Keep Summer Whites White

Go ahead. Wear your favorite summer whites. Consumer Educator, Teresa
Hunsaker, has tips to help you keep your summer whites looking clean and
bright, even if you’re a stain magnet.

There is nothing that says “summer” quite like wearing white. Only trouble
is, keeping those whites white is a challenge…something about that pair of
white Capri’s, or that crisp white shirt that says, “Stain magnet”. You no
sooner get out the door, and something happens.

Here are some common summer stains that really rake havoc on summer


Mustard is one of those very tough stains to get out. The yellow from the
turmeric they add to make mustard yellow is a real trick. The very best thing
you can do is catch the stain early. Even if you are not in a place to fully treat
the stain, at least wipe up as much as possible with a clean napkin, rinse out
as much as you can with just plain water, then complete the treatment as
soon as you can get home.

Make a solution of 2 TBS liquid dishwashing detergent and 1 TBS rubbing
alcohol. Roll up a clean white towel and place under the immediate layer of
clothing affected by the mustard stain. (This keeps the stain from
transferring to the other layer of clothing). Rub solution into the stain. Let sit
10-15 minutes. Rinse. Next, dab white vinegar into the stain. Let sit 15-20
minutes. Rinse. Then, apply glycerin directly on the stain. Let stand 30-45
minutes. Rinse and apply a stain remover. Launder as usual but add
washing soda to the wash load. If stain persists, and it might, repeat these

POPSICLE (kool-aid, or other stubborn fruit juice)

It is practically impossible to eat a Popsicle in the summer heat and not get
any on you.

Soak the article of clothing in ½ cup vinegar and a gallon of cool water for
about 30 minutes. Rub the fabric together to help lift the stain. If stain
remains, soak in a solution of powdered bleach dissolved in water, about ¼
powdered oxygen bleach (like Oxy Clean or Oxy Brite) in a gallon of water.
Then use your favorite stain pretreatment (like Shout) and launder as usual.


Rubbing alcohol is probably the best way to get grass stains out of whites.

First, rinse the article of clothing first in cold water. Let soak in the cold
water for a few minutes. Next, soak a clean sponge with rubbing alcohol and
dab the affected area well. Rub stain and fabric together to work in the
alcohol. Rinse. Next, work in some liquid dish detergent or laundry
detergent, let sit 5-10 minutes. Then launder as usual. Do not dry until
stain is completely out.

White vinegar is also pretty effective in removing grass stains too.

NOTE: With grass stains it is better NOT to use ammonia, degreasers, or
highly alkaline detergents to remove the stains…these can actually set grass
stains rather than remove them.


A number of ingredients in our sunscreen can make it difficult to get out of
our clothing, especially when they may seem invisible at first…time and heat
will make them especially apparent on whites.

First, dab as much of the sunscreen out of the clothing. Second, rinse with
warm water, not hot water, just warm. Third, make a solution of 1 teaspoon
liquid hand dish detergent, 1 TBS. glycerin, and 1 quart of warm water.
Sponge onto to stain. Let sit 10 minutes. Rinse. Then use a heavy duty bio-
enzyme product like Carbona (found in most laundry sections of the
supermarket). Apply as directed. Then launder as usual but not in hot water.


First, get some Dawn dishwashing detergent or Goo Gone. Rub a few drops
straight right into each stain. I then take a small soft bristle toothbrush or
baby hair brush and brush each area well with the treatment. Then let set
about 15-20 minutes.

Second, without rinsing, place a little water and baking soda paste over each
stain and work in again (Rub or brush). Let sit again for a few more minutes.

Third, without rinsing, place in your laundry with the regular amount of your
chosen detergent AND 1 cup washing soda….not baking soda, washing soda.
(It is put out by Arm and Hammer, but it is different.) Wash as usual.

Repeat these steps again if stains persist. I have been able to successfully
get these stains out, but most of the time, not the first go round…usually
takes twice.


Rinse the item well in cool water to get out as much of the food residue out
as possible. Then rub a teaspoon or so of baking soda into the stain. Let sit
until almost dry. Rinse and treat with an enzyme product like Biz…you can
rub the product right into the stain, or make a solution of ¼ cup Biz in 1
quart of water and sponge onto the stain. Even some meat tenderizer mixed
in water and a little hand dishwashing detergent will work. Because we are
dealing with both a chocolate stain, a grease stain, and a protein stain we
need to attack all three.


Most of us assume that chlorine bleach will keep our summer whites bright
and are the best way to get stains out…this is not the case. Bleach breaks
down optical brighteners (chemical additives applied to white fabrics), and
can turn bright whites to dingy yellow or gray. Use judiciously and ONLY if
the garment care label advises chlorine bleach.

The best choice is to buy commercial non-chlorine bleaches. Or, instead you
can make your own version using 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water
(about a 4:1 ratio water to peroxide). However, commercial brands of non-
chlorine bleach include oxygen bleach stabilizers they do help reduce the
product’s reactivity, thus keeping them more effective over time. You can
find non-chlorine bleach in both traditional supermarkets and in health food

Add comment