Friday, July 06, 2012


For the last almost-13 years, the whitening of my husband's dingy undershirts has eluded me. I considered myself to be a partial failure in the world of laundresses. Socks, undies, and those darn tees, never quite white, never staying pristine for long.

I blamed it on our water, on my home-made laundry soap, on poor quality bleach, on a lifestyle that closely involves dirt and sweat, then I finally threw up my hands and blamed it on myself.

With yet another stack of beyond-wearing undershirts ready to be cut up for rags, I was grumbling to myself a few days ago. I mentioned the shirts to my Mother in Law and she said that she always had the same problem. Then my Mom told me that she never struggled with undershirts, but her bed sheets were permanently stained. The culprit? Body oil, we all assumed.

I started to think that perhaps I wasn't a failed laundress after all. Perhaps the odds were just stacked against me from the start. I married a hard-working man who sweats and gets dirty, and those undershirts are just collateral damage.

Then, I stumbled upon an image on Pinterest of a pile of dingy, stained whites that looked identical to my pile. And along with the image were instructions for a cure. I was skeptical. I had already tried everything. But there was that pile, and it was going to be cut up anyway, so it couldn't hurt to try, right?

I didn't even take a "before" picture. That tells you how skeptical I was.

Wanna know something?

 Fortunately, I found one lonely undershirt that had escaped my sweep, so I could take a picture to prove to you at long last, that I have conquered the evil villain Laundry.

Here's what I did:

Set the washer to the hottest setting. Put in the pile of offending whites. Added 1 regular scoop of laundry soap, 1/2 cup of Borax, and 1 cup of powdered dishwasher detergent. Let the laundry soak for 2 or 3 hours. Washed again, this time with laundry soap and bleach. Ta da!
Happy dance in the laundry room! Pinterest, I think I love you.


rachel whetzel said...


Jen Hamilton said...

This is brilliant...thanks for sharing! Those of us with he washers will most likely have to modify it a bit due to the suds, but the idea is the same. And is gives another great use for the Borax I bought to make the girls flubber! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Beth, this is amazing. I'm taking note of this, not because of my husband's t-shirts but because of my white socks. As I'm spending so much time in the saddle, readying myself for tryouts for our Military Flag routine, my socks (even with boots on) are taking a beating. Trying to get sweat, staining and a splash of horse manure out is trying my patience. Thanks to you, that shouldn't be a problem any longer.

Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley said...

I was just thinking how badly my husband and sons socks needed whitening. Gonna try this tonite!

gracie said...

Can not wait to try this! Thank you so much for solving a problem...

Debbie said...

Hi Beth! When Chris went to preschool thirty years ago (I'm still young! ) the teachers wrote on the blackboad a riecipe to take stains out of kids clothes. 1 cup Clorox Two - 1/2 cup Cascade dishwasher detergent. Soak overnight and Ta Da bright whites!!!!!
Took Den's parents to the cottage in Northern Wisc. for 5 weeks. 86 and 91 I am now an official caregiver and very proud of myself. Love, Debbie

Faye said...

I'm going to have to try this!!!! Thanks for the awesome tip!!!


woollylottrugs said...

I cannot believe you posted about this. I was just telling my hubby that my whites are grey!!! I googled it and couldn't find anything but the recommendation of using bluing. Yeah....well I can't find bluing anywhere in site. I can get it online but then there's shipping costs etc. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I am going to try this and hopefully I'll have white towels again!!


Anonymous said...

How do I do this in a front load washer?