Deyellow me some whites!
December 12, 2011 7:45 PM   Subscribe

I have some white T-shirts (standard Fruit of the Loom/Hanes/shrink-wrapped supermarket cotton T's) that have gone yellow around the folds after being stored folded in a closet for too long. I'd like to bring them back to their original shade. Some I've actually never worn! The tools I have are a bucket, gloves, collar cleaner, and bleach. I'd like to rinse the bleach out before I put them in the machine. I've never done anything like pre-soaking or treating stains before.

I don't think it's humidity, because this is in Beijing, but it might be? I'd also like storage tips to keep them white in the future. I use them mostly for business trips and with semi-formal wear, so I won't be wearing or washing them with any regularity. Any advice is appreciated.
posted by saysthis to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Any chance you can buy oxiclean or similar oxygen bleach type stuff? Because that works great on this kind of thing.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:47 PM on December 12, 2011

Yeah, if you can, skip the bleach and get something made with sodium percarbonate, a.k.a. oxygen bleach.
posted by pullayup at 8:02 PM on December 12, 2011

I restored piles of my husband's cherished band t-shirts and other white shirts stained by age or hard water by sticking them in buckets filled with Oxy-Clean for 24-48 hours, then washing as usual.

Bleach will eat your clothes. Use sparingly, if ever.
posted by pinky at 8:38 PM on December 12, 2011

Response by poster: Looks like Oxyclean is solidly the winner here. I'll have to do some research into Chinese products with that as the cleaning agent, starting with how to say "oxygen bleach". I know it's out there, just gotta find it. Awesome! Thanks!
posted by saysthis at 10:54 PM on December 12, 2011

Have you actually tried washing them as a starting point? You can then resort to other measures if that doesn't fix it.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:44 AM on December 13, 2011

Response by poster: I've heard washing can "affix" the stains or make them permanent. Not sure if that's true.
posted by saysthis at 4:41 AM on December 13, 2011

Borax will help the Oxy-type powder. Also, if you can find some good lye soap, that might do it.

Drying may fix stains or make them harder to remove. Washing will not.

I recently removed some ring around the collar with Grandpa's Pine Tar soap - but that may not be available where you are.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2011

Wash in cold water. Hot water can 'set' some stains.
posted by shoesietart at 9:54 AM on December 13, 2011

Response by poster: Lesser shrew - Why will drying fix or "set" stains? I'm curious about the chemistry, if you know anything about it.

shoesiestart - This is consistent with what I've heard.
posted by saysthis at 12:14 AM on December 19, 2011

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