It goes without saying that clothes look their best when the colors are crisp and new. It is everyone’s wish to maintain their color. After a few tossing and drying of your brightly colored clothes, they tend to fade. While this is almost inevitable, you can surely prolong the youthful look of your garment. Especially if clothes grow on you and have favorites like me, which I will still wear even with the faded bright hue. But with time you painfully know you have to let them go unwillingly. That literally hurts, unless of course, you are going for that comfortably stained and faded look.
Then there are stains. If not well treated after they appear on your cloth, stains can be such a turn off on a brightly colored cloth. Wait till it sets and become permanent, then your fancy dinner dress becomes utterly useless. If possible you can recycle and use it as a nightgown (for those who can’t just let it go). If you thought you are the only one struggling with maintaining your whites white, then you are wrong. You have found your people. It has been a struggle for several of us until we learned of a few tips. Try them and see the transformation.
Keeping Whites White
The first step in maintaining your white clothes while washing is by sorting the dirty laundry. Put the whites together and start with that load. As you are loading the washer, do not overload it. This is to prevent the dirt from redepositing itself in another cloth. There should be enough space between clothes for whiter clothes. With white clothes, select a detergent that has optical brighteners. These brighteners fool the eye into seeing the cloth is whiter than it actually is. This is achieved by bending the UV light waves to showcase blue light and minimize the amount of yellow light our eyes perceive making the cloth look whiter.
I should have probably started by mentioning that you should adequately deal with stains. Before you load the washer, ensure that stains are taken care of. Otherwise, due to the pressure applied to the fabric while washing, they might set and be impossible to remove. After you have properly washed the garment, add one cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This is to ensure that all dulling detergent residue is removed. If ready for drying, line-dry them outside if possible. The ultraviolet rays from the sun will naturally whiten the fabric. If there’s hard water in your area, then you’d want to invest in water softeners and add to each load of laundry. If not, the minerals in the water will deposit in your cloth making it look yellow regardless of how well you’ve washed it.
Soak Brightly Colored Clothes in Salty Water
Soaking brightly colored clothes in salty water is actually a habit I learned from my mother. There are commercial products that you can use, yet salt is not only cheap and environmentally friendly but also gets the job well done. Your clothes will be brighter and prevent running to a degree too. Before soaking any cloth with another, ensure it is not colorfast to prevent stains. Fill the washer or basin with cold water, add half a cup of salt then add your cloth. In the morning, add detergent and other clothes if you wish then run the washer as you normally would.
Do Not Over Dry
While over-drying in the sun is good for your white colors, it goes bad with brightly colored ones. Whether you are line drying or using a dryer, don’t let it dry for long. The heat is harsh on dyes and cloth fibers. Makes the color fade quite fast. Or if you are cloth lining, do it under a shade.
Turn Inside Out
It is not rocket science that the more friction is applied on the surface of the fabric, the more faded it will be. Therefore, turning the cloth inside out, will help in keeping the damage on the inside where it is not seen. The same applies to when you are line drying, you need to turn the clothes.
Wash Only When Necessary
Sometimes we wash clothes more often than we should. For the sake of preserving your clothes’ fabric and color, washing when necessary is the easiest way. If you are careful not to get stains on your cloth, you can get several wears before you wash. Use a dry sponge to remove any deodorant streaks and dust collected throughout the day. Some clothes like jeans don’t need to be washed unless they start to show dirt. That can be four to five years.
Don’t Stuff The Washer
Just like when washing whites, do not stuff the washer. This is to prevent removed dirt from redepositing itself on another fabric.
White vinegar is heavenly sent. It can not only maintain the bright hue of your clothes but also restore luster to your clothes. After a proper wash, add half a cup of vinegar to every rinse cycle to rinse away detergent residue from the fabric that may cause yellowing. You can also soak new items in a solution of vinegar to prevent them from running. Additionally, one cup of household ammonia added to the rinsing water will help brighten clothes. But do not use ammonia if bleach has been in use.
Amount of Laundry Detergent
Use as little laundry detergent as possible. That which you only need, overdosing on the laundry detergent is not a guarantee for a cleaner cloth, in fact, it has the opposite effect. When the residue of the detergent stays on the fabric, it makes it turn yellow. If line drying, the suds tend to attract dirt.
Launder brightly colored clothes after every wear even if they look clean. This is because body oil and perspiration can easily stain then fabric. It is also essential for you to clean your washing machine regularly to prevent staining.