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

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

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

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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