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Keeping whites white

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by southerncollegeboy, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. southerncollegeboy

    southerncollegeboy Active Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Hey all,
    I could have sworn this has been asked before but I ran different searches through the site with no luck. My question is two-fold: how to keep whites white; and how to get rid and/or prevent those horrible underarm stains?
    I bought some distilled vinegar because I've heard that will do wonders, but I don't know how to use it.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Nick M

    Nick M Senior member

    Messages:
    1,491
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Underarm stains are usually caused by a combination of sweat and the aluminium... uh... something something... that's in deodorant. I wear a white t-shirt under my dress shirts and I've never, ever had an underarm stain problem.

    Vinegar I'm not sure about. A good soak in vinegar will probably loosen old stains, but, although it can 'set' the dyes in a colored shirt, I don't think it can do the same for a white one. Also, don't wash with hot water, that'll set in stains and you'll never get them out.

    I say, trust the good people that make laundry detergent, they know what they're doing...
     
  3. Renault78law

    Renault78law Senior member

    Messages:
    2,141
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    Jan 29, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I'm not sure about the under-arm stains, but as far as keeping whites white, I've heard that a few drops of blue-ing solution does wonders. It's essentially blue dye, which when used on whites, tricks the brain into seeing a brighter white.
     
  4. AskAndyAboutClothes

    AskAndyAboutClothes Senior member

    Messages:
    175
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Manhattan Beach & Palm Desert, CA
    SouthernCB:

    Perspiration, if allowed to stay in fabric, will eventually permanently stain and weaken the fabric. Aluminum chlorides in antiperspirants can also stain and weaken fabric. Controlled use of antiperspirants and laundering shirts immediately after wear can minimize the damage.

    1.If the stains are fresh, soak the shirt in ammonia for 30 minutes then wash.

    2.If they are older stains, try soaking in vinegar first. If that doesn't do it, try heated white vinegar and borax or non-chlorine bleach. Old stains are more difficult to treat because they have been set, particularly from being heated in the dryer.

    You can also put liquid laundry detergent right on the stain, leave it for five to ten minutes, then wash. Launder shirts in the hottest water safe for the fabric, using an enzyme detergent or a detergent with bleach alternative (check care labels to be sure this is okay).

    White Wine Vinegar - sold next to the salad dressing in the grocery store is great for setting colors thus preventing fading, and a fabulous cleaner, even cleans spots on suede.
    Vinegar, a dilute solution of acetic acid obtained by fermentation beyond the alcohol stage, has been around for over 3000 years when the Chinese distilled rice wine vinegar. The name comes from the Latin "Vinum" or "Vin" for wine and "Aigre" meaning sour.

    Want to reduce fading? Try soaking a brand new garment in cold water and vinegar. This should set the color. Salt is an alternative to vinegar.

    Set the washing machine settings to cold water and small load. Pour a cup of vinegar into the cold water and let the machine mix it for about 1 minute. Turn the garment inside out (a good tip for regular washing) and place it in the washing machine.

    Let it mix for a few more minutes, until the garment is submerged. Then shut the machine off and let it soak overnight or at least for a few hours. Then turn the machine back on and let it complete the cycle. A little vinegar each time you wash helps keep the color in it's original state and helps cleaning.

    Andy
     
  5. AskAndyAboutClothes

    AskAndyAboutClothes Senior member

    Messages:
    175
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Manhattan Beach & Palm Desert, CA
    Here are some underarm stain prevention tips:

    ·Let your deodorant dry before putting your shirt on.

    ·Don't let stains sit. Apply pre-wash spray or liquid detergent ASAP, and then launder. Use the hottest water safe for the garment. And don't put the shirts in the dryer until the stain is removed (it may take several washings). Heat from the dryer sets stains.

    Wearing an undershirt can also help keep stains off your shirts. Wear a T-shirt or V-neck, any undershirt that covers the underarms, not a tank top. They're comfortable and present a better appearance under a sheer dress shirt.

    Andy
     
  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

    Messages:
    25,745
    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Location:
    Constantinople
    Do these procedures work for pants? I have a pair of Gucci cotton pants that have a very slight microfiber type feel to them.

    Unfortunately they have become dirty from some unknown black mark, and I am afraid of sending them to a dry cleaners. The instructions are dry clean only. I was thinking perhaps hand wash? Also would bluing work better or vinegar or what else? Thank you.
     
  7. shoefan

    shoefan Senior member

    Messages:
    853
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2003
    I've had good luck using Oxi-Clean to remove serious sweat stains from white cotton golf shirts. I apply a concentrated mix of Oxi-Clean and hot water to the stain, allow to sit for 8 hours, then wash as usual. This has done wonders for a few shirts that I was certain I was going to have to throw away.
     
  8. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
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    Jan 6, 2003
    I second the oxi-clean idea. I've used it to remove some very old, very set stains on white fabrics. The key is to mix the solution very strong and in hot water, just as shoe fan says.
     
  9. southerncollegeboy

    southerncollegeboy Active Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2003
    Thanks everybody. It worked like a charm, and some of these underarm stains were pretty bad.

    Here's what I did. I took the shirts and soaked them in water and a little bit of vinegar for about a half an hour. Then I put Clorox on the spots for another half an hour. Finally, I washed the shirts in hot water with Detergent, Clorox, and vinegar. Threw them in the dryer and they looked totally revived.
     
  10. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

    Messages:
    701
    Joined:
    May 23, 2003
    Everyone,

    I am under the impression that bleach damages cotton fibers. Is this true? Also, I normally just use Tide to get my clothes clean and the occasional use of Woolite on wool and darker items of clothing. Is Tide the best of the mass market detergents or is there something better?

    Thanks
     

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