Whitening Whites…Can This Cami Be Saved?

My post about getting armpit stains out of t-shirts apparently struck a nerve or something. It has received almost 100,000 pageviews and is the 2nd most viewed post of all time! Apparently I’m not the only one obsessed with concerned about white clothes being WHITE. While getting the armpit stains out of my sons’ t-shirts and out of my camis was very satisfying indeed…my quest to salvage perfectly good articles of clothing from the trash merely because they have lost their lustre, continues. This past weekend however, I feel like I made a breakthrough of sorts and feel compelled to share.

Once again I drag out my poor stained, dingy camis as my “makeover” victim recipient.  This particular cami had not had the armpit stain removal method applied to it yet…so it had that AND the gray, dingyness going for it!

In my numerous field trips to the laundry section of the grocery store, searching for answers to this age old dilemma…I spied the Rit dye section. That is how desperate I was to reclaim my white clothings’ glory days!  I was actually considering dyeing them white! lol.  Well, it turns out, at least in my store…they don’t sell WHITE DYE…but they DO sell this stuff called Rit Laundry Treatment Fabric Whitener.  Oooooo…..that sounded promising!!  So what if it was almost $3.00 for one teeny tiny envelope of “treatment”…enough for one load of wash.  SOLD!  My desperation was clouding my frugal judgment at this point!

Long story shortened…I bought it home…used it…was fairly impressed with the results…but wanted more! (That’s the addict in me talking, in case you were wondering.)  But the thought of buying a bunch of those tiny little envelopes for $3 a pop was dampening my enthusiasm for the project. Of course my curiosity is rarely dampened and I decided to look into this further.

My friend Google and I spent some quality time together figuring out what was in this magical little envelope of whiteness.  Ingredients listed are sodium chloride (Salt, if my high school science doesn’t fail me) and Optical Brighteners.  What the heck are optical brighteners???  Turns out Optical Brightening Agents (or OBA’s) are designed to mask yellow or brown tones in fibers and make the fabric look cleaner and brighter than it would otherwise appear to the naked eye. In other words, the “dingyness” is made invisible to the eye in an “optical manner”.  Crazy huh? But not crazy enough for me not to give it a try!

My reporter instincts were definitely in overdrive now as I was determined to track down these “optical brighteners” for my laundry room

Turns out it was “hiding” in the laundry section of my store all along and I never saw it!  It’s called White Brite and it sells for about $4.00 for a 22 oz bottle (a much better value!)

I followed the instructions on the bottle for pre-soaking and mixed 1/2 cup White Brite in a plastic container with 1 gallon of warm water and let soak for about 20-30 minutes, then washed as usual.

Here are the “after effects”:

Bottom line: My whites are definitely whiter! Which makes me definitely HAPPIER! But, I have to admit…I wonder about these “optical brighteners”.  Are my clothes REALLY cleaner/whiter?  Or is it all just an illusion??? (Or do I even CARE if it’s an illusion or not?)  Who knew laundry could get so complicated! :-)

I have a feeling this laundry saga continues………..

And that’s today’s….

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  1. Anonymous says

    Totally enjoyed reading your blog!!! If you get tired of laundry, you can write a book. Very entertaining!

  2. Jill Nystul says

    Anony…thank you! I'm always tired of doing laundry! :-) Unfortunately it never goes away. I think I write about it so much as therapy! lol.
    I would LOVE to write a book someday. Definitely on my bucket list.

  3. Anonymous says

    If you use to much of Mrs. Stewarts bluing I believe ammonia will neutralize it. The directions are on the bottle.

  4. Jill Nystul says

    Anony….thanks for the tip on Mrs Stewarts Bluing…I did not know that!

    Ashley…I assure you I am working on this frantically. :-) You are not the only one who has had this problem. Would you might telling me what browser you are using?

  5. Anonymous says

    I use bluing in my rinse cycle. Just mix bluing with a quart of water and add to machine after the tub has filled, rinse as usual. Bluing is a optical brightener. Whites definitely come out brighter! Won't live without it.

  6. Anonymous says

    I have some pale pink items that look really dingy. Would this stuff help or just bleach them?