white t-shirts. You can use bottled hydrogen peroxide on your t-shirt as a presoak and then wash the t-shirt in the laundry. Hydrogen peroxide can also be mixed with a little bit of baking soda and used in a pre-treating paste for the t-shirt. This paste is spread over the t-shirt to whiten and brighten it.
Lemon juice is another inexpensive and time tested method for brightening white clothing. Lemon juice can be used as a presoak or a pre-treating liquid for the t-shirt. If you are using it is a presoak, mix lemon juice and water and let the t-shirt soak before you launder it. If you want to use it is a pre-treating solution, put lemon juice diluted with a small amount of water directly on a dull area of the t-shirt before washing just as you would with a commercial pre-treating product.
With lemon juice, you can also add it directly to your washing machine. To do this, take 1 cup of lemon juice and add it to your washing machine during the rinse cycle. This is a way to bleach your t-shirt lightly with out damaging it.
Washing soda is a substance that is known to make whites a lot whiter than most commercial laundry detergents. Washing soda is used in a washing machine just like detergent. It doesn’t need any extra detergent and it is considered safer for the environment than many laundry detergents.
Perhaps the easiest method of whitening a white t-shirt is simply to bleach it out with solar power. Sound complicated? It couldn’t be easier. It’s done by simply laying the T-shirt out in the sunlight and allowing the sun to bleach it clean. It may take a few days to get the desired effect on your t-shirt, but it’s free and it’s easy to do. Be sure to flip the t-shirt periodically so that both sides get bleached by the sun.
does this article also apply to white shirts with prints?
Good question. Whenever you have a print on the shirt you do need to be more careful when cleaning your shirt to make sure that the colors do not fade, crack or get damaged from either heat or other substances. Unfortunately there are so many different types of prints and fabric inks that it is really hard to know the effect of each action whether it is bleach, lemon, vinegar or other to know exactly what might happen. So my advise would be to try the most gentle options first when you have a print on the shirt and go from there. Best of luck and let us know if anything you try works.
thank you very much for answering my question. i’ll update you when i find a method that works! 🙂