how to wash white clothes.

Posted by smol on



Shirts, school socks, bedding and towels.

If they’re white, chances are you often wonder why they’ve lost their va va voom.

But how can we keep our white clothes looking white? What setting should we choose to was our whites on for the very best results? Are they always doomed to slide into 50 shades of grey? Can we ever hope to win the battle?


With a few smol steps and by splitting our white laundry into types we can keep things snowy and bright. Here’s the lowdown on how to keep whites white.

1. regular white clothes.

Think shirts, hoodies, t-shirts, jeans… just your regular day-to-day clothes that are cottons and mixed fibres.

  1. Pre-treat any stains or marks with smol stain gel by wetting the stain with cold water then gently rubbing several pumps of gel directly onto the stain. 
  2. Select a wash cycle that’s cool to warm (20°C - 40°C) - but not hot. And definitely don’t exceed the temperatures recommended on your clothing care labels. 
  3. If the dirt level is pretty low, smol laundry capsules will keep your whites bright but if you want an extra boost for a grimier load, you can add 5-6 pumps of smol stain gel to the washing machine drawer for an all-over laundry lift. 
  4. Check any stains that you were treating have disappeared after the cycle. If they haven’t - repeat steps 1-3.

2. white towels, bedding, socks and underwear.

You can follow the 4 steps listed above - but this time, when it comes to what temperature you should wash white clothes in… you can use a warmer wash.

White items that tend to get a little dirtier (think socks, underwear, bath towels and bedding) won’t tend to get such great results when washing in colder temperatures.

And because it’s important to keep on top of the bacteria on these items (and the smells they can cause) you’ll find you get better results if you wash on a warm to hot wash (40°C to 60°C). 

This group will usually handle hotter water, however, always double check on your laundry care labels to check that a warmer wash will be safe. 

3. delicate white clothing.

Delicates require a gentler touch than the rest of your laundry and that includes your white delicates. 

hand wash only items.

  1. Dilute a smol laundry capsule or 5 pumps of smol laundry liquid in a sink of cool water.
  2. Submerge your delicate whites in the water and gently hand wash your clothing.
  3. Rinse with cold water. 

machine washing delicates.

  1. Select a cool or cold water cycle that is gentle and designed for delicates.
  2. Make sure the spin speed is at its lowest setting.
  3. Use a mesh laundry bag to protect buttons, sequins, straps or hooks. 

a dry white.

all natural.

When it comes to drying your white laundry there’s one method that’s always going to win out.

Hanging outside in the sun.

Firstly, this method does not require electricity (therefore saving you money) and doesn’t use up carbon so cuts your laundry footprint. 

But what’s great is that the sun’s UV rays actually brighten and lighten your whites for FREE!

And this hack works through glass too! Simply stand your laundry to dry indoors by your window and you’ll still get the benefits of that natural bleaching sunlight. Use your heated airer, dehumidifier or plain old wooden clothes horse indoors as you normally would… just make sure it’s by the window!

a helping (heated) hand.

If hanging your laundry outside or near a window won’t work for you and you find yourself using the tumble just remember the following with your whites… 

  1. Use cooler programs. Hotter tumble cycles can scorch whites, discolouring the fibres or any stains/dirt that remain.  
  2. Try to under-dry your whites if possible so you’re taking them out of the tumble before they are completely dry. This helps guard against the tumble discolouring your whites.

Finally, for ways to whiten white clothes that have yellowed… check out our helpful blog post here.


want to know more about removing stubborn stains? 


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